Where have I been the last four months? In fact, a few people wrote to me and asked me why I had stopped writing because they were really enjoying the posts. A conservationist and writer whom I really look up to, asked me if I had abandoned my blog because I had lost faith in the system.
Me, I am a hard-core optimist. It’s hardly a secret that I am deeply aligned to making nature a part of all that I am, and all that I do, what I would call the balance between Being & Doing. So here goes the story of the last few months, and the reason for my short disappearance:
About a year back, when I was pondering over the question of how to fuse my love for nature with my love for being an entrepreneur, the answer came in the form of Biomimicry – an emerging discipline that teaches us how to learn from nature and create more sustainable designs. What does this mean?
As we know, the age of the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. And to understand how young we are as a species, I invite you to watch this powerful talk by the co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8, Dayna Baumeister (and am super excited because she is also one of my instructors) who helps us understand how incredibly young we are as a species by using the `annual year’ (January –December) as a measure for the 4.5 billion years.
In her talk she says, – If the Earth was born on January 1st (just before midnight), the single-celled organisms ruled the planet from March to August, and it’s only in September sex happened and the genes mixed with possibilities started exploding. We had to wait until November before the mushrooms, fish (vertebrates), the land plants and insects show up. In December the amphibians, lizards, reptiles, mammals, birds and flowers arrived on this Earth. And on December 25th, the asteroid struck the land and took away the dinosaurs. And our ancestors (the hominids) have been here only 12.5 hours and we, the Homo sapiens, arrived only at 11.36pm on 31st December.
Yes, if the life span of the Earth is one year, the human species has been on the Earth ONLY FOR 24 MINUTES.
If we are so young, and the rest of life has been around longer, aren’t there deeply embedded lessons to learn from other species? Over 30 million species (and new ones are being discovered every other day adding to this count) have been around for millions of years, running their life sustainably, designing without creating any toxic waste, and as Biomimicry defines – `creating conditions conducive to all life’. And they all operate in the same conditions that we need to- sunlight, water, gravity, seasons, tides, similar resources, disturbances and work with the same boundaries and limits that we have, but are doing it so elegantly. The question is, are we?After Nature, the only thing that has blown my mind away is Biomimicry. Within a few weeks of knowing I am eligible to do their programs, I was off to the Redwoods (California) to be a part of the Social Innovation Workshop conducted by Biomimicry 3.8. Upon returning to India, I enrolled into their MS IN BIOMIMICRY PROGRAM (affiliated to the Arizona State University). Just when I got selected into the MS PROGRAM, I applied for the Biomimicry Professional Program (BPro) where through a selection process the institute chooses only 15-20 students from across the world to be trained to become Biomimicry Leaders, over the course of the next two years. We travel as a group to six different biomes, learn and engage with Nature and each other, understand how Nature designs in different situations and equip ourselves with lessons and design principles from Nature. And, I am among the 15-20 students selected for this training (got this news two weeks back), and I cannot think of a better audience to share this with – ALL OF YOU. So putting together MY `LITTLE BROWN JOB’ (which has become a big one), kept me away from this blog.
Having completed one semester (and it took me sometime to get into the rhythm of becoming a student again), and with two more years to go before I finish the MS program and the BPro training , you will find me share with you lessons from Nature in my posts hereon -an upcoming Biomimic’s diaries.
The question we are taught to ask in Biomimicry, each time there is a design challenge is – How does Nature do ‘x’? (the challenge), and move through the treasure cove of knowledge that the 30 million species hold and unearth a strategy that can be emulated.
As I invite Nature to teach me how it designs sustainably over the course of the next two years, I will continue to share my experiences on this journey, bring you some amazing designers who have emulated Nature’s designs into their work, and above all continue to use this platform to interact with people deeply immersed in their `Little Brown Jobs’ so we can together stay inspired, and grow this community.
Just to kickstart your interest in the subject of Biomimicry, here are two links:
1. Dayna Baumeister’s inspiring talk:
2. Janine Benyus – the author of the book ‘Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature’ and the co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8, it is this TED talk and her book that had a deep impact on me a few years back.
Thank you for reading. And thanks to those who nudged me to return to writing and share about MY `Little Brown Job’- Biomimicry.
(Image courtesy: Biomimicry Institute)