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Why is Biomimicry Essential These Days?
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Blog...Why is Biomimicry Essential These Days?

Why is Biomimicry Essential These Days?

Ecology News
Industry
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In this article, we’ll explain what biomimicry is, why it is important, examples of biomimicry, and if it’s really the right solution in the midst of climate change.
Ecology News
2024-05-21T00:00:00.000Z
en-us
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There’s a reason why people say to “let things go” – it’s because usually, the world has a way of working itself out and solving problems on its own, but these days – efforts which depict this mantra, such as biomimicry, are becoming more essential than ever before.

Nature is usually able to self-solve its problems, but as climate change persists – it’s becoming more difficult for Mother Earth to accomplish this on its own. Here is exactly where biomimicry comes into play.

Biomimicry refers to the practice of drawing inspiration from nature and mimicking those processes into human engineering with the goal to elicit the same effect. 

In this article, we’ll explain what biomimicry is, why it is important, examples of biomimicry, and if it’s really the right solution in the midst of climate change.

What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry, otherwise known as “biological mimicking”, refers to the practice of shadowing the natural processes depicted in nature and translating them to human engineering practices – hence the name, “biomimicry”, as biology is being copied to a tee.

The main goal of biomimicry is to help facilitate these natural processes once more in nature to help preserve biodiversity, boost habitat conservation, and preserve endangered wildlife.

Essentially, think of the same way a young child learns how to speak a language or to wash their hands before eating – these are learned practices that they pick up from their surrounding environment. The same goes for biomimicry – the principles implemented were taught behaviors from watching natural processes in nature.

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stealing ideas from nature cartoon

There are 3 imperative elements to biomimicry:

  • Emulate – This refers to the science-based research that must be done to ensure that all of nature’s processes can be replicated precisely. 
  • Ethos – This facet of biomimicry aims to respect the philosophical elements involved with understanding all life forms and working to create conditions in line with ethos.
  • Re-Connect – This pertains to working towards finding a happy-medium for all of Earth’s inhabitants and interconnected systems and establishing a valuable connection between the two.

👉 Ultimately, biomimicry is the process of copying innate traits found in nature to boost vitality across all life forms and create sustainable innovations to help companies and individuals alike reduce their environmental impact.

pink sunset over ocean

Why is biomimicry important?

Biomimicry is important because it is an opportunity for all of us to return to our “roots” and remember why abiding by Earth’s natural processes is imperative for not only survival – but to thrive.

The more we work towards incorporating the use of biological strategies into human engineering, the better chances we have at making modern technology more sustainable and efficient in the long-run.

💡As humans, we often forget that fish, trees, microbes, and more are an integral part of life on Earth – but luckily, biomimicry can help us to re-learn the crucial interconnectedness of all living things. 

In addition to this, biomimicry can help boost sustainable innovation – as the more we aim to mimic biological processes and patterns, the more likely these ideals are bound to seep into the design and development of future technologies and business models. 

Here are a few other reasons why biomimicry is important:

  • Encourages New Ideas – Biomimicry can help us to view things from a new perspective, which in turn – can help to spur new sustainable innovations.
  • Find Solutions Faster – Think in the same realm as how climate smart farming or a food forest can maximize food production through encouraging natural processes, biomimicry can also yield the numerical results we want in a short time span while still keeping sustainability in mind.
  • Utilize Available Sustainable Materials – Many people may not realize that the Earth is abundant with sustainable and ready-to-use supplies, such as bamboo, to be used for green infrastructure or other sustainable endeavors. Biomimicry can help remind us of these available resources and make the most of them.
  • Reduce Waste – Plastic is not natural by any means, and oftentimes – it contributes to excess GHG emissions in landfills. Biomimicry can aid us to find new sustainable solutions for sustainable packaging. 

👉 Biomimicry can help us to re-prioritize natural processes that can not only aid in the fight against climate change, but strengthen our business models and daily life for various living organisms on Earth. 

dry brown sunny field

What are some examples of biomimicry?

General examples of biomimicry include working to recreate the same substances found in nature or  recreating the same biological processes in nature.

The oldest and most well-known example of biomimicry is velcro, where back in 1941 – George de Mestral noticed burrs sticking to one another on his dog. As a result, he developed velcro fastening – something still used to this day, often for sneakers to prevent the need for shoe laces for young children.
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velcro dog hike

Here are some other successful examples of biomimicry:

Sharklet Technology 

Having developed technology primarily for the marine and shipping industry, Sharklet Technology later realized that they had developed surfaces that mimic shark skin – which in turn helps to prohibit bacterial growth and boost overall sanitary conditions in medical environments like hospitals.

This advanced surface technology mimics a pattern in nature, and is now used in disinfectants and antibacterial products to help maintain good hygiene in germ-ridden environments.

Notpla 

This start-up “started” with a goal in mind to reduce non-biodegradable waste created from packaging.

Biomimicry came in handy, as Notpla was able to mimic the algae found in biodegradable plants and create single-use cups and food containers made with seaweed – ultimately helping to reduce single-use plastic waste. 

Mikoks

This company utilized biomimicry to find a solution to develop a way to fight crop fungal spoilage – which can now be used amongst those in the agriculture industry trying to utilize climate smart farming.

Think in the same way some vaccines we take contain small parts of a live virus to teach our immune systems how to fight off the disease if it comes our way. Mikos has employed the same concept for plants and fungi through the use of biomimicry.

👉 Biomimicry can help us to re-prioritize natural processes that can not only aid in the fight against climate change, but strengthen our business models and daily life for various living organisms on Earth. 

sunny fields

How is biomimicry supported in the business world?

While biomimicry is still growing, it has already been accepted by one of the most well-known, global standardizations – such as by ISO 18458 and ISO 18459, which focus on terminology for biomimicry and optimizing biomimetic and eco-design respectively. 

An ISO certification is one of the most globally recognized standards in the world, and since there are ISO certifications that pertain to the ideals depicted by biomimicry – it can help accentuate the importance of biomimicry to other businesses and encourage them to implement the ideals of biomimicry as well.

Here are some other ways in which biomimicry is supported in the business world:

  • Drives Innovation – Biomimicry helps companies to optimize their energy efficiency with new designs inspired by mimicking biological processes. 
  • Encourage Other Sustainable Practices – Biomimicry can help companies to reduce waste or design products to be more sustainable long-term – such as with Patagonia, which has made an effort to make their clothes repairable.
  • Boosts a Circular EconomyBiomimicry helps to encourage the development and production of items that are biodegradable and can be recycled.
  • Incentivizes Research – Successfully implementing biomimicry involves adequate research, which in turn – can allow companies to learn other imperative business tactics to be incorporated as well. In addition to this, biomimicry can result in new business partnerships with academic institutions.
  • Avoid GreenwashingBiomimicry is great for businesses looking for ways to scientifically and numerically depict their eco-friendly efforts to customers without being accused of greenwashing. In addition to this, biomimicry can help to attract new customers and intrigue stakeholders.

👉 Working to implement biomimicry into various aspects of a company’s business operations can help them to create a competitive edge, engage stakeholders, reduce their environmental impact, and spur new sustainable ideas.

person on beach pink sunset

Is biomimicry ultimately good or bad? 

Biomimicry is ultimately beneficial as it can inspire new ideas for business design and development, but as with anything else – there are drawbacks to the use of biomimicry, such as the unpredictability of the outcome and our limited understanding of nature.

Biomimicry is essential today, seeing as we need to find a way to make do with less. In other words, mankind has already aggravated emissions through excessive industrialization – meaning now we need to step back and reevaluate our current process of producing goods long-term.

💡One of the most evident solutions to this issue is biomimicry, as it could help to reduce excess waste and encourage the flow of natural processes and resources.

Still, it is important to remain mindful of the challenges that may arise while pursuing biomimicry, such as:

  • Complexity of Biomimicry – Natural systems, while seemingly simple on the outside, are more complex than many of us may realize – which can lead to flaw designs that can’t perfectly mimic the natural process we intended to copy.
  • Lack of Knowledge – Even with advances in technology, there is a lot that is yet to be discovered in regards to natural processes and how we can successfully mimic these biological patterns – meaning that ample room must be left for potential errors.
  • Need to Curate Biomimicry to Humanity – While nature has evolved to accommodate ecological processes for wildlife and other living organisms, they may not pertain to human beings – meaning that biomimicry should be utilized and adjusted accordingly with humanity in mind.
  • Time Constraints – The time, resources, and research required to properly execute biomimicry may prevent companies from moving forward with their plans to employ biomimicry into their own business models or engineering processes.  

👉 Regardless of these roadblocks, it is important to remember that biomimicry is often worth the additional hurdles that must be overcome – as it can create long-lasting and sustainable solutions.

Overall, biomimicry can prove beneficial – but it is imperative to approach all efforts towards biomimicry with a critical eye and beware of its potential challenges. However, these setbacks shouldn’t deter companies from utilizing biomimicry – as it could spur new, unprecedented ideas to make their product relevant and successful long-term, which is now essential in the midst of climate change and the growing emphasis on sustainability.

What About Greenly?

If reading this article about biomimicry has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

At Greenly we can help you to assess your company’s carbon footprint, and then give you the tools you need to cut down on emissions. We offer a free demo for you to better understand our platform and all that it has to offer – including assistance with boosting supplier engagement, personalized assistance, and new ways to involve your employees.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

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