Saturday, March 23, 2013

Following nature's path: A brief introduction

Bio-mimicry is an innovative process inspired by nature to seek sustainable solutions to many of mother earth’s problems. It is a method of emulating natures design process by discovering the genetic  DNA code of mimicking its structure and design models. According to Janine Benyus, “bio-mimicry is the conscious emulation of life’s genius by taking the design principles and the genius of the natural world and learning something from it."

 By imitating the life principles of building from the bottom up, self-assembly and utilizing the diversity of our eco-system and the interconnected web of species spanning across 890 eco-regions combined of plants, animals and insects. This is relatively old technology that is long overdue the recognition it deserve.   A example of this emulating process was conducted in a 1950 experiment were scientists tried to emulate the photo electric effect of plants by studying material and seeing how a plant uses the sun’s photon to create clean usable energy.

From that single experiment scientists were able to mimic the process of how plants collect and store energy from the sun using the photosynthesis process in which sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and minerals are stored and released within the plant structure. Scientists have developed methods of mimicking this process using solar cells to harness the sun’s energy to be distributed as clean usable energy. Just this one discovery alone has made an incredible break through for the prospect of cleaner and safer alternative energy for a planet that is rapidly destroying its ozone layer with the emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere. 

Through an evolution of 3.8 billion years humans have learned the secrets to nature’s ability to imitate the best adapted organism in our inhabitants. Although biologist and the business community must collaborate more effectively to help solve many of life’s problems, our societies would benefit greatly from biology at this junction.  With the ever-evolving breakthroughs in nano bio-mimicry, scientists are finding more examples of how we can and must imitate nature in order to live in a more sustainable world. Examples like the development of Velcro, passive cooling, artificial photosynthesis, and hundreds of other nature emulating processes.

   Bio-mimicry is popular in the design discipline because it offers natural solutions in replicating nature’s time- tested prototype approach. Landscape architects uses an approach to site design by taking cues from nature by understanding its natural systems and structures to better serve and sustain the growth of our human population. We must view nature as a delicate entity that must be protected from the irresponsible practices of mankind. We must continue to search for the answers we need to enhance and maintain the health of our evolving societies of communities that is interdependent upon each other from a single cell organism to complex thriving communities that designed for the utilitarian purpose for all of us that inhabit this planet.

Written by: Todd Hummons
Edited by: Ian Salamanca

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