Biomimicry- The Future of Engineering, Biology, and Sustainability
Biomimicry is the process of looking to nature as the inspiration for innovation. As the page before the first page of the book “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature,” written by Janine M. Benyus, states, Biomimicry comes “from the Greek word bios, life, and mimesis, imitation.” In my own words, it is the method of literally mimicking nature when creating our own products for human consumption and use. It is a design method that will hopefully help humans build more sustainable products that will contribute to creating human societies that live symbiotically with the rest of the ecosystem. All in all though, this practice is simple stated as “innovation inspired by nature.”
For centuries, ancient, indigenous peoples were living their lives in sustainable fashions. These groups knew how to “do it nature’s way,” by not being wasteful with their food and materials. These ancient people watched animals and plants to learn how to accomplish certain tasks. Today, humanity is turning back to the ways of out ancestors, using the practice of Biomimicry to create products based off what we witness on nature. For example, Mercedes-Benz created a car shaped like the boxfish in order to create an extremely aerodynamic and efficient vehicle. These biomimetic inventions are perfect examples of the benefits humanity can receive from mimicking nature.
To start, nature has been around for millions of years since Earth’s early days of creation. All this time the planet has created organisms and systems that have been able to function in symbiotic ways, sharing the Earth and using only what they need from the environment. Along those lines, nature has kept her inhabitants in order through many various models. The Biomimicry books explains that “nature would provide the models: solar cells copied from leaves, steely fibers woven spider-style, shatterproof ceramics drawn from mother of pearl…” and many more.
Nature is also the ultimate master at creating sustainable systems. These natural methods have the potential to change the way we grow food, make materials, harness energy, heal ourselves, store information, and conduct business. Currently, humans are atrociously awful at living our lives sustainably. We produce millions of pounds of non-recyclable trash every day, we are using way too much energy, we are depleting our fresh water sources, stripping the Earth of its fossil fuels, and polluting not only our atmosphere, but the entirety of the world. If we do not start paying close attention to how Mother Nature handles coexisting, sustainable life, then eventually humans will wipe themselves out. I truly believe that sustainable biomimicry is the answer to all of our environmental problems.