In simple terms, biomimicry is a practice that learns and copies the various strategies found in nature to help solve the challenges faced in the modern world- and find better solutions. This concept learns from and then mimics nature’s forms, processes, and ecosystems to come up with more sustainable designs. For instance, spider webs represent nature’s ability to avoid collisions.
Nature always has a solution for the problems we face in the world. Biomimicry offers an interconnected understanding of how life works on the planet and where we, as humans, fit in. The concept of biomimicry understands and mimics the methods and strategies used by various species alive today.
After several years of development and research, failures are fossils, and what remains today is the key to humanity’s survival. The main goal of biomimicry is to develop products, systems, and processes (new ways of living) that will eventually help to solve the greatest design challenges sustainably and in harmony with all species and life on the planet. The concept of biomimicry can not only be used to learn from the wisdom of nature but also to save and heal ourselves and our earth in the process.
Chemical formulas found in nature could help us design eco-friendly plastics and foams. The native ecosystems of Australia can show us how to construct a factory that operates just like a forest. These are a few examples of biomimicry.
The concept of biomimicry brings relief to humanity. Humans, as well as the planet, are stressed. People are losing hope of finding a solution to climate change and global warming. As the situation keeps getting worse, biomimicry gives us hope. Because of biomimicry, we know that there are solutions in nature that are validated and accessible by several species contributing to the ecosystem today. Nature, as our guide, will help the world experience the effective healing effects of nature by finding empowering relief to solve the environmental crisis together.
It can help us design solutions that benefit both humanity and nature. Creating sustainable, regenerative designs and circular designs can become a force for restoring water, air, and soil instead of damaging it. Nature uses structure to alter functions and also uses passive forms of energy. However, humans generally use brute force, like mining ancient carbon, etc. With biomimicry, we can now create conditions conducive to all life on earth.
Biomimicry helps innovate sustainable solutions faster. The impacts of climate change are increasing, and today’s global actions aren’t proving helpful. Thus, we must pay attention to the biological blueprints that have been successful over millions of years to launch sustainable ideas faster.
Researchers usually turn to the concept of biomimicry to achieve a new product that is efficient and effective. However, they often gain a deep understanding and connection to nature. Thus, it motivates the conservation of ecosystems and species as they hold essential knowledge we need to survive in this world.
Elements of Biomimicry
When understanding and translating nature’s strategies into a design, the science of biomimicry includes three important elements: Emulate, Ethos, and (Re)Connect. The three elements are infused in all the aspects of biomimicry.
This element is the scientific and research-based practice of learning and mimicking nature’s various forms, ecosystems, processes, and strategies to develop more regenerative designs.
Ethos is the philosophy of understanding how different life forms in nature work and developing designs that always support and create conditions conducive to all life on the planet.
(Re)Connect is the concept that we all are a part of nature and find deep meaning in connecting to our place on the planet as part of life’s interconnected systems. This concept as a practice motivates us to observe, spend time, and learn from nature in order to understand how life works so that humanity may have a better ethos to emulate biological strategies in our designs.
The concept of biomimicry is a type of bioinspired design. However, not all types of bioinspired design can be called biomimicry. The term ‘bioinspired design’ is usually used as an umbrella category for various engineering and design approaches that use biology as a resource for solutions.
It lays more emphasis on learning and mimicking the sustainable and regenerative solutions nature has for different functional challenges compared to other types of bioinspired designs. Biomimicry is often misunderstood as biomorphism. Biomorphism is the designs that look like elements from nature, while biomimetic designs work like nature. Several examples of biomorphism can be seen in architecture.
Similarly, biomimicry is also often mistaken for bioutilization. The concept of bioutilization is the use of biological materials in technology or design. For example, collecting medicinal plants to obtain the medication in them or growing algae to produce biofuels. It is important to understand the distinctive feature of biomimicry- which is in the name itself (learning and mimicking) – and not confuse it with other similar terms.
Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.