Sep22

Intro to ‘City as a Forest’ with biomimicry pioneer Chris Garvin

CHANGE IN VENUE:

Intro to ‘City as a Forest’ will now be held at ABC Carpet and Home (not at the Interface showroom).

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 from 3-5 pm

RSVP

 

DESCRIPTION

As a partner event of the Agritecture Xchange series, “Intro to City as a Forest” will provide attendees with a basic understanding of biomimicry, ecological performance standards, and how we can apply ecosystem metrics to design more sustainable, resilient cities.

“City as a Forest” aims to reconstruct the relationship between the ecosystem and the city in a mutually beneficial manner that supports all life. This is a regenerative approach to building design and community development. The goals of this effort are to connect people to natural systems, align local ecosystems with larger regional systems, and integrate comprehensive ecosystem impacts into planning and decision-making. Using this holistic approach, we can solve challenging urban problems while strengthening the connection between the built environment and nature.

Enjoy local fare and drinks while networking with other like-minded students and professionals. Questions? Contact adiel.gavish@biomimicry.org.

To be alerted to future events, sign up for our mailing list here.


About Chris Garvin

Chris Garvin is an accomplished architect and active voice in the sustainable design community. Since moving to New York in 1998, he focused on sustainable design with both Croxton Collaborative and Cook+Fox Architects. Chris joined Bill Browning and Bob Fox in 2006 to form Terrapin Bright Green, a strategic sustainability consulting firm dedicated to the rapid transformation of our built environment to create a healthy and sustainable world. During that time, Chris developed and executed a five-year biomimicry innovation program with the State of NY to support innovation in SMEs.

In 2011 he became a founding board member of the BiomimicryNYC regional network. Furthermore, he has worked with Google and Interface to integrate bio-inspired ecological metrics into the design and operations of their facilities. Chris has served as the managing partner and project lead for many of Terrapin’s engagements until departing in 2017. Currently, he is focusing his efforts on ecologically-driven solutions to reverse climate change and improve the health and resiliency in communities.

 


Graciously hosted by

ABC Home is a NYC design destination—a portal into collective creativity, integrating healing, education, theater, art and other forms of interconnectivity. With beauty + design as tools, ABC guides a conscious participant to creatively commit to nurturing the planet and its communities while actualizing home as a sacred space. ABC Carpet & Home holds a commitment to indigenous artistry, and its protection, with global cooperatives and global partnerships. To find out more about their transformational events series, please click here.

 

Organized by

 

 

In partnership with

Since 2011, Agritecture has been researching and evaluating thousands of approaches to urban agriculture. What began as a humble blog, has evolved into a global consulting business offering clients technology-agnostic guidance. As part of their ongoing commitment to accelerate the urban agriculture industry, they continue to share knowledge through their blog, wide array of events, and their do-it-yourself +Farm.

AgTech X is a community platform for learning, collaboration, and entrepreneurship within Urban Agriculture & Sustainable Food System topics. They currently run New York City’s only co-working lab that is focused solely on sustainable food & agriculture issues.

 

 


 

What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable (and net positive) solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul, and actually give back to the ecosystems of which we are an integral part. As biomimics we ask, what can we learn from nature — not, what can we take?

The core idea is that organisms and ecosystems have already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the original engineers, innovators, aviators, and architects. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.

 

Header image by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.

Mar28

Think Like an Ecosystem: Biomimicry for Social Innovation workshop in NYC

Think Like an Ecosystem:
Biomimicry for Social Innovation
June 12-14, 2018 | New York City

Biomimicry for Social Innovation Design Workshop 2-day Extension
June 15-16, 2018

Discover how to Think Like an Ecosystem during our three-day training that cross pollinates the fields of biomimicry and social innovation. Through exploration of an old growth forest inside the New York Botanical Gardens and a field trip to the shorelines of the City’s largest park, you’ll explore lessons from nature and learn how to apply this ecosystem intelligence to organizations and social innovation efforts.Have a specific opportunity or challenge you’d like to address? The Design Workshop is a two-day extension for those ready to roll up their sleeves and begin applying the concepts learned during the training to a specific issue or opportunity. Through direct coaching with our expert instructors and collaborative engagement with fellow learners, you’ll work to unpack the most applicable lessons from nature, then apply them systematically to your challenge. The Think Like an Ecosystem training is a prerequisite for this extension unless you’ve previously taken a Biomimicry Social Innovation workshop with Biomimicry 3.8.

 

LEARN MORE + REGISTER

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WHAT TO EXPECT

Each day will be brimming with content—you should plan to clear your agenda and fully immerse yourself in the biomimicry experience! You will gain new insights and new ways to unpack challenges as you explore how to apply nature’s lessons through experiential play with lessons from local ecosystems. From a homebase of the New York Botanical Gardens, workshop activities will vary from lecture time to hands on activities to fields trips that explore Pelham Bay Park, New York City’s largest park. This will be an active and fully engaged workshop, so come ready to dive in!

INSTRUCTORS

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Dr. Dayna Baumeister–Biomimicry 3.8 Co-Founder

Dr. Dayna Baumeister is a world-renowned biomimicry lecturer and consultant, as well as the Director of the Biomimicry Professional Certificate Program and Co-director of The Biomimicry Center at ASU. With a background in biology, a devotion to applied natural history, and a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others, Dayna has worked in the field of biomimicry with business partner Janine Benyus since 1998 as a business catalyst, educator, researcher, and design consultant. As a workshop leader, she will share her 18+ years of experience bringing biological intelligence to a wide range of audiences as well as her visionary leadership for the meme.

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Toby Herzlich–Biomimicry for Social Innovation Founder

Toby Herzlich is a leadership trainer, master facilitator, certified Biomimicry Specialist, and the founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation. Toby is committed to the creation of a just, healthy, and regenerative society, and heartfully enthused about the transformative potential of applying nature’s wisdom to humanity’s sustainability aspirations. With more than 25 years of facilitation experience, she is a Senior Trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute, co-founder of Cultivating Women’s Leadership, and a consultant to organizations such as the Sierra Club and the AgroEcology Fund. She finds much of her purpose in catalyzing diverse networks of social change innovators, including the Young Climate Leaders, and intends to germinate a co-evolving network of leaders using nature’s intelligence as guidance and inspiration.

SPECIAL GUEST

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Lisa Dokken–Certified Biomimicry Professional

Lisa Dokken holds one of the first Masters in Science in Biomimicry from Arizona State University and is a Certified Biomimicry Professional. Lisa lectures on biomimicry and nature based solutions at The Earth Institute, Columbia University, as well as Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability program. Prior to her diving head first into biomimicry, Lisa worked in sustainable development for the United Nations Development Programme and the Clinton Climate Initiative in Asia, Latin America and Africa. She is also on the board of directors for the BiomimicryNYC regional network.

PRICING

Price for attendance at the June 12-14, 3-day training is $1,950. Designed to be highly affordable and flexible, registration covers catered lunch each day, all activities, tuition, workshop materials, and administration costs. You will need to choose your own options for breakfast, dinner, and lodging based on your preferences.

The June 15-16 Design Workshop extension is $1,500. Registration includes catered lunch each day, all activities, tuition, workshop materials, and administration costs. The Think Like an Ecosystem 3-day training is a prerequisite for this extension, unless you’ve previously taken a Biomimicry Social Innovation workshop with Biomimicry 3.8.

You’ll see an option on the registration form to select the three-day training only, or the three-day plus two-day workshop extension.

Attendees are responsible for covering the cost of transportation and lodging, as well as breakfast and evening meals. Reserve your seat for only $500. Full payment is due April 23, 2018.

Convince your boss by downloading and sharing our new PDF that outlines the professional benefits and value biomimicry immersion workshops can add to any organization. Download Convince Your Boss pdf here.

WORKSHOP LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATIONS

The workshop will be held at the New York City Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, conveniently located across the street from the Botanical Garden station on the Metro-North Harlem line, just 20 minutes from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

Attendees are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. New York offers endless lodging opportunities. There are several hotels within walking distance of the workshop. The proximity to a station allows participants to easily travel from other parts of the city. Don’t forget about VRBO or Airbnb.

REGISTRATION AND DEADLINES

Online registration forms must be completed by April 15, 2018. All instructions and pricing information is included within the form. Late registration will be accepted through May 27, 2018 pending availability. Late registrants will incur a $200 late fee.

Learn more about Immersion Workshops here

Questions? Contact us at workshops@biomimicry.net or +1 406-543-4108 *233

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Mar21

Food by local farmers. Distribution system by ants.

Driving down U.S. 20 toward Cleveland, Cullen Naumoff knew something had to change.

Naumoff, director of sustainable enterprise for the Oberlin Project in Oberlin, Ohio, had recently launched a food hub with colleague Heather Adelman. Food hubs bring together what small farmers produce into quantities needed by big buyers like schools, restaurants and supermarkets. The problem? The Oberlin Food Hub was so successful that demand was outstripping the ability of participating farmers to meet it. Naumoff turned to other regional food hubs — and soon found herself driving all around the region to pick up and deliver lone bushels of produce — encumbering the expenses of big food companies without benefiting from the economies of scale they enjoy.

“All we had done with the food hub was shrink their model,” she says, “so local produce would never be able to compete.”

Then Naumoff met Ohio State University entomologist Casey Hoy at a food conference. She told Hoy of her frustration trying to incorporate a higher level of complexity into her food hub enterprise.

“Insects are so diverse they have probably already solved it,” Hoy responded. He then shared what he had learned from ants about efficient transportation.

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Ant colony optimization is an approach to applying ant behavior to solving engineering and operations problems. Different ant species, Hoy said, use different kinds of networks of nests and paths in between them to optimize food transportation. In the process, they create a library of strategies humans can tap to solve our own food transportation challenges.

Mexican ants, for example, use a hub-and-spoke model like big food distributors, with a central nest and ants that make trips fanning to and from the center as they search for food. Argentinian ants, rather than using permanent nests, are constantly on the move, splitting and joining in new groups and nesting temporarily as they go. Malaysian leaf-cutter ants create central nests, but the ants are different sizes and carry different loads to match — with small ants, for example, carrying small leaf-cuttings and larger ants carrying bigger ones.

Hoy’s insights provided Naumoff with new ideas for meeting her food transportation challenge. She began moving her food transportation strategy from the Mexican ant model toward the Argentinian ant model Hoy described.

The resulting network, called Farm Fare, uses information technology to display food available from participating food hubs online. The various hubs can use this information to purchase needed foods in bulk and locally from the region. For example, if a buyer needs more red carrots than its own hub can provide, it can see — and purchase — red carrots available from other hubs in the network.

Naumoff is now exploring a new model inspired by the Malaysian ants’ approach. Her thought is to offer local truck fleet owners the opportunity to take on food hub orders when returning empty from other jobs. Essentially, the various truck drivers would be the equivalent of different-size ants transporting different-size loads among hubs.

“It is a win-win-win,” Naumoff says. “Good for the local fleet owners who make extra money on a run they have to do anyway, good for local food that does not have to make multiple trips to finish an order, and good for the environment because trucks are always full and traveling short distances so emission levels are lower than conventional agricultural systems.”

“I am using the economies of cooperation to compete with the economies of scale.” – Cullen Naumoff

Adopting the ant-inspired distribution strategy has helped Naumoff move closer to her goal of paying small farmers a reliable living wage and meeting the food needs of wholesale customers while competing with the large food distributers. “I am using the economies of cooperation to compete with the economies of scale,” she says.

Naumoff and others working to create more sustainable food systems face many other challenges, such as degraded soil, loss of food knowledge, poor nutrition, poverty, obesity, hunger and food access, just to name a few.

As Naumoff looks with satisfaction on the food system distribution solutions ants have inspired, one can’t help but wonder: What other problems does society have that nature has already solved? View Ensia homepage

Editor’s note: Liv Scott produced this feature as a participant in the Ensia Mentor Program. The mentor for the project was Sarah Gilman.

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Dec01

Message to COP21 leaders: Need solutions? Ask nature.

Right now, world leaders are gathering in Paris at COP21 with nothing less than the future of our planet at stake. Their goal is to create a new international climate change agreement that limits global warming below 2℃. If temperatures rise above that magic number, the UN predicts that between 20-30 percent of plant and animal species could be wiped out. If things continue as they currently are, we will certainly hit that number (atmospheric CO2 levels recently passed the 400 ppm mark, another measure of the damage we’re doing). We know we cannot allow this to happen.

As these leaders work to hammer out plans, they’re going to need to land on solid strategies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep our planet’s temperature from rising. Luckily, the solutions are right outside our window.

Nature is full of clues for how we can approach our climate change problems, in ways that not only reduce our climate impact, but help us to “…become producers of ecosystem services” (Janine Benyus). Biomimicry studies and then translates nature’s architecture, design, and engineering strategies to human design. Many of these strategies can apply directly to climate change challenges such as how nature upcycles carbon, harnesses the sun’s power, and creates electricity.

COP21 is focused on developing solid action plans and solutions. In that spirit, we want to share just a few of nature’s strategies and corresponding innovations that can lead us down a more life-sustaining path.

First, here is a small sample of some ways that nature captures greenhouse gases and creates renewable energy:

 

Carbon-gobbling cacti
The Saguaro cactus uses some of the carbon dioxide it removes from the atmosphere to make compounds called oxalates.These oxalates then combine with calcium ions taken up from the soil by the plants roots. After the cactus dies, the calcium oxalate slowly transforms into solid calcium carbonate (calcite), and sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide into the soil. (more…)

Oct10

Urban mobility reloaded: Planning our future cities

By Dr. Arndt Pechstein

Our cities are constantly growing and an ever-rising number of people live on a very small fraction of the world’s surface area. By 2050, about 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. Half of the population of Asia alone is predicted to live in cities by 2020. Over 60% of the land projected to become urban by 2030 remains yet to be built. Mobility no longer remains an optional luxury for an elite but has transformed into a non-negotiable to participate in society. Consequently, smart mobility solutions are gaining importance. How do we tackle such a challenge of global dimension? How do we serve people’s needs for mobility while simultaneously sacrificing neither biodiversity and environmental values nor human health and well-being?

The light bulb was not invented by improving the candle.”

Urban mobility Dr. Arndt Pechstein

Reinventing the wheel

Despite our pride of having invented the wheel (which is, by the way, not entirely true given that the golden wheel spider has been using wheel motion for millions of years before us) humans are not the only species tackling mobility challenges. In fact, mobility is an inherent phenomenon shared by all living systems. Everything alive moves, from cells to organisms to entire ecosystems. Over billions of years, organisms and systems have evolved to be remarkably adaptive to their surroundings with regard to transport, mobility, and logistics.

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