[Final wing in a 4-part series on Ecopsychology]
Here are links to the other 3 wings. At last the butterfly can fly!
Wing 3: Physical Health Through Nature Reconnection
Wing 2: Ecotherapy
Wing 1: Ecospirituality
Biomimicry is observing nature’s complexities and incorporating them into solutions engineered by humans. For anyone interested in this topic, the best resource in existence is the work of Jane Beynus, whose 2009 TED talk I have posted at the bottom of this article.
Her organization, Biomimicry Institute joined with AskNature, a digital library of nature’s solutions, to make Biomimicry 3.8, so named after the 3.8 billion years of research & development provided by – you guessed it – NATURE.
If you are a design student or have any leaning toward engineering skill, I urge you to take this great self-paced course offered online: Biomimicry Foundational Course. The fact that I received a nanoblock praying mantis in my Christmas stocking this year and gave up at instruction Step #4 when the insect had 4 out of 6 legs and no face does not bode well for my success in this field. My daughter, however, completed the next 4 building steps in less time than I took to read the instructions for Step 1. This suggests great hope for a next generation of biomimicry engineers! (Or at least that engineering is not where my strengths lie).
A few biomimicry studies in the area of medicine I find compelling are the case examples of chimpanzees seeking out specific plants and trees to heal their illnesses and Sharklet that mimics shark skin design to stop bacteria from colonizing and spreading those scary superbug infections we all hear about inside and out of hospitals (without resorting to antibiotics!). Apparently this product started when someone asked the question, why don’t sharks grow any sea junk on their skin?
My favorite case example from the world of architecture is this footprint-free house design requiring no deforestation to build and mimicking the structure and shelter of trees: Tree Mimicry House.
Even though I am not an engineer, studying and translating nature’s designs feels intuitively like the right path for profit-driven human endeavors if we as a species are ever to shift toward a gentler way of impacting our own life support system and home.
To conclude my Ecopsychology series, here is a bit of visioning for the New Year that came to me in meditation:
I envision a humanity that has transcended money as a value of a person’s wealth. Where more and more people remember their own nature among the forests, rivers, lakes, valleys, deserts, mountains, houseplants, aquariums, and recognize our mutual guardianship and empowerment inside Earth’s synchronous breath.
May you live well and prosper in this new year!