Biomimicry and Beyond

Today in class we watched a video about biomimicry. It was pretty amazing to see different companies learning from nature to come up with designs for new products. The point Janine Benyus was making about “asking nature for the answer to our current problems” made real sense because like she said, they have been living longer than we have and have integrated itself into the life of earth without disrupting it. It is us humans who are the only ones responsible for damaging what has existed long before we have.


I was also very surprised with all the different kinds of technology and products she talked about. Although cost of such new technology tends to be high, if governments can promote products such as the sharkskin floor/walls that repel bacteria and support the use of it, hospitals will not have to rely on anti-bacterial sprays anymore. I wonder what the spray company will have to say about that.


This seems to be a growing issue. An alternative solution always faces great criticism from the existing firms, and tends to not get enough backing to be able to develop further. It is hard for me to believe that oil companies are just watching alternative energy development happen, and it is probably unlikely that construction companies are going to use concrete that emits half the amount of carbon dioxide but costs twice as much. It isn’t just firms that we can blame. Most of us don’t even buy toilet paper made out of recycled material just because it’s more expensive then normal ones.

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Posted in corporate sustainability, ecological degradation, sustainable development, sustainable technologies
3 comments on “Biomimicry and Beyond
  1. Caroline says:

    I love the idea of biomimicry too, and was also blown away by the discoveries and ideas being generated by the close study of nature.

    I do wonder – is this really a new phenomenon, or is it really just “science” rebranded? Isn’t science the study of the natural world, and doesn’t it often lead to the development of new ideas and practical inventions? I’m not trying to deny the achievements of the biomimicry movement, I think applying the lessons of nature to design problems is brilliant, I’m just not sure it is revolutionary – except perhaps in its focus to produce energy and environmentally efficient design.

  2. I too was enthralled by the video featuring Janine Benyus and the myriad of scientific developments which have arisen simply from having observed how nature solves problems. How simple, how elegant…

    While I agree that science is definitely about studying the world around us, I don’t ever recall this sense of amazement for possibilities…all those years ago while studying biology!

    In fact, I had to read more. I checked out their website and found a recent video from the 2011 Stockholm Dialogue, part of the 2011 Nobel Laureate Symposium on global sustainability ( While many of the examples she discusses are repetitions of the 2009 Ted video, there are a number of new discoveries that could critically change our world. For example, a system whereby blood products can be stored at room temperature so they are not subject to temperature fluctuations and will not need to be refrigerated. Just think of how this would fill a critical need when responding to nature’s most ferocious works (Haiti, Japan)…

    Hearing Janine speak about tech companies “bringing biologists to the design table” to work with the engineers, to look for a “system of solutions” brings renewed optimism that business , combined with science, will be the key to the innovations required to solve our problems, to restore our planet.

  3. erinaulich says:

    I agree the video was fascinating. It didn’t surprise me though as we have been observing and learning from nature for many years. Early inventors such a Da Vinci had demonstrated sketches of inventions linking them to nature eg. birds and flight. The interesting and exciting aspect of biomimicry in the future is the technology and design capacity we have now to replicate these naturally occurring phenomenon.

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