Being Green – Biomimicry

Hi Folks:

It’s Friday evening as I write this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  I had the opportunity this past week to watch a webinar on Biomimicry presented by Marie Zanowick, Certified Biomimicry Professional at the US EPA.  The talk was called, “Biomimicry in Action: Using Nature-Based Principals to Promote Sustainable Solutions (.wmv file).  You can also download the Powerpoint presentation (with notes).  This talk was well done, but it wasn’t my first introduction to the idea of biomimicry; that came from two TED talks given by Janine Benyus: “Janine Benyus shares nature’s designs” and “Biomimicry in action“.

Essentially, the idea behind biomimicry is to look at the rest of the planet and see how nature deals with specific challenges, then to adapt those ideas for human use.  The results may lead to better ways to capture and store water in dry regions, better ways to manage waste, less toxic alternatives to chemicals currently in use, and much more.  People involved with biomimicry start with a question such as, “How would Nature move through the air?” and then come up with different strategies on how this is done.  Ms. Zanowick’s talk covered the essentials of biomimicry very well, but I believe she also touched on something important when she asked the ‘opposite’ question – namely, “If nothing else in Nature is doing _____, should we?”  It reminded me of the slogan on the ‘3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, and someone suggested adding a fourth – ‘Reject’.  If a product is over packaged for example, don’t buy it.  If a chemical or process brings harm to living creatures, why use it?  Is there a better way to achieve the same result?

When it comes to ‘being green’, understanding and utilizing biomimicry principles is one tool in the toolbox, but it has vast potential to improve the way we interact with the world.  Some of the species with which we share this little blue marble have been in existence for millions of years, adapting perfectly to their environments.  It would be the height of folly to ignore them.

There are three ‘branches’ to the Biomimicry Group.  The Biomimicry Institute is the not-for-profit organization.  The Biomimicry Guild is the innovative consultancy that seeks to develop solutions to challenges.  One of their projects is ‘Ask Nature – the Biomimicry Design Portal‘.  And next spring the Biomimicry Group will be offering an 8-month biomimicry training program called the ‘Regional Specialist Program (BSpecialty-Biomimicry Specialty Program)‘.  If you’re not familiar with biomimicry and what answers it may have for the challenges your company is facing, I highly recommend checking them out.

Okay, the links for this week include:

That’s it for now. Have a great week!


P.S.  The 2011 Random Acts of Kindness Week will be coming up in a couple of months (Feb. 14-20, 2011), and I thought these might give you some ideas to consider:

  1. The Giving Effect – matches donors with organizations
  2. Man bikes 25,000 miles promoting kindness
  3. William Ury: The walk from “no” to “yes” (TED video)- one way to promote peace in the world

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