Biomimicry: Natural Wisdom

Mother nature is an inspiration source for poets, painters, musicians, and movie makers. But beyond the world of arts, many of the best technological solutions for everyday problems of the human being have emerged precisely from the natural world.

We often have news about the creation of new means of streamlined transportation which imitate the shape of the head of some birds and we have also heard about buildings which have temperature self regulation because for their construction the flow of air was studied inside a colony of ants.

These examples have something in common. If you take a close attention you will notice that nature itself has served as a model. That is the way biomimicry emerged, a science which has natural systems as a source of inspiration for the development of technological solutions.

And it is not about a new idea. You will remember for sure Leonardo da Vinci with his flying machines gathered in a manuscript entitled ¨Bird code of flights¨.

But as a scientific discipline, biomimicry emerged in late last century and arrived in our days with new verve and interpretations. Especially, when subjects like the climate changing, the necessity to create adaptable societies and sustainable development are in first line, as it is shown in recent debates in the 29th session of the Caribbean Community in Haiti.

Nowadays, biomimicry can be divided into two branches. The first one is functional technology, the most explored and is about to copy the technological principles taken out from nature. Here appear very controversial examples. The swimmer Michael Phelps is quite aware of it, he used in several occasions a bathing suit inspired in the material of shark skin.

Results? Less water resistance, higher speed, a wave of records and of course a polemic which ended with the prohibition of high tech bathing suits in competitions.

But as part of Biomimicry, there is a second branch: the ecosystem one. So far, is the less investigated but could be the most useful facing the urgency to preserve our planet.

We are no longer speaking about not imitating mother nature but comprehending and apply the functioning principles of life at different levels. Natural systems function with a sort of cyclic economy totally renewable, self reproductive, without residuals and their source of energy is inexhaustible: the Sun. We find in Cuba an application with the agricultural development.

Next time we ask how should we live in this home-world without destroying it?  Let us look with humbleness to mother nature, not for taking out its resources or trying to be superior but with the intention of learning.

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