Saturday, February 6, 2010

Biomimicry, human innovations from Nature's R+D

My friend showed me an incredible TED presentation by Janine Benyus, who presented an amazing idea called biomimicry. Biomimicry is the act of looking to nature for solutions to our world's problems. This means observing how nature (insects, plants, animals) does things in daily life, and how they have successfully adapted to their environments to overcome problems. Janine Benyus tells us that nature has spent millions and millions of years in R+D (research and development), developing new behaviours, and physical traits in their quest for solutions to age-old problems that pose a threat to their survival. Benyus argues that the solutions nature's creatures have found can be applied by humans to solve similar problems that humans face and have not solved; problems such as pollution, energy conservation, production and efficiency.

I personally think this is idea is simply ingenious. There are countless applications of biomimicry, as long as we are able to locate solutions in nature that we can model. However, this question should be asked: is Biomimicry all about creating human innovation from unoriginal ideas? Absolutely.

This concept has been applied to many situations in the world already, as Benyus explains in the presentation. Humans should be so thankful of nature's doing. Nature has provided humans with an Earth to live on, resources to thrive on, and now solutions for problems that humans have caused themselves (pollution, efficiency issues). Here's a thought: maybe humans should repay nature for once. Act in the good interest of nature!

Watch Benyus' presentation below: