Biomimicry has ratings and reviews. Smellsofbikes said: I want to like this book, and I agree with her underlying theses. I enjoy reading all t. Janine Benyus is the Co-founder of Biomimicry She is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired. Janine Benyus for Center for Biologically Inspired Design. “Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate)is a new science that studies.
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And in the 20 years since, the author, Janine Benyus, has been spearheading a revolution in design thinking, getting companies, cities and others to look to nature and natural systems for answers to questions about how to harness nature’s wisdom to create products, buildings, cities and other things that are nontoxic, closed-loop, regenerative and, as she puts it, “conducive to life.
Surrounding her are an ecosystem of organizations and resources she inspired, including Biomimicry 3. I once served on the Institute’s board ; and the Global Biomimicry Networkwhich brings together thousands of students and practitioners working to use nature’s teachings to solve design challenges.
Along the way, Benyus has garnered two honorary doctorates and a clutch of prestigious awards and honors. On the occasion of Biomimicry’s 20th anniversary, I recently spoke with Benyus, who I’ve known for most of those 20 years, to get a progress report on the state of biomimicry.
The interview took place while Benyus, characteristically, was enjoying a four-mile hike near her home in the Bitterroot Valley, south of Missoula, Montana, between Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.
I was in my office in Oakland, California. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. What led you to write “Biomimicry” in the first place?
I had written five natural history books. And I realized that it was the same things the sustainability movement was looking for. We humans were hitting the same limits that organisms have already hit, and that already figured out how to dance within those limits — being as efficient as you can with energy, working or bartering for everything you get. You learn that energy is valuable. biokimicry
Janine Benyus – Wikipedia
You realize that the materials are going to be circulated within your ecosystem. And therefore you need a chemistry that disassembles and assembles safely in life-friendly ways. Everything I looked at, from the technical and physical to the organizational and ecosystem level, I realized that the answers were there and I just asked the benuus Who is consciously emulating technologies in the natural world? Over time, it got to be four file folders. When I finally had to name it, I went to the dictionary and I looked up the Greek for bio and mimesis and I came up with biomimicry.
I wrote it on the tab. Whenever I walked by that hung filing cabinet, I said, “Well, this is crazy. It was about science, and I was shocked that the world read it. And then the phone started ringing.
She was doing her Ph. I would say the same thing. We call ourselves BADT — biologists at the design table.
We listen very carefully to the challenges that people have around sustainability. Everything from the technical product or process challenge, all the way up to organizational challenges, how we network ourselves together. We turn it into a functional question: How would nature recover fresh water from salt water? And then we go through the biological literature, finding not the answer, but answers — how nature has solved that problem over and over and over again.
Every class of organism. Another thing I would call us is sleuths. We look for these deep patterns, these design principles that life has converged on, and then we try to emulate them.
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
And what can we learn from that about the systems that we live in? So we basically ask the question: So it is a team sport.
And biologists do not work at these companies, primarily. So it is a workforce issue, on one level. There are principles about how life works — how life works with feedback loops; how it works with communication strategies. What are the rules of self-organization? What are the rules of mutualistic partnerships that maintain through time? Those are things that actually people can start to understand.
You hear them called regenerative principles, or living systems principles. And then I picked up Fortune in March. It was the No. I would think that the notion of a circular biomimicrj would play right biomimifry your hands. If you go back to the original circular economy document, the McKinsey document PDFthere were two fundamental pieces of work that they based circular economy on, one of which was biomimicry. They knew that life knows how to do circular design. I mean, this is a woman who circled the globe on a small boat.
Biomimicry @ 20: A conversation with Janine Benyus
The innovation play for biomimicry is very big there. If we understand that as we try to move from a linear, mechanical kind of metaphor to a living systems one — a circular one — we actually have the chemistries and the best practices at our fingertips. So I think biomimicry is playing very well there. I think a lot of people are grappling with that right now: What does that mean? How do we do net-positive products?
How do we turn that piece of the world into a net producer, a net-positive ecosystem?
Water cleaner than it came in; air cleaner than it came in; biodiversity supported; soil held instead of eroded. And what I said to the people at SHINE is that these are the touchpoints companies have, the opportunities for net-positive. And they can make a plan and start to do design interventions that create positive outcomes, and then start counting them.
And one your many contributions over the past 20 years has been the website AskNature. What have you learned about asking the right questions? It is about that. I mean, our work does start with trying to get people to talk about their issue in a way that breaks them out of the normal incremental solution path. So, for instance, somebody says, “We would like to get this toxic chemical out of our textile dye. So, the real question is: Then you break it open. There might be another way to create the color blue.
That changes the equation. I see the questions differing now. For instance, people were asking for years and years, “How do we reduce the amount of carbon in our products? How do you have your product sequester carbon dioxide? It makes us think differently about carbon. Can you make your polymer out of carbon? You can make all kinds of plastics out of carbon dioxide, out of methane, out of greenhouse gases.
Well, it is a handful. How does nature grow and scale? How does nature heal? How does nature optimize design? How does nature shape and maintain community? But the science that has come out is not in the public vernacular. We say we understand living systems thinking, but the latest science in the last 20 years is shocking even to me.
Well, it means a network of 52 countries with a common law.
View the discussion thread. A conversation with Janine Benyus. Two Steps Forward Biomimicry Nature has answers, if we ask the right questions. Buildings Inspired by Nature. The Blossoming of Biomimicry.