A Look Back at 2021

Inspiring with Nature’s Wisdom

AskNature.org

Have you checked out the new AskNature.org yet? If not, you are in for a treat. In addition to its revamped look, the world’s largest open access living library of biological strategies includes even more detailed and engaging content, making it easier for anyone, anywhere to learn from and connect with nature.

Transforming Educational Experiences with Biomimicry

Youth Design Challenge

2021 was a record year for the Youth Design Challenge (YDC), our project-based biomimicry learning experience for middle and high school students, with the widest reach and highest participation across the globe featuring incredible submissions addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

K-5 Curriculum

In 2021, we collaborated with the Green Schools National Network to develop new nature-inspired design experiences for elementary school students. These K-5 lessons uniquely incorporate biomimicry core concepts connected to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), English Language Arts (ELA) standards, and Math standards, along with social and emotional learning core competencies.

Advancing Nature-Inspired Solutions

Ray of Hope Prize

This year’s Ray of Hope Prize cohort made it clear that we are achieving our goal of finding the most promising nature-inspired startups in the world. New program elements, expanded mentor network, and the introduction of life-friendly chemistry assessments aided in accelerating their growth prospects beyond what we’ve been able to do in year’s past. We look forward to seeing their solutions to pollution, climate change, toxic materials, and so many more critical issues continue to gain hold in the marketplace.

Biomimicry Launchpad

While the Biomimicry Launchpad has historically provided sustainable business skills and communications training to early-stage, nature-inspired entrepreneurs, we will be shifting the initiative to focus primarily on helping scientists and researchers. We’ve long known that too many solutions to humanity’s biggest challenges remain in the lab because scientists and researchers do not receive the necessary entrepreneurship and sustainable business training to do so. Now, we are ultra-focused on such efforts, and the potential it has for the scientific community and world at large.

Global Design Challenge

From 2018–2021, the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge provided an opportunity for university students and young professionals to gain hands-on experience with biomimicry — to do design, not just study it. While we made the difficult decision to close the Challenge, we and the participants have much to celebrate. Each of the top teams from 2021 has been invited to further their designs and entrepreneurship journey as part of our Biomimicry Launchpad.

New Initiative: Transforming Industry

Design for Decomposition

In 2019, Douwe Jan Joustra, Head of Circular Transformation for C&A Foundation (now Laudes Foundation) asked us a simple but not easy question, “If the fashion industry were to operate like a natural ecosystem, what would have to change?” Our answer culminated in the Nature of Fashion report, which essentially stated that brands were not yet designing for decomposition — a fundamental component to all biological systems. Moreover, the industry was failing to account for the physics law of entropy, which explains the far-flung impacts of dyes, coatings, microfibers (microplastics), and other manufacturing pollutants. In the report, we identified how both decomposition technologies and local, regenerative fiber creation already existed today, but the dots needed to be connected.

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Biomimicry Institute

Biomimicry Institute

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