#56 Learning from Nature

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Homo sapiens, our namesake, literally means “wise man.” Just how wise are we? Well, although we invented the wheel, we have a very bad habit of reinventing it. Instead of going back to the drawing board, maybe we should take a walk through the forest instead. Nature is the ultimate engineering school, and the growing field of biomimicry is using those lessons to find truly novel technological solutions.

Michel Wolfstirn is co-founder of Biomimicry Norway, a non-profit organisation providing workshops, seminars, and consulting services about integrating biomimicry and circular economy principles. Their message: learn from nature rather than trying to outsmart it. Hear how ecological ideas will shape the future of engineering, and how Michel and his colleagues are spreading the word.

In this episode:

+ How a focus on ‘function’ cuts through the jargon and lets scientists, engineers, and businesses understand one another.

+ “I want to thrive alongside the rest of nature.” Michel reminds us that preservation is a stopgap method, and that ultimately we should learn to grow with and be a part of nature.

+ One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: how the circular economy model treats waste as an economic resource.

+ Why nature is not all about competition (and why we should take nature documentaries with a grain of salt)

+ How to ask the right questions when it comes to biomimicry, and some recommended design tools

+ Michel’s personal story of joining and eventually leaving behind the oil industry, his discovery of biomimicry, and his thoughts on the role of technology in sustainability.

“In order to be resilient, we need a diversity of industries and I want those industries to be within sustainability.”Michel Wofstirn
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