Biomimicry and Sustainability

Ai - Portland, Oregon
Entered on May 4, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: science
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Technology has made us very close to each other. We can talk to anyone in the world at any time through computers for very small amount of money. It used to take days and a lot of money if you wanted to talk to someone on the phone who live 10,000 miles away. It has sure made things easier for businesses and gave people more freedom. However, some people might say that technology has made everything go wrong. Air has been polluted by cars, factories, and airplanes. The clean water is going to be gone; soil is eroding so that we are unable to grow anything to eat. All of those things have happened in last few decades since the development of certain technologies. So is technology bad? I don’t think so. Actually I believe that new technology like biomimicry can find the way to sustain the world without changing our living standards.

Biomimicry is a study of combining nature into human designed products. I found it in the book called World Changing by Alex Stiffen. I was very surprised with the core idea of biomimicry but at the same time it made total sense to me. The core idea of biomimicry is “treating nature as model, measure, and mentor” says Janine Benyus the author of Biomimicry. Nature has been successfully adapting to the world sustainably and has been around for millions of years. Although, humans are only around for thousands which makes me think that nature, the technology it has, is way beyond our technology. So why not learn from it? We are. Some people are taking great steps towards learning from nature. In return this, innovates our technology to more sustainable ways.

Lotusan paint is one of the greatest examples of biomimicry. It was originated from the lotus leaf. German scientists found that lotus leaves don’t get dirty around water from algae and dirt and thought maybe they could combine that characteristic into exterior paint for buildings. They successfully done that and now there is this paint that won’t get dirty and last more than twice as long as standard paint. I did a little more research on my own and found out that the paint contains low VOC (volatile organic compounds). VOC could be harmful to human bodies and ozone formation which could lead to the Global Worming. Lotusan paint is not yet a major exterior paint in the U.S. but if more people knew about it, it would create a more green conscious society and sustainable built buildings.

Biomimicry can make differences in the world. Technologies may have been hurting the environment and humans for sometime but we can use it in the right way and make things straight. It’s just going to take a little bit of time for people to figure it out. Even if the environment gets almost destroyed by any causes and seems like there is nothing we can do about it, I’m pretty sure somebody is smart enough to figure it out. And I believe that biomimicry could be the key term for that.