In a Word: Biomimicry


bio·​mim·​ic·​ry ¦bī-(ˌ)ō-¦mi-mi-krē, noun: the imitation of natural biological designs or processes in engineering or invention: biomimetics.

“We are surrounded by geniuses,” says Janine Benyus, co-founder of The Biomimicry Institute. She isn’t referring to the billionaires in our midst, set on shooting us all to the stars, but rather the natural world around us, geniuses all, who work within a beautifully balanced system.

Biomimicry, according to Benyus, is the practice of noticing how nature solves problems and then applying that design to innovations all around us. We already see biomimicry in products all around us. Your down-filled coat (have you ever seen a cold goose?), the Velcro fastener (look no further than the burrs attached to your hiking pants). The shape of wind turbines are modeled after the ridges of a whale’s pectoral fins, which create an aerodynamic flow. Shatterproof glass took its inspiration from spider webs. 

In her seminal book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Benyus summarizes fundamental observations of the natural world:

  • Nature runs on sunlight.
  • Nature uses only the energy it needs.
  • Nature fits form to function.
  • Nature recycles everything.
  • Nature rewards cooperation.
  • Nature banks on diversity.
  • Nature demands local expertise.
  • Nature curbs excesses from within.
  • Nature taps the power of limits.

Benyus has never forgotten the lessons she learned as a young child exploring the wild spaces near her home. She was awed then and she remains so. Biomimicry. It’s as simple as paying attention to those geniuses around us, and taking instruction from them.

Latest Stories

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower and Cheese

You can make this cozy dish — like mac and cheese, but noodle-free — with nutty,...

RECIPE: Warmed Sweet and Spiced Nuts

We love serving these nuts as hors d’oeuvres when friends and family gather in our home....

Green Housing, Affordable Housing

To: Bluedot LivingFrom: Island Housing TrustSubject: Green Housing, Affordable Housing The Island Housing Trust consistently uses green...

Bluedot Favorite Gifts: It’s All Local

Vineyarders take a lot of pride in their community — as do the local businesses, farms, artists,...
Bluedot Living
Bluedot Living
Bluedot Living Magazine is a sustainable living magazine and website with locations throughout North America.
Read More

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here