Last week I introduced you to Biomimicry and the work of Jamine Benyus. As you probably noticed, the link that I gave you last week, to her keynote speech, didn’t connect properly. So, here it is again, working this time— Janine Benyus Keynote Speach at Living Future 2009. This is a masterful presentation. Take a second to see what she is saying, to witness her superb, even poetic delivery.
The whole point of the Biomimcry Institute is to wake us up to our divorce from nature, to tune us in to the multitude of amazing solutions that nature supplies through her living creatures—the animals, plant and microbes of the biosphere—to solve life’s nagging problems.
None of our problems are in need of immediate resolutions more than our rapidly diminishing supply of clean water. National Geographic devotes its April 2010 issue to water, entitling it: Water- Our Thirsty World. Here are some highlights:
We live on a planet covered by water, but more than 97% is salty, and nearly 2% is locked up in snow and ice. That leaves less than 1% to grow our crops, cool our power plants, and supply drinking and bathing water for households. Some facts:
Through our collective mishandling of the earth’s natural resources we’ve raised the Earth’s average temperature by 1.3 degrees F, resulting in changing weather patterns—floods, droughts, hurricanes, rising sea levels, bursting levees. Water is the visible face of climate.
Ecologist Garrett Hardin gets to the heart of the matter in a paper he wrote in 1968 called The Tragedy of the Commons. It addresses the problems that can be solved only by “a change in human values or ideas of morality” in situations where rational pursuit of individual self-interest leads to collective ruin.
We are the problem. Today, people working through powerful transnational corporations, seeking their own self interests, have trampled the commons worldwide and have lead us to the state that we are in— the pollution of rivers and lakes, the warming of our oceans, the depletion of water and ecological disaster’s that we all are facing. But all of us, including our transnationals can be the solution. We just need a change of heart.
Water is the ultimate commons and Ecuador is leading the way in the paradigm shift that must occur.
Water is the gold standard of biological currency, and the good news is that we can conserve it in countless ways. This brings us back to the work of Janine Benyus and the biomimicry solution. It is simply a matter of asking the right question and looking to nature for the solution.
I went to Benyus’s website Ask Nature.org, asking the question— How would nature conserve water? This inquiry netted me 2237 examples of possible solutions from nature and companies who’ve utilize some of those solutions. See Green Facts below for one of those solutions.
The best to you all. Happy Spring!!!
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The Last Quiz Answer: The Thorny Devil, a tiny highly specialized lizard from the central Australian desert which lives entirely on ants has each scale enlarged and drawn out to a point in the centre. Few birds could relish such a thorny mouthful and to that extent, they must be a very effective defense, but the shape of the scales also serves another and most unusual function. Each is scored with very thin grooves radiating from the central peak. During cold nights, dew condenses on them and is drawn by capillary action along the grooves and eventually down to the tiny creature’s mouth…The Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) can gather all the water it needs directly from rain, standing water, or from soil moisture, against gravity without using energy or a pumping device…Passive collection and distribution systems of naturally distilled water could help provide clean water supplies to the 1 billion people estimated to lack this vital resource, reduce the energy consumption required in collecting and transporting water by pump action (e.g., to the tops of buildings), and provide a variety of other inexpensive technological solutions such as managing heat through evaporative cooling systems, protecting structures from fire through on-demand water barriers.(AskNature.org)