Blog 3:

In Class Lectures

So for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about Biomimicry and the levels within that subject- Form, two different types of processes, and now we’re talking about biomimicry plus natural ecosystem which in total equals to system of Industrial Ecology. I was a little confused on what the different between biomimicry and industrial ecology were, just because they sound so familiar with what both are trying to achieve/accomplish. Reading more, biomimicry is using nature as a model to emulate and Industrial ecology is using nature’s principles/lessons as a model as well, BUT to increase market competiveness- Industrial Ecology is about the design of the entire system. We want to focus on reducing environmental impact on those large systems and increase natural capital.

It’s interesting to know that “waiting” and “overproduction” were a part of the seven wastes, but an eighth waste was wasted potential of people. Most definitely “waiting” for anything is a waste of anything, but I wouldn’t ever guess overproduction. I can see how it is a waste, but I see it as better to have more than less when it comes to customers who are wanting to buy- better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Waste is a huge deal in the American economy and ecosystem. It’s been said that the United States produces more waste than any other country because we have a C2G system in place instead of C2C.

TED Talk: Michael Pawlyn: Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture

This TED Talk was very informative about how we as humans could really take notes about how nature can detect certain things and issues in the environment. Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society- 1. Radical resource efficiency, 2. Shifting from a linear pollution society to a more closed loop, and 3. Fossil fuel economy to solar economy- drawing more energy from the sun. He believes that Biomimicry can help solve a lot of this and to think of nature as a catalog of ideas. It was strange to me that studying the most complex figures and objects- the more unusual ones that many people don’t take that much time to study on- helped to figure out infrastructures and buildings when it came to increasing resource efficiency.

Closing the Loops in Commerce

  1. Gather and Use Energy Efficiently- Not everything needed by industry can be recycled in a natural system only nutrients and minerals can be circulated.
  2. Shop Locally – Animals can’t import products or export products from across the globe to eat what they want, they aren’t picky, so with that they become their own local experts in their own backyards- they adjust and adapt to the environment and the prey that’s in their area or they move to go find something else. The main problem with this is that we think the transportation will always be here and available and it won’t.
  3. Use Waste as a Resource- One of the key lessons from systems ecology is that as a system puts more biomass, it needs more recycling loops to keep it from collapsing.

Industrial Ecology


The Eco-Industrial Group brings together some of North America’s leading eco-industrial networking practitioners. The Group works with communities and industries to develop a more economical and ecologically sound approach to industrial, commercial, governmental, institutional, and residential operations. Our expertise includes sustainable community planning, industrial ecology, systems ecology, process engineering, eco-efficiency, and facilitation. The Eco-Industrial Group has offices in Vancouver, BC, Calgary, AB, Regina, SK and Portland, OR.

Life’s Principles

Life’s Principles are design lessons from nature. Life’s Principles represent the overarching patterns found amongst species surviving and thriving on Earth. Life as we know it integrates and optimizes these strategies to create conditions conducive to live. There are six Life Principles- Evolve to Survive, Be Resource Efficient, Adapt to Changing Conditions, Integrate Development with Growth, Be Locally Attuned and Responsive, and Use Life-friendly Chemistry.

The first principle is Evolve to Survive which you continually incorporate and embody information to ensure enduring performance- you replicate strategies that work, you integrate the unexpected and you reshuffle information.

The second principle is Be Resource Efficient– be skillfully and conservatively to take advantage of local resources and opportunities. You will use multi-functional design, use low energy processes, you’ll recycle all materials and fit form to function.

The third principle is Adapt to Changing Conditions– responding to dynamic contexts appropriately- you’ll maintain integrity through self-renewal, embody resilience through variation, redundancy, and decentralization, and you’ll incorporate diversity.

The fourth principle is Integrate Development with Growth– invest optimally in strategies that promote both development and growth- combine modular and nested components, build from the bottom up, and self-organize.

The fifth principle is Be Locally Attuned and Responsive– fit into and integrate with the surrounding environment- use readily available materials and energy, cultivate cooperative relationships and leverage cyclic processes and feedback loops.

The last and sixth principle of life is Use Life-friendly Chemistry– chemistry that supports life processes- build selectively with a small subset of elements, break down products into benign constituents, do chemistry in water.

Carbon Footprint


I live in a four bedroom apartment with three people, we don’t recycle- one key factor in that is because we the apartment complex did not supply us with a trash can and a recycle can in our apartments and they do not have a recycle dumpster outside the apartment either- and we eat meat every day, we keep the air on auto at 70 degrees, and I fly home to Texas once or twice a semester which is a 45 minute airplane ride. It says we use 59 tons of Carbon Dioxide which is below the U.S. national average.

Recycle/Reuse practices

The way I recycle is I go through my closet, including shoes, accessories, garments, etc., I take out every single item I do not wear, have not worn in a good while, and will not wear or just doesn’t go with my style anymore and I will make a pile of everything, put it in separate trash bags and take different trash bags to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, or Brother2Brother and for return I get a tax write-off. It makes me feel good because I have room in my closet for more clothes, but I also helped out many adults and many children who are in need of clothes to put on their back and shoes on their feet to help make them feel better that a sense of satisfactory was met.

The way I reuse is I always go to my mom’s closet, or sister’s or grandma’s and even some close friends who are getting rid of their clothes and if I like what I see, I’ll end up reusing their clothing or accessories, perfume, etc.

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