“Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci
Biomimicry is a discipline that studies nature’s best ‘designs’ in order to imitate these ideas to create sustainable designs and solve human problems.
The fundamental notion is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Life is the consummate engineer. Lifeforms of every sort have developed what works best, what is appropriate and what lasts. After 3.8 billion years of trial and error, the failures are fossils, and what survived is what surrounds us and provides living proof of what succeeds.
Like many organisms that imitate others we humans can imitate the best adapted organisms in our habitat. We are learning how to harness energy like a leaf, grow food like a prairie, build ceramics like an abalone, self-medicate like a chimp, create color like a peacock, compute and communicate like a cell, and run a business like a mature forest.
To emulate nature‘s genius, we need to look at nature differently. In biomimicry, we look at nature as model, measure, and mentor.
Nature as model:
By studying nature’s models and then emulating these forms, processes, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – in a sustainable way.
Nature as measure:
After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned what works best and what lasts. Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to measure the sustainability of our innovations; we can judge our designs against similar examples in nature.
Nature as mentor:
Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. By imitating nature, there is no guarantee that what is designed is sustainable, you still need to follow the other principles of sustainable design. Biomimicry is not about what we can exploit from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.