What is biomimicry? This is the question that I asked myself prior to last Thursday’s lecture. After looking up the word, I found the following definition:
“Biomimicry is an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”
This definition paints a very clear picture of what it means to design using nature as the example. Biomimicry is typically demonstrated in three different ways. One of which is by “mimicking nature”. This is the simplest form of biomimicry. However, this process helps us design products such as solar panels.
According to the reading “Closing Loops in Commerce: Running a Business like a Redwood Forest”, it is noted that “Economies are like ecosystems, both systems take in energy and materials and transform them into products. The problem is that our economy performs a linear transformation, whereas nature’s is cyclic.”
This very sentence in the reading caused me to have a learning epiphany. How interesting that we (as Americans) believe that we are “limitless”. We think that we can continue to consume and take in everything on the planet without worrying about what we put back. This could not be further from the truth. We are now at a turning point on our planet. Humans began as a small population in a huge world, but now we have expanded in number and territory. We are bursting at the seams. There are too many of us, and our behaviors are unsustainable. Having reached the limits of nature’s tolerance, it is my hope that we will finally look for answers to the question: “How can we live on this home planet without destroying it?”
Yes—We need to design in a way that can give back to the Earth, but we also need to change our living habits. We can’t rely on new designs to change everything for us.
The following graph shows six different areas that we, as humans, can improve on. They are: adapt to changing conditions, be locally attuned and responsive, use life-friendly chemistry, be resource efficient, integrate development with growth, and evolve to survive.
I plan on using this graph to change my own living practices. My hope is that with personal change, I can then help influence others to live this way as well.