In Part 1, we heard from the co-founders of ECOncrete®, the company that was awarded the 2020 Ray of Hope Prize® last week. Scientists Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Ph.D. and Ido Sella, M.Sc. offer us more insight in the second part of our interview about how their diverse team comes together and what they hope to do with this year’s $100,000 grand prize.
ECOncrete®’s Co-founders on Reconnecting to Nature and Finding Inspiration for Revitalizing Marine Ecosystems (Part 1)
After receiving this year’s $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®, we sat down (virtually, of course!) with ECOncrete® co-founders Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, Ph.D. and Ido Sella, Ph.D.. These scientists have a vision: transform the way our future coastlines look and function by building marine infrastructure projects that benefit the environment and humans.
The art and science of biomimicry revolves around this seminal question — how do we create conditions conducive to life on this planet, for the long haul? How do we more seamlessly become part of “the regeneration”?
In biomimicry thinking, diversity signifies resilience. From a prairie grassland’s thriving ecosystem to the design table’s need for a myriad of expertise, a wide variety of forms, processes, and systems make the world strong and resilient. And yet, our society is new to truly embodying this framework, and we have a lot of work to do to make our culture not only equal to all humans, but equitable, too.
We recognize that environmental justice is social justice, and we must speak up. We stand with our Black brothers and sisters in the fight for equity and justice. This is not a time to be silent or inactive. We champion inclusion and belonging. But we recognize, none of us are doing enough. To that end, here is what we at the Biomimicry Institute are doing to address systemic racism, because Black lives matter.
Get a sneak peek into a professional development training for educators hosted by the Biomimicry Institute, Bioneers, and Ten Strands in December 2019. Hear from participants and instructors and see how biomimicry offers an effective, engaging, and inspiring framework for STEAM education while empowering the next generation of problem-solvers to think differently about nature, engineering, and a sustainable future.
From an evaporative cooling system inspired by the Texas Horned Lizard to protecting coral reefs with a solution inspired by tree canopies and Orb Weaver Spiders, this year’s YDC champions are worthy of celebration for their curiosity, ingenuity, and creative problem-solving.
With biomimicry, I’ve learned that it can be much more impactful to help people learn from nature. As you probably well know, the practice of biomimicry involves three core elements: Ethos, (Re)connect and Emulate. We typically hear about the emulation of natural forms, processes, and interactions when speaking about biomimicry; however, I believe the sustainability ethos and the ability to connect (or reconnect) with nature offer the most profound opportunities for mindshifts, for genuinely rethinking all of our human designs. As my colleague Erin Rovalo says, “ethos represents our respect for, responsibility to, and gratitude for our fellow species and our home”, and “(re)connecting is a practice and a mindset that explores and deepens the relationship between humans and the rest of nature”.
The Biomimicry Institute and Ray C. Anderson Foundation are proud to announce the 9 finalist teams competing for the 2020 Ray of Hope Prize®. These cutting-edge startups are advancing nature-inspired solutions that address a wide range of problems. From eliminating toxic paints and dyes, to providing a new, regenerative approach to marine infrastructure, these game-changing companies are providing a ray of hope in the world today.
More than anything, we wanted to reach out with care and, as is our penchant, some nature-inspired strategies. As an organization that advocates modeling nature, many have asked us to comment on how we humans might respond to this global viral outbreak, adapt, and become resilient. In the interest of compassionate communication, I’d like to offer a thought about what we might do after this forced, difficult, collective pause.