Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine M. Benyus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before I read this book, the only thing I knew of Biomimicry was from a short film on YouTube that piqued my interest.

After having finished this it, I feel overwhelmed by the new vision which compliments my sight.

Don’t get me wrong, this book was hard to read. While I am not scientifically illiterate, I certaily don’t have an in depth understanding of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. This books explains all aspects of science, from Biology to Chemistry and a little bit of Physics too. Quite often it was a bit more than I was comfortable going through. But I persevered, I ploughed through the book even though early on I was quite disillusioned that this wasn’t the flashy “cool examples of nature in everyday English”. And I am glad I did. The result is that although I am not professing to be a born again scientist, I have broadened and slightly deepend my understanding of how and why basic processes such as Photosynthesis are so amazing to us. I have gained a deeper understanding into just how far we have strayed from a sustainable lifestyle as a species and how pressing and inevitble it is that we return to being one.

Each chapter talks about a different aspect of life as we know it, and how animals, plants and processes in nature handle these very things. Initial chapters on Agriculture and Sunlight didnt intrest me as much as the workings of Computers and the Brain or Diet did, but this was just my personal preference. I loved the understanding that it is we humans who bestow the title of “computer” upon an object which in our case is a silicon based piece of electrical hardware. What of the other biological ‘computers’ in nature that ‘compute’ thousands upon thousands of times faster and quicker?
Reading about how monkeys and rats manage to balance their diets according to their environments was fascinating too, how ironic that we are the most ‘advanced’ species on the planet yet other species do with ease what we are increasingly struggling to do?

This book further reinforced the notion that as cliched as it sounds, we are a part of nature. We are not separate from it. If we decide to enclose ourselves within concrete walls, we have only temporarily separated ourselves. There is no such thing as a permament separation for as long as we reside on this planet. It is a duty upon us to dial back our transgressions we have enacted since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in order to make this planet a safe, healthy and habitable place to live for our descendents to come. As the book says, we are part of nature, somwhere between the ant and the mountain.

Having finished this book, I feel justified in my own personal awe and wonder in how trees, plants and animals thrive in ways that we are too theoretically advanced but practically primitive to understand. We marvel at our solar panels which are beaten by everyday “pond scum” with their 95% sunlight efficient conversion. We clearly have a lot to learn and it is imperative that we do so. The cure for cancer may lie in an undiscovered plant being burnt in the amazon for agricultural purposes.

Before I conclude, I recommend everyone to watch the mini documentary on Biomimicry by the same Author of this book which will give you inredible practical examples of how the scient/art of Biomimicry can transform the way we solve problems.

All in all, this can be a very tough book to read if you’re not especially scientifically minded, but if you persevere and understand the message it is very, very powerful. I am happy I read it and definitely feel I have benefitted. 5 Stars for this reason alone, despite its minor readability shortcomings.

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