by Rebecca Carlson | Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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Meet alumni from the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and see how their careers have evolved over the past few years.

Biomimicry has long promised opportunities for hope, because the solutions for our challenges are all around us. In this New Year, many of us have also been anticipating a promise of creating a new ‘normal’, long awaiting the much-needed hugs from loved ones, return to work, travel, health, gatherings with friends and family, and a vaccine, just to name a few. …


by Faye Berry| Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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When we walk outside and look down at the ground, we often do not think anything of the soil we stand on. We see it just as a brown, red, or gray home to grass and plants. However, soil is much more than that. During November’s Biomimicry Fireside Chat, special guest Don Smith, a Healthy Soil Advocate from Kiss the Ground, emphasized that “the health of our soil creates our entire environment… everything goes back to the soil.” There is hope and inspiration to be had in working to understand the ecosystem living beneath our feet. …


by Sophia Stiles | Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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“The thing that really surprised me was that it [Earth] projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile.”
–Michael Collins, Apollo 11

Introduction


by Faye Berry| Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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A Banksia marginata cone opens to release seeds after being burnt by wildfire. Photo by Tim Rudman.

As November rolls on and fall descends in full in North America, nature is hardly beginning to tuck in for the long slumber of winter. In the Eastern United States, lands are battered with hurricanes, and in the West, wildfires rage on. The loss of life from these disasters is heartbreaking, and the impact on people’s lives can be truly gut wrenching. That devastation deserves our immediate attention. But, for the ecosystems affected by these disturbances, a different story can be seen.

These ecosystems are resilient. Their resilience can be measured as “the time it takes for an ecosystem to return to any stable state” or “how well a system can absorb a change and keep the same function and structure.” This resilience allows them to recover quickly. And, because they can recover so quickly and fully, these ecosystems can reap benefits from these disturbances. Pushing aside our rapidly changing climate due to unnatural and unbalanced activities provoked by humans, nature’s havocs are not actually always as destructive as we think they are. They can at times serve to revive and replenish nature. …


by Sam Nattress| Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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Innovators have always drawn inspiration from nature. When Da Vinci saw twirling maple tree seeds, he sketched the earliest design of a helicopter, 450 years before the first one took flight. Now the process of turning nature into technology has a name: biomimicry. Copying nature has given us painless needles modeled on mosquitos, aerodynamic trains that copy kingfishers, and butterfly inspired paint without pigments.

More and more innovators are beginning to grasp how nature inspires design and guides entrepreneurship. Biomimicry has spawned hundreds of startups, especially sustainability focused ones. In this article, the Entrepreneurship Director of the Biomimicry Institute, Jared Yarnall-Schane explains how the three guiding principles of biomimicry are unlocking the treasure trove of nature for entrepreneurs.


by Christa Avampato| Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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In the United States, our vote is our voice. Our democracy doesn’t work unless we all participate. The roots of the word ‘democracy’ come from two Greek words: ‘demos’ meaning ‘whole citizen living within a city-state’ and ‘kratos’ meaning power. Our style of government’s very name says it all: the people have the power, and we exercise that power with our vote.

We Vote For All

The 2019–2020 Congressional term was a busy one for the environment. 350 bills were introduced that represent a wide variety of environmental concerns from environmental justice to clean water to endangered species protection. Though our policies have a widespread impact on the planet and all species who call this home, we are the only ones who get to vote. When we walk into the voting booth or mail in that ballot, we are voting on behalf of all species and the health of our air, water, and land. As one of the youngest species on the planet, other species are our mentors, guides, and teachers. …


by Sophia Stiles | Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

When I first heard this quote, it was in the context of 18th century European history and the French Revolution. I was surprised to discover how applicable that same idea is today! Read on and I’ll explain what I mean.

In my first blog in Asking Nature back in July, I shared the journey I took with 30 Days of Reconnection. In September, I shared How I Found the Circular Economy: Biomimicry and the Power of Design. Since then, I’ve been thinking of ways to combine my curiosity about artificial intelligence (AI) with the sense of awe I feel when I reflect on designs from nature. …


by Christa Avampato | Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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A 3 year-old Miyawaki forest in Belgium. Image courtesy of Urban Forests.

Waste not, want not. That’s a motto that nature stands by. What’s waste from one part of nature serves as food for another, and so it goes in a never-ending cycle that supports, sustains, and diversifies life.

Unlike nature, most areas of our human-made economy and supply chain are linear: we begin with raw materials and then end in waste. Occasionally, we will start with post-consumer products and end in some form of recycling or reuse — though those situations are much more the exception than the rule. …


by Faye Berry| Originally published on Asking Nature by the Biomimicry Institute

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When you look outside, your eyes are met by the stunning colors of nature: emerald grass, mocha tree bark, electric-yellow caterpillars, wine-red berries. Many of these lush hues common to nature are derived from biological color pigments that come from pigment-containing cells called chromatophores. There are many types of chromatophores, including melanophores (black), erythrophores (red), xanthophores (yellow), and leucophores (white). Aside from chromatophores, there are other common biological pigments such as beta-carotene (orange) and melanin (dark brown).

Surprisingly, not all natural color is derived from these biological pigments. Some colors are a result of structure. Structural color is color derived from the nanostructure of a surface. This occurs when the nanostructure of a surface acts like a prism, interacting with light waves. Depending on the nanostructure, certain light wavelengths can be amplified (constructive interference), while other light wavelengths are diminished (destructive interference). This results in the cancelling out of most colors and the expression of one bold color. …


by Julia Chiang | Originally published on the Biomimicry Blog, Biomimicry In Design, Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

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The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) Taiwan Competition is a stage for young people to showcase their sustainable ideas inspired by nature and a potential way to start their future career or to solve real-world problems… but this is only one side of the story. The BGDC Taiwan Competition is a battle ring for the young people (and even the organizer) to challenge harmful patterns of the existing industrial society. Cheers to those who have registered for the competition, either voluntarily or reluctantly (yes, some of them are school homework). …

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Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute empowers people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. www.biomimicry.org

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