[image: ‘Supertrees’ by Grant-Associates]
Sounds simple, right? That life creates an environment suited for life is a fact constantly taken for granted by humankind, as we’re the only life that doesn’t follow this beautifully simple rule. Its really quite fascinating how we view ourselves, as something outside of nature – something unnatural. So what’s a ninja to do, you ask? Borrow all the best ideas from your surroundings, and adapt them to your needs : enter biomimicry.
There’s an interesting article at the Architects Newspaper, by Lisa Delgado, discussing biomimicry in architecture, engineering + design – which points out a number of interesting projects that emulate systems found in nature, including trees and termite mounds. The article also pointed me in the direction of Janine Benyus [the speaker from the TED video above], a scientist and author investigating biomimicry and educating designers in how they can learn from nature [also the founder of www.biomimicry.net]. Here’s an introduction to Biomimicry, from Biomimicry.net:
Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a design discipline that studies natureâ€™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 â€œinnovation inspired by nature.â€
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.