I’ve come across a recent business-related article that may represent an example of biomimicry. The first chapter of ‘Natural Capitalism’ defines biomimicry as ‘reducing the wasteful throughput of materials…by redesigning industrial systems on biological lines’. The example provided later in the text is that of the spider, which produces a silk as strong as Kevlar from digested crickets and flies, without the use of chemical additives. I interpret this point to mean, ‘if Mother Nature does it best…simply copy her process’.
Craig Venter, the head of Celera Genomics, garnered fame for leading the team of scientists that mapped the human genome. Venter has made news again in this week’s BusinessWeek, for his controversial attempt to patent man-made organisms that may someday be capable of performing specific tasks. The article describes how his new for-profit organization hopes to unvail synthetic micro-organisms that are capable of making fuels such as ethanol and hydrogen.
Though his patents will undoubtedly spark additional controversy, his stated goals fall in line with one of author Paul Hawken’s four central strategies of natural capitalism.
– Mike T

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Posted in industrial ecology, sustainable technologies

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