There’s been much discussion about Biomimicry in my life recently, which brings up the question – what exactly is Biomimicry?
According to A Biomimicry Primer by Janine Benyus, a biologist, innovation consultant, author of several books, including the book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, and co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, the formal definition of Biomimicry is:
learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs
The core idea of Biomimicry recognizes that nature has already solved many of our present day problems: energy, food production, climate control, benign chemistry, transportation, collaboration, and more…
Simply, biomimicry means to imitate life (bios means life, mimesis mean to imitate). A balance between nature and technology, biomimicry is based on respect for, rather than domination of, the natural world. Biomimicry aims to discover sustainable solutions to everyday problems by borrowing from life’s blueprints, chemical recipes and ecosystem strategies. Biomimics seek to learn from nature; which requires design practitioners to use a new method of inquiry in order to bring us directly into relation with the natural world and life’s genius for the continuation of not just one life, but all life.
Learning from life’s genius involves three big questions:
- What would nature do here? (nature as model)
- What wouldn’t nature do here? (nature as measure)
- Why or why not? (nature as mentor)
Biomimics turn to nature for inspiration – their valuable teachers are the bacteria, fungi, plants and animals of this planet – and they seek their advice at all stages of design to create products, processes and policies that are fully life-inspired, functional, sustainable and beautiful. Instead of harvesting (bioutilization) or domesticating (bioassisted), biomimics consult organisms and see nature as a source of ideas instead of a source of goods.
Biomimicry is difficult to categorize: it is a design discipline, a branch of science, a method of problem solving, a sustainability ethos, a movement, a stance toward nature, and a new way of viewing and valuing biodiversity.
So, then, how do we make the act of asking nature for advice a normal part of everyday inventing? How do we bring nature’s wisdom to all parts of our economy?
If you’re looking for more information about this fascinating topic, here are several links to get you started:
We’re all broken people. Some of us just hide our brokenness better than others.
Those words stung as my pastor said them last Tuesday night at the volunteer meeting for Shine.
Shine is a party my church, Flatirons Community Church, puts on for people with special needs. It’s a party for people who have never attended prom, or for people that need to know they are special and loved too. It’s a party I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer at for the four times we’ve put Shine on, and each year, I walk away with a heart overflowing with joy. I’m pretty sure my smile doesn’t leave my face that whole night. You just look around and can’t help but smile and laugh as you see and can feel the amount of joy in that room.
My heart has always beat for people with special needs. I’ve been surrounded by people in my life that remind me and keep me grounded about what really matters in life. So participating in Shine has always been something I look forward to.
This year my part in Shine included greeting and handing out nametags to the guests as they stepped out of their cars, and sometimes even limos! We cheered them on as they walked down the red carpet and entered the church building that was decorated with a Superhero theme, complete with the bat mobile, superheroes walking around etc etc!
Right after arriving, guests are fed a meal and then can play games throughout the night as well as listen to a live band and DANCE! They can also have a professional picture taken and everyone gets a swag bag at the end of the night too! Guests were given superhero capes and masks as well as items to make them glow and sparkle like glow necklaces and tiaras!
Each guest is allowed to bring one caretaker with them, and the caretaker can go to the caretaker’s suite to be pampered if they choose. Each guest also is given an escort who will be with them the whole night and who will dance the night away with them. Last I heard, there was around 1,800 guests that came and a couple thousand volunteers that helped put on the night. Wow!
At the end of the night my heart was full. Very full. And I was reminded again of my pastor’s words. Yes, we’re all broken people. But no matter what our brokenness, we all need love and deserve to have fun and be invited to the party, and that’s what Shine is all about. Showing God’s love to others and making sure they know that they matter.
— Michaela Jenkins