2022 Year in Review
A Message from Our Executive Director
As I sit here and reflect on 2022, it’s clear to me that our little corner of the world has changed in the last decade: nature-positive, nature-based solutions, planetary boundaries informing Doughnut Economics-people have woken up to the lessons that nature can offer and are actively seeking biology as the lens for innovation.
Biomimicry has always been a hopeful movement—and now it’s a growing one. Eight years ago when we first partnered with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation to define a new generation of nature-inspired entrepreneurs, we were a little worried that we wouldn’t have a strong atery of new teams year over year. But the opposite has come to pass: each year there are hundreds more, each more ambitious that the next. When we learned the nuances of getting biomimicry into each school district and, ultimately, each classroom, we wondered how we would ever scale. So we opened it up online to everyone and conservatively, 65,000 students have used our curriculum—and that number leaps each year. When we did the math on how many hours and dollars it took to create a single AskNature strategy page, we wondered how we would ever scale it from thousands to hundreds of thousands of pages. Now we use AI (like everyone else) and our science writers have become science editors to ensure accuracy. When the advisors of our clothing waste project told us to focus on single material type instead of mixed waste (at scale, in region, while emulating a food web), we “quieted our cleverness” as our co-founder Janine Benyus would say and did a deep, deep dive into what it means to manager carbon cycles. It’s incredibly hard to force industrially-made stuff into natural systems, and we stumbled a lot, but we have since created a new path for these first and hopefully more pilots, with more actors, creating nutrients from the toxic mess that no one else wanted to tackle.
More of the story: surround yourself with (nature’s) genous. This is our moment, when moer people than ever before as Asking Nature for advice. Thanks to you and this growing community of ours, we are able to answer the call.
Beth Rattner, Executive Director
A new wave of custom diagrams on updated biological strategy pages increases engagement & understanding on the platform for all users.
Our Ray of Hope Prize® finalists continue to work toward solutions to reduce or eliminate extractive industries & practices, with half of the applicants with founding teama that are 40% female.
In 2022, AskNature users saw a new wave of custom diagrams on updated biological strategy pages. These illustrations synthesize information from diverse sources to quickly and accurately convey the information most relevant for the practice of biomimicry. The clear, consistent style was designed to increase engagement and understanding on the platform for all users!
Pages Received New Images
New Innovation Pages
Fully Renovated Biological Strategy Pages
Updated Educational Resource Pages
TOP CUSTOM ILLUSTRATIONS
AskNature also added custom animations created from Ray of Hope Prize® finalist videos. These quick animations demonstrat the “how” behind biological strategies, which is another great way to learn.
Check out these examples:
Youth Design Challenge
Every year, our Youth Design Challenge engages thousands of students around the world with biomimicry curriculum and the challenge of using nature-inspired ideas to solve environmental and social issues most important to the students. In May, we were proud to announce the 2022 winners.
Students exposed to the YDC in the 2021-2022 school year
Registered Coaches + Educators
95 National Submissions/30 International Submissions
CHECK OUT THE 2022 YOUTH DESIGN CHALLENGE
BIOMIMICRY BIOGRAPHIES INSPIRE YOUTH
Ray of Hope Prize
In order to discover the most promising nature-inspired startups in the world, we worked with over 50 pipeline partners and the global biomimicry community. Each of the participating startups have the potential to reduce or eliminate many current extractive industries and practices, while revitalizing degraded ecosystems—a prize we can all celebrate.
Half of these applicants have a founding team that is at least 40% female
MEET THE RAY OF HOPE PRIZE RECIPIENTS
BRINGING NATURE-INSPIRED STARTUP LEADERS INTO NATURE
Design for Decomposition
Coming out of our new Systems Change initiative, Design for Decomposition launched with a mileston announcement and microsite. Hear from scientists and biomimetic design expert Ellie Banwell on how and why we’re bringing decomposition into the Systems Change conversation. WATCH THE VIDEO
THE OR FOUNDATION
…our partner in Ghana, completed a Waste Landscape Analysis, exploring how waste from the Global North comes to an end in Accra (15 million garments a week). They also documented the many pathways the textiles took once they are off-loaded from container, including what happens once textiles are deemed “waste” by secondhand clothing sellers, often because they cannot store the textiles or sell them fast enough.
THE METABOLIC INSTITUTE
…worked with us to identify over 160 decomposition technologies that could be used to break down textiles, including identifying specific inputs and outputs. These technologies were matched to a specific geographical location and turned into a system map in order to identify missing geographical location and turned into a system map in order to identify missing connections. We found several opportunities where D4D thinking might combine technologies to improve the efficiency of existing textile recycling infrastructure.
CENTER FOR GREEN CHEMISTRY & GREEN ENGINEERING AT YALE
…completed a review of existing biodegradation standard protcols. This work will be used to add and recommend alternatives to the existing flawed standardized tests for biodegredation.
From a Meme to a Movement: 25 Years of Biomimicry with Janine Benyus & Lex Amore
Biomimicry is Belonging: Voices from Around the Biomimicry World
What happens when the top nature-startups in the world meet in the Redwoods?
Donate and Support Nature-Inspired Innovators
Here’s the truth: despite all of the efforts above, the need for biomimicry to solve systemic environmental and social problems is currently outpacing our ability to meet it. Your donation ensures that we can meet these challenges by increasing the adoption of biomimicry in education, culture, and industry.