How would Nature…

…create colour without harmful chemicals or dyes?

By using nano-scale structures, humans have created new paints, fabrics and cosmetics that are free of toxic metals and require less energy to manufacture

…make a non-toxic, waterproof adhesive?

Blue mussels attach firmly under water by using flexible, thread-like tentacles. Learning from this creature, researchers have developed formaldehyde-free wood glue used in the manufacture of hardwood ply board and particleboard products.

…heat and cool a home?

Using tunnels and vents, termite mounds maintain a constant internal temperature [DB1]. Inspired by the termites, designers in Zimbabwe constructed a passively cooled building that maintains a relatively constant temperature and saved the builders $3.5 million up-front.

…get water in the desert?

Bumps on the back of a Namib desert beetle collect and condense fog into water. When the beetle lifts its hind legs, water rolls into its mouth. Humans have mimicked this to create panels that harvest water without drilling into the Earth’s surface.

…create self-cleaning surfaces?

Does it sound like science-fiction? Far from it – this is Biomimicry, the design of Now, the design of the future. It stands to reason that if we are to transform the Planet’s current crisis of unsustainability and live within Nature’s limits then we need to be guided by Nature’s Grand Designs.

Biomimicry is a thrilling new field that brings together designers, scientists, engineers, architects and innovators who can use nature’s blueprints to create sustainable technologies based on the remarkably efficient designs found in the natural world

Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new science that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Studying a leaf to invent a better solar cell is an example of this “innovation inspired by nature.”

The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth. This is the real news of biomimicry: After 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.

Like the viceroy butterfly imitating the monarch, we humans are imitating the best and brightest organisms in our habitat. We are learning, for instance, how to grow food like a prairie, build ceramics like an abalone, create color like a peacock, self-medicate like a chimp, compute like a cell, and run a business like a hickory forest.

The conscious emulation of life’s genius is a survival strategy for the human race, a path to a sustainable future. The more our world looks and functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone.

Source: The Biomimicry Institute http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/.