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In Tuesday’s lecture, we dove deeper into the subject of biomimicry with a little help from a TED Talk by Michael Pawlyn. He started off with an example of a spider’s silk and how it is “tougher than any fiber a human could make.” It was interesting/funny when he explained how a human could make something similar using tons of toxic chemicals and creating loads of pollution, but a spider can do it using flies and water. It just goes to show you the beauty and intelligence of nature. His platform throughout most f the TED Talk was to get the designers and architects of the world to start studying nature to build a world of sustainable buildings. There were actually three different habits of nature that he went on to talk about, which were getting energy from the sun, being over-the-top efficient with resources (especially nonrenewable ones), and “closing the loop.” The rest of the lecture that day, we discussed biomimicry and industrial ecology. Learning a little about industrial ecology was new to that lecture, and one of the things I found interesting about it was that everything can be connected for the greater good and essentially create that “loop” that Michael talked about in the TED Talk.

After searching google for some more examples of different industrial ecology sites/facilities, I came across a park in Australia called Hunter Industrial Ecology Park. The materials used for the park were made using low temperatures and pressures and the whole park is based around the closed loop recycling system.

Benyus Reading:

1.) The first thing I wanted to reflect on was remaining in balance with the biosphere. The biosphere is the “grandparent of all cycling” and if something were to cease this process, the many different life cycles would end and essentially life would end. The biosphere is something we need to protect, as there are certain levels/percentages of gases that need to be maintained.

2.) I also wanted to reflect on the section about shopping locally. Since I personally enjoy shopping locally, I thought that it would appeal to me. The section was not exactly what I expected, but made sense in the fact that nature doesn’t commute to work, so why should we? We should adapt to our environments and essentially use our energy to focus on our local environment.

3.) The last thing I wanted to reflect on was the section on business being a jungle. The section pretty much reiterated our discussion of industrial ecology and really made me think about how different our society could be if we designed around these cycles to create a better society.

For the lecture on Thursday, we discussed nature centered design and how waste could be turned into food. We need to get away from the consumption cycle because it is possible for every product to be upcycled at the end of its life and be repurposed or recycled. We also touched on 5 principles like paying attention to your environment (in ways can I benefit from these materials in a way that will not deplete them), studying the biomimicry of the area, assessing the different costs, both tangible and intangible, and most importantly, make nature visible in some way in the design.

I am currently not very sustainable in any of my practices, in all honesty. However, if I see some way that I can reduce energy/ resource consumption throughout the day, I will take a little extra time to make sure that I take the more sustainable route. For instance, I try to turn off lights whenever I feel like they are not being used, and I will often opt for my moped because it gets better mileage and ultimately has less emissions into the air. However, now that I am taking this class, I often think more about different ways to act more sustainably. I’ll keep thinking.

Over and out.

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