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Meet a Biomimic: Julia Chiang

Our next guest on the Meet a Biomimic series is Julia Chiang. Julia is from Taiwan and works as a public relations manager for an agriculture company. She spends much of her time doing outreach as the Secretary General of Biomimicry Taiwan. Some of her recent efforts have been to translate the film “Biomimicry” by Tree Media and other news for native Mandarin speakers. This is no small feat considering Mandarin is the world’s most common language with approximately 14.4% of the human population! Read on to learn more about Julia.

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Building resiliency in the face of a rising sea: How coastal communities can learn from nature

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced. Flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise are serious threats to natural resources, infrastructure, and human communities in coastal areas. In effort to adapt to these changing conditions, planners and policymakers should consider nature’s strategies when developing coastal resiliency plans to protect communities from increasing coastal erosion and flooding due to rising sea levels.

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What nature’s information network can teach us

Today, we are well on our way to a complete digital transformation – where smart sensors and interconnected devices will reshape our economy. But as we build this new Internet of Things, how can we avoid the pitfalls and waste of our current system? In an article on Circulate, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s blog, Janine Benyus explores examples of how the ways that natural systems interact and share information can help us create intelligent assets that maximize our resource productivity while minimizing waste.

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Strengthening the “fragility of grand discoveries” with biomimicry

Close calls make for compelling origin stories, but the sheer randomness of this approach to scientific innovation means that we may be missing a lot. It’s discouraging to think that small decisions and chance events have enough sway to knock innovators off course so easily, even with the rigors of the scientific process. So what can we do to strengthen this “fragility of grand discoveries?” We can start by looking in the right places to begin with.

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Meet a Biomimic: Colleen Mahoney

If you heard about the great BioBlitz of the Americas earlier this month, then you might be familiar with our next guest for the Meet a Biomimic series: Colleen Mahoney. Colleen is a principal architect, and as a parent and a recognized advocate for sustainable building practices, she has set a new standard for family-focused residential architecture with hundreds of projects to date. Beyond her work, Colleen spends her time fostering a community of nature lovers as the co-director (along with biomimicry specialist AJ Wacaser) of the Coastal Redwood Biomimicry Network. She continues to share her love and passion for the natural world by teaching kids and adults alike, encouraging them to contribute to the health and well-being of our planet. Read on to learn more about her path and what she aims to accomplish.

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(Re)defining the Future: Meet the first graduates of the new Master of Science in Biomimicry program

Sitting in a safari jeep for four days, deep in the Okavango Delta with animals teeming all around us, it was maybe only once that our cohort of Biomimicry Professionals experienced a moment of silence lasting longer than 30 seconds (max!) before someone would pipe up, even with an elephant in our camp! That is what it’s like experiencing a new habitat with a team of passionate instructors and nineteen fellow biomimics on their final in-person session before graduation – rare is the silence, rarer still is a lack of inquisitiveness or enthusiasm for the wisdom in nature all around us.

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Meet a Biomimic: Alyssa Stark

Our Meet a Biomimic series continues with Alyssa Stark. Alyssa is a scientist, or a functional morphologist as she calls herself, studying biological adhesives. Her current research focuses on the adhesive systems of ants and geckos (learn more at her website). From developing biomimicry science programs for elementary school kids to mentoring participants in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, Alyssa remains heavily involved in spreading and teaching biomimicry. Read on to learn more about her journey and hear her advice on how to incorporate biomimicry into your work.

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Message to COP21 leaders: Need solutions? Ask nature.

Nature is full of clues for how we can approach our climate change problems, in ways that not only reduce our climate impact, but help us to “…become producers of ecosystem services” (Janine Benyus). Biomimicry studies and then translates nature’s architecture, design and engineering strategies to human design. Many of these strategies can apply directly to climate change challenges such as how nature upcycles carbon, harnesses the sun’s power, and creates electricity.

COP21 is focused on developing solid action plans and solutions. In that spirit, we want to share just a few of nature’s strategies and corresponding innovations that can lead us down a more life-sustaining path.

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Climate Change: What Would Nature Do?

Recently I visited Xunantunich, a site where Mayan ruins are being uncovered in the impoverished nation of Belize, formerly British Honduras. Aside from the sheer beauty and powerful energy of the site, I was struck by a pair of trees our guide pointed out. One was called the Poisonwood Tree, (Metopium brownie) because of the strong allergen in its bark. The other, a reddish tree, which I later found out is called the Gumbo-Limbo tree (Bursera simaruba), contained the antidote.

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Community Credit: The Next Generation of Financial Architecture

A recurring theme in the biomimicry track of this year’s SXSW Eco conference was the increasing multidimensionality of ways biomimicry is being applied not just to products, but also to processes and systems. Chemistry, investing, leadership, branding: all can be bioinspired. I’m enthusiastic about applying biomimicry to financial architecture, or the architectures of exchange. Biomimicry offers a new language, longer timeframe, wider lens, and better-rooted framework overall for thinking about system design. It allows us to finally step “outside” (literally and figuratively) the narrow conceptual models of finance that are currently sinking our collective ship. How would nature design a financial system? This blog post is adapted from a short presentation I gave at SXSW Eco on this question.

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Urban mobility reloaded: Planning our future cities

Our cities are constantly growing and an ever-rising number of people live on a very small fraction of the world’s surface area. By 2050, about 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. How do we serve people’s needs for mobility while simultaneously sacrificing neither biodiversity and environmental values nor human health and well-being?

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The Great Reunion: Watch Janine Benyus’ featured talk at SXSW Eco

In a standing-room-only featured talk at SXSW Eco 2015, Janine Benyus laid out a vision for what the world would look like if we succeeded at scaling biomimicry. Watch Benyus describe this “great reunion” – when our “buildings, farms, artifacts, energy flows, and social patterns of interaction are functionally indistinguishable from the wild communities that surround us.”

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