Blog 3

The past two lectures have been focusing on biomimicry and industrial ecology. Learning about biomimicry was interesting because I had never heard of biomimicry before and I wanted to know more. I found it very interesting that there are so many different ways incorporate nature into a design by using nature as a model and the three levels of biomimicry which include; natural form, natural processes and natural ecosystems. Industrial ecology is similar to biomimicry however, industrial ecology focuses more on reducing the harm inflicted on the environment by using the principles of nature as a model.

The TED talk Biomimicry’s surprising lessons from nature’s engineers, by Janine Benyus was interesting as well as inspiring. Benyus talked about all of these different organisms and how we can learn from these organisms and then applying the idea to create more sustainable technology and designs. I thought this was very cool and it inspires me to want to go out and pay closer attention to how things in nature are surviving without being being plugged in like everything else is these days, and applying that into future designs. The other TED talk we watched was called Using nature’s genius in architecture, by Michael Pawlyn. Pawlyn’s talk was very interesting as well. He talked more about the ways biomimicry is used or can be used to create a more sustainable ecosystem by creating a closed loop system. I liked how his talk made me think about many different ways a closed loop system can be accomplished. It’s like that old saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, meaning that there may be something that one person has used to fulfill their need can be passed on to someone else and be reused for another purpose.

The Closing the loops in commerce reading by, Janine Benyus was very dense read because it covered a lot of material. The bulk of the reading focused on the ten ways organisms mature in an ecosystem. My learning community focused on the fourth which was to optimize rather than maximize. This basically a slow and steady wins the race concept. By slowing down the rate at with we consume products there will be less of a need to replace that product. Also by using products to their full potential in one way and then reusing them for another purpose and continually reusing or repurposing something to alter it to meet your specific need without throwing is away as waste we can close the loop by using a cradle to cradle system. Another tenet I liked was the seventh: don’t draw down resources. This is the idea of creating things that are meant to have multiple purposes. In class we talked about the bacon fork and how after you are done eating your meal you can then eat the fork instead of the alternative plastic fork that will be thrown away adding to the waste.

Some ways that I conserve energy is by adjusting the thermostat in my apartment when I leave for the day but not turning it off completely. By keeping it at a lower temperature during the winter so that the heater doesn’t use up a bunch of energy to heat the apartment up and setting it to a higher temperature when i leave in the summer time so that the air conditioner won’t have to waste energy to cool down the apartment. I don’t turn it off completely so that when I come back the heater or air conditioner won’t have to use up the extra energy to warm up or cool down the apartment. Also I recycle any empty plastic bottles I have while I am on campus because they have recycle stations all over campus.

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