Jan29

It’s a Biomimicry Bonanza at Living Future 2015

living futures un-conference

So … how many biomimics can we fit into one conference?

FOURTEEN of our colleagues and friends are speaking at the Living Future Institute 2015 un-conference April 1 – 3 in Seattle, with Janine Benyus keynoting.

Some of the hi-lights (there’s too many to list!) include a “Walking Exploration” in which participants will “learn how to interpret nature’s lessons with three leading biomimicry experts and apply them to design challenges in your own community”, as well as a discussion which will examine the value of and approach to incorporating deep ecological intelligence into a project.

We’re also excited about Cities that Function Like Forests: An Innovative Approach to Urban Resiliency with two Biomimicry Network founders.

Here’s the complete list of Biomimicry speakers:

 

Joe Zazzera

Green Plants for Green Buildings

Biomimicry Specialist

 

Tamsin Woolley-Barker

Biomimicry 3.8

Research Consultant

 

Christopher Lee Allen

Chris Allen + Associates

Owner

 

Jennifer Barnes

55-5 Consulting

Architect

 

Denise DeLuca

BCI: Biomimicry for Creative Innovation

Director

 

Eric Corey Freed

International Living Future Institute

VP of Global Outreach

 

Alexandra Ramsden

RUSHING

Associate Principal

 

Bill Reed

Regenesis

Principal

 

Josh Stack

Northeast Green Building Consulting, LLC

Attorney and Counselor at Law

 

Janus Welton

Eco Architecture Design Works, PC

Architect

 

Jane Toner

Melbourne Living Building Collaborative

Biomimicry Specialist

 

Kris Callori

EDI

CEO

 

Juan Rovalo

In Site

Founding Principal

Jan27

Revealing Nature’s Life-Friendly Chemistry at GreenBiz 2015

Learning from Nature

We’re excited to share that Mark Dorfman, a Biomimicry Chemist with Biomimicry 3.8, and board member of the BiomimicryNYC network will be presenting during the upcoming GreenBiz Forum 2015 to be held Feb. 17-19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more about his session, One Great Idea: Leapfrogging the Missteps of the First Industrial Revolution. Mark will explore how to apply nature’s principles to the world of modern manufacturing.

Spider web: nature's green chemistry and patterns

“Biomimicry reveals the principles and patterns behind nature’s materials to inspire breakthrough products and processes,” Mr. Dorfman has explained in previous lectures.

“There is a misconception that chemicals are man-made entities that contaminate an otherwise chemical-free natural world. The truth is, nature is alive with chemistry. For example, scent is a language written in chemical sentences, punctuated with electrical impulses, and spoken with simple meaning or complex communication.”

There is so  much we can learn from nature-made materials, patterns and structures. For example, nature’s materials are hierarchically ordered chemical ecosystems of:
• Proteins
• Sugars
• Minerals

And with these parameters, our natural world creates materials that are high performing, multifunctional, beautiful and sustainable. An elegant and regenerative design brief for future products.

Nature is alive with chemistry

We look forward to hearing Mark speak and hope you will join the conversation in Arizona!

Also, feel free to use the Biomimicry Institute’s partner code for 10% off registration: GBF15BIOM

 

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.com

 

Jan20

Global Biomimicry Design Challenge Launches Today!

Biomimicry Design Challenge

A chance to re-invent the way we nourish ourselves & our planet. https://t.co/v29CZSDXG3 #Biomimicry #DesignChallenge #BGDC2015

How can nature inspire us to design a better, healthier food system? The Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are inviting professionals and students from across the world to participate in a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. Using biomimicry as a tool, participants are invited to tap into nature-inspired solutions to help solve key food and agriculture issues like food waste, food packaging, agricultural pest management, food distribution, energy use, and more.

Participants may be featured in high profile media and will have access to biomimicry experts, mentors, and valuable resources. Teams will be competing for cash prizes totaling $160,000, including the Ray C. Anderson Foundation $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize.

Many thanks to Louie Schwartzberg and his team at Moving Art, who generously donated their time and gorgeous cinematography for this video.

 

Info and video courtesy of The Biomimicry Institute.
Jan08

Crafting the Ultimate Post-Industrial Design Brief Using Biomimicry

Janine Benyus Paul Hawken at VERGE 2014

By Adiel Gavish

“What the industrial age has done is take life away from the planet and turn it into goods and services,” Paul Hawken stated at the 2014 VERGE Conference in San Francisco this past December. The annual event put on by Joel Makower, a former Biomimicry 3.8 Board Member and GreenBiz.com brings corporations and entrepreneurs together around the convergence of energy, buildings and transportation technologies which will “…enable radical efficiencies and huge opportunities.”

Mr. Makower interviewed both Janine Benyus and Paul Hawken around the idea of “running the industrial age backwards” and how nature can teach us how to undo the damage caused by unraveling the fabric of Earth’s balanced resources.

According to Paul Hawken the Industrial Age essentially takes “…concentrated materials, primarily from the lithosphere and from the biosphere and disperses them everywhere on the planet: in the oceans, in our atmosphere, in our air, lungs and everywhere else.”

He continued, “What we know from biomimicry, and looking at how life works is that, what nature does is, concentrate … What we’re talking about is technologies that imitate nature in the sense that they re-concentrate what the industrial age dispersed into our water, our soil, etc.,” and in a way that is beneficial to the planet, as opposed to degrading.

Janine explained, “In the natural world, what’s abundant is golden … life is really good at concentrating photons, grabbing fog and humidity out of the air, or collecting phosphor,” for example. Benyus then outlined the ultimate nature-inspired design brief for essentially any product in a post industrial era, in order to undo the damage already caused.

“It has to be made out of local, abundant, non-toxic, raw material,” she said, “cheap, and available everywhere. You’ve got to be able to recruit those materials at the end of their life. It has to be able to be repaired or self-healing, or so ubiquitous that it can be replaced easily … I think it’s very important that it’s built to shape – it can be made on a printing press. And that’s another reason why I’m excited about additive manufacturing and 3-D printing. If we get it right and use truly local, raw materials, we build them to shape. We add structure that we find from the natural world – because that’s what life does with fairly simple, raw materials.

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Dec04

Is Nature the Coolest #Startup in the World?

Girl and Mountains

In Silicon Valley, where startups are born just as quickly as they perish, the predominant saying is, “Innovate or Die.” In the natural world, that saying holds true in an even more literal sense, and applies to not only entire species, but the ecosystems of which they are an integral part.

From a systems perspective, mother nature is a design expert and stellar model of ubiquitous innovation.

Unlike Silicon Valley, the “enterprises” that comprise nature’s business of “creating conditions conducive to life” are billions of years old, with standard operating procedures and innovation strategies connected to the very beginning of life on the planet. A quick Google search for “the world’s oldest companies” will tell you that ConEd was born in 1823, Lloyd’s insurance in 1688 and Kongo Gumi construction in 578. There is no decimal missing there, it was actually founded in 578.

Nature’s “valuation” is priceless and shareholder return, infinite.

Nature is an entrepreneurial system that has been conducting research and development not for tens, hundreds or even thousands, but billions of years. From a systems perspective, mother nature is a design expert and stellar model of ubiquitous innovation.

Photo Credit: Chris Moore

“Nature can’t put its factory on the outskirts of town. It has to work where it lives.” Janine Benyus

Our natural world is not only the guru of green design, but a startup whiz who’s had billions of years to perfect her craft. And not only does she make cool “apps” like spring and summer, but she does so in tandem with all other species so that her “valuation” is priceless and shareholder return, infinite.

Take a closer look at the way in which the natural world makes and does things, and you may find the equation for sustainable innovation. If business were to look at the natural world “as our mentor, rather than a warehouse of goods” as Janine Benyus, co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8 has stated, they may be able to find the secrets to long term success.

“Life creates conditions conducive to life”.

Studying these principles of good, regenerative design is a science and movement called biomimicry. Some also consider it an art form, in which nature’s sustainability strategies and principles are applied to man-made challenges. This goes beyond “net zero” impact. Nature never strives for zero. Not only is it boring, but it makes no sense. In order to create conditions that are optimal for life on the planet, you must constantly innovate, because life is always changing. If it didn’t, well, then life would be dead.

Janine Benyus, the biologist and philosopher, with Dr. Dayna Baumeister distilled our natural world’s best practices into a set of standards called “Life’s Principles” urges us to remember that “life creates conditions conducive to life.” It is not a “goal”, but rather a universal charge. Every single product (flora and fauna) and service (carbon cycle, water cycle, biomes and ecosystems) creates value, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This underlying framework keeps everything working together, in balance, in sync and in harmony, at an optimal level. The application of “Life’s Principles” to global challenges is an emerging science, philosophy, discipline and art. Rather than ask, what can we take from the natural world, biomimicry encourages us to ask, “What can we learn?”

And not only is biomimicry on the rise, but the principles by which nature operates are popping up in man-made innovations in our universal quest to do “more good” and not just “less bad”. This focus beyond “sustain”ability has organically evolved into regenerative design – something our planet has been doing for billions of years.

Nature’s strategies are echoed in the relatively recent development of the sharing economy, the circular economy, social enterprise, big data applications, “smart” products, resilient cities, and so on. It’s all trending towards “regenerative”.

When you look outside today, you see what has survived. These innovations are built to last. And they do so by giving back to the (eco)systems of which they are an integral part.

Nature’s wisdom, as the world’s longest standing “startup social enterprise” is the most powerful natural resource we have yet to explore.

 

Oct31

Mimicking the Salt Marsh for #ResilientCities

Dr. Anamarija Frankic

By Dr. Anamarija Frankic

In response to growing coastal challenges, including habitat degradation, loss of biodiversity, and climate change, efforts around the country and the world are increasingly embracing strategies and initiatives focused on promoting environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

The most significant impediment to sustaining our coastal natural and human built systems, and the goods and services they provide, is not a lack of technical knowledge but the need for all stakeholders to understand whole systems-level intricacies that true conservation, restoration and adaptation work requires.

Eastern oysters cleaning up to 50 gallons of water per day.

Eastern oysters clean up to 50 gallons of water per day.

 

My work is based on a biomimicry approach in addressing coastal issues. Natural coastal systems and local keystone species like oysters, and habitats such as shellfish beds, salt marshes and eelgrasses work together to stabilize our coasts, sediments, filter water of nutrients and pollutants, providing conditions conducive to life, which are resilient and adaptive to environmental changes.

Observing and learning from coastal systems leads naturally into a discussion on how to apply this wisdom in our human built environment.

The Design Charette I am teaching in November with BiomimicryNYC will explore ideas such as,

How can urban harbors accrete sediment and stop erosion like the salt marsh;

while improving water quality like the oyster reef;

and creating a habitat for other species like eel grass beds?

I’m looking forward to teaching and working with designers, engineers, architects and social entrepreneurs in this region, and excited to see what innovative ideas our teams produce.

If you’re interested in joining our Design Charette on November 17, 2014, please visit this page for more information.

(Frankic et al. 2011).

Oct28

Biomimicry + Urban Green Harbors Workshop

Urban Green Harbors and LivingLabs Logo

Urban Green Harbors Design Charette

How can urban harbors accrete sediment and stop erosion like the salt marsh;

while improving water quality like the oyster reef

and creating a habitat for other species like eel grass beds?

Two years since Superstorm Sandy, the world is a different place. Everyone is talking about “resilient coastal cities”, but what does that really mean? What can we learn from inherently sustainable and resilient natural systems? And how can we apply nature’s adaptive strategies to our urban harbors?

THE CHALLENGE 
How would nature design resilient breakwaters, supporting human and ecological services and functions?

OBJECTIVES 
Introduction to the science, philosophy and practice of Biomimicry and the 6 Biomimicry Principles.

PRACTICAL EXERCISE 
Design charrette of a local breakwater on Governor’s Island. Work with an interdisciplinary team of designers, biologists, architects, engineers and planners. Final designs will be presented to the NY Harbor School

WHEN     Monday, November 17th from 10AM to 5PM

WHERE   Pershing Hall, Governor’s Island – the Ferry leaves from the Battery Maritime Building (the historic green building to the left of the glass Staten Island Ferry bldg) promptly at 10 AM. Address: 10 South St, New York, NY 10004

COST      $60 per person, $40 for first 10 registrants, 2 student scholarships currently available

RSVP

LEAD INSTRUCTOR : DR. ANAMARIJA FRANKIC

Dr. Anamarija FrankicDr. Frankic is founder and director of the Green Harbors Project®. She is a Biomimicry Educational Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zadar. Her background in biology, ecology, limnology and marine science guide her interdisciplinary work in coastal and watershed ecosystem stewardship and restoration. Anamarija founded the LivingLabs® program where students and local communities can ‘learn and teach by doing’ biomimicry, applying nature’s wisdom to be healthy, wealthy and resilient.

ABOUT THE DESIGN CHARETTE 
Each participant will be assigned to a diverse 5 person team, based on your background and experience. Volunteers from BiomimicryNYC and Biomimicry New England will be assigned to each team in order to provide guidance through the research phase and biomimicry design process.

WORKSHOP PARTNER : THE NY HARBOR SCHOOL 
Located in the heart of New York Harbor, Harbor School’s mission is to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience that instills in students the ethics of environmental stewardship and the skills associated with careers on the water.

Inquiries

Student scholarship applicants, please contact adiel@biomimicrynyc.com 

If you are interested in being a Community Partner or Event Sponsor, please contact Adiel Gavish adiel@biomimicrynyc.com.

Community Partner and Sponsor Packet_BiomimicryNYC_Urban Green Harbors

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Oct27

The Wisdom of Ancient Grains

Our most popular Tweet from the Omega Institute conference this weekend was a quote from Winona LaDuke, an American Indian activist, environmentalist and writer, “The corn they are making now isn’t intelligent. They’ve stripped away it’s innate wisdom, cultivated over hundreds of years. Corn made with chemicals is dumb. My corn is intelligent, it has spirit.”

She and Vandana Shiva both discussed the embedded wisdom found in the soil and seeds of corn and rice and how that wisdom is lost through genetic manipulation. Seeds that have undergone genetic engineering are deprived the ability to evolve, and therefore become resilent in conjunction with the ecosystem of which it is an integral part.

Vandana

Vandana explained that “seed freedom is the freedom of seeds to evolve.” That without evolution, no seed can become resilient to changing environmental conditions. And that when you work with evolution, you protect diversity. She encouraged farmers to work towards embedding health per acre, as opposed to other shorter term economic goals.

“The world is a brilliant flow of evolutionary potential.” ~ Vandana Shiva

Both speakers were awe inspiring, as they shared their stories of perseverance and grassroots advocacy. We encourage you to visit the Omega website and listen to their stories (video link to come).

Oct18

Visionary Story Tellers Come Together

Voices of Hope Conference

WHAT Voices of Hope in a Time of Crisis

WHEN November 8, 2014, 10am to 6pm

WHERE The Great Hall, Cooper Union

DESCRIPTION BiomimicryNYC is pleased to be a partner organization, helping to promote this one-day event that will bring together visionary thinkers and activists— from the fields of economics, environmental justice, local business, farming, art, story-telling, spirituality, development, and politics—for a day of thought-provoking and constructive talks on our multiple crises and how we can solve them.

The event will also include the launch of the International Alliance for Localization (IAL), a new global network to connect the growing number of individuals and organizations dedicated to exploring localized approaches to today’s ecological, social, and economic problems.

Speakers include Chris Hedges, Laura Flanders, Charles Eisenstein, Helena Norberg-Hodge and more. For a full list of speakers and topics visit their website.

Tickets start at just $15. 

 

 

Sep30

$100,000 Biomimicry Design Challenge Prize 2015

Ray C. Anderson 2015 biomimicry design challenge

The new $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize will be awarded annually to the prototype round winner, beginning in 2016.

Today, one in seven people does not have enough to eat. How will we feed nine billion in 2050?

Nature has the answers.

The Biomimicry Institute is partnering with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and food and conservation experts to solicit nature-inspired solutions toward ending world hunger.

From 2015-2017, our Global Biomimicry Design Challenge will mobilize thousands of students and professionals around the world to tackle the problem of food security.

Our goal: show how modeling nature can provide viable solutions to reduce hunger, while creating conditions conducive to all life.

READ MORE

 

Sources: Image and copy courtesy of Biomimicry 3.8
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