Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Biomimicry Expert Janine Benyus to Speak at the University of Akron

Biomimicry Expert Janine Benyus to Speak at the University of Akron

Great Lakes Biomimicry

Janine Benyus is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Benyus will be speaking at the University of Akron on Sept. 20.

On Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Janine Benyus will speak at E.J. Thomas Hall at the University of Akron and give an insider's view of the latest biomimicry advances on the drawing board and in the marketplace.

Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and then emulating life’s best ideas to create a more sustainable world. By mimicking nature's time-tested strategies, biomimics are learning to create concrete like a coral, resist bacteria like a shark, produce colors like a peacock, purify water like a marsh and gather energy like a leaf. Based on 3.8 billion of years of research and development, these designs sip energy, shave material use, eliminate toxins and turn waste into opportunities.  

Once a specialty science, biomimicry has spread virally in the last 15 years. Dozens of biomimicry start-ups, including several companies in the Great Lakes region, are making headlines with nature-inspired technologies that solve global challenges and disrupt business as usual. Leading companies such as Boeing, HOK, IDEO, Interface, Levi’s, Nike and Colgate-Palmolive use biomimicry in their labs as well as their boardrooms, finding inspiration for product and management redesign.  

Since the publication of her seminal book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Benyus and her colleagues at Biomimicry 3.8 have developed a methodology for bio-inspired design while introducing millions to its potential. They’ve worked with more than 250 corporate clients and professors from more than 100 universities to embed biomimicry in both design and decision making. They’ve been “biologists at the design table” with some of the world’s greatest innovators, reimagining everything from carpets to cities.

During her talk, Benyus will discuss the worldwide spread of the meme, and how it is being heralded as a “one of the top 20 breakthrough business ideas” (Harvard Business Review, HBR List), “a paradigm shift for the world of design” (Smithsonian National Design Awards), and “one of 10 innovations that will change the way you manufacture” (Society of Manufacturing Engineers). At this critical tipping-point for the field, she’ll describe what’s needed to take biomimicry global while cultivating ethical thought leadership here at home.

One of the most significant developments in biomimicry is happening right here in Northeast Ohio. As Biomimicry 3.8’s first Founding Affiliate, the Great Lakes region is poised to become the Silicon Valley of biomimicry education, finance and commercialization. The University of Akron is already making biomimicry news, with its spider and gecko inspired research and the world’s first PhD in biomimicry. 

Come learn what all the excitement is about from the founder of this practical, radical and powerfully hopeful approach to innovation. Hear what happens when inventors become nature’s apprentices, creating world-changing technologies that create conditions conducive to all life.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A resident works in the vegetable garden of the Favela Nova Esperanca – a "green favela" which reuses everything and is subject to the ethics of permaculture – in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Farmers are the stewards of our planet's precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

Read More Show Less
Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less