Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Getting Ready for our Deep Roots Workshop: My Current Reading List

We are getting more and more excited as we prepare for our upcoming Deep Roots Workshop April 21. As we dig deeper into how biomimicry can apply to the built environment not only as it applies to a building or project site, but also to a regional discussion of what all sustainability and resiliency efforts are working towards, we are adding shape to our Deep Roots vision. I wrote about this recently on my Think Biomimicry blog post about shifting a built environment designed to sit upon a landscape into one that lives within it, and included my current reading list as I prepare for our workshop.

We are inspired and awed by the incredible work taking place within the Chicagoland region such as the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, the Center for Neighborhood Technology Rain Ready program, the innovative work of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District including their Restore the Canopy, Plant a Tree program, the Urban Wildlife Institute which studies the interaction between urban development and the natural ecosystem, and of course the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council's work to envision a future for our region.

Together, these efforts and countless others move our region in a direction towards restoring greater resilience and sustainability. The question is, how will we know if we have done enough or how far we have to go? How do we know if we achieve "sustainability" or sufficient redundancy and diversity in our systems to be able to provide the services needed to live here for centuries to come?

I hope you find the articles inspiring and get you thinking about our built environment in a whole new way. Bring that thinking to our workshop! We're excited to share our thoughts and hope to learn from and work with you to figure out how to make it a reality.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Biomimicry Chicago Upcoming Events: April 2017

Carbon as Catalyst
Thursday April 6

5:30 - 6:30pm

Hosted by AECOM, 100 South Wacker Drive, Suite 500, Chicago

RSVP for this FREE event TODAY!

Moving beyond carbon emissions.

In nature, carbon cycles throughout our atmosphere, soils, water and all life, tying us all together. Carbon is a critical abundant resource that, together with water and the energy from sunlight, forms the fundamental building blocks of life.

Next Thursday April 6, learn how people fighting climate change are beginning to move beyond simply reducing carbon emissions to a strategy of looking to complete the carbon cycle as nature does, including seeing carbon as a resource and catalyst for new business opportunities. 
Thirsty Thursdays: RSVP Today!

Deep Roots Workshop, Friday April 21, 2017

Don't forget to register today for our Deep Roots Workshop! We are excited to share our vision for how the topics we've covered in our Thirsty Thursday events - ecosystem services, biodiversity, water and carbon management - can tie together to create a science-based framework that defines sustainability for our region. For more information, visit our event websiteEarly Bird pricing ends April 7!
Workshop: RSVP Today!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Think Biomimicry #SystemReset Series - New Post!

In my latest post on Trulstech's innovative Molecular Heat Eater (MHE) family of flame retardants and the flame retardant industry, I continue to explore how using biomimicry to not only innovate new technology but also use different materials based on life-friendly chemistry has the potential to disrupt entire product category ecosystems toward a more sustainable future.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Registration is LIVE for our Inaugural Deep Roots Workshop!

Urban flooding...water pollution...topsoil erosion...urban heat islands... 
Did you ever wonder WHY we face these challenges? While their individual causes are complex, they result from one systemic failure: the systematic removal of ecosystem services from our built environment. The time is right and the need is great to radically shift our built environment approach towards one of holistic regeneration rooted in the genius of our place - northeastern Illinois.

Kick off event!

Using water to illustrate our ideas and approach, we will discuss how learning from our local ecology allows us to shift our thinking about stormwater from waste to critical resource - one to hold on to for as long as possible. Through fun brainstorming activities, we will use real projects provided by workshop partners alongside design principles from local natural models to reimagine the potential of our local water management systems to shift from operating at a deficit to generating a net positive water balance.

At our one-day event, we will begin to explore the opportunities to use the cutting-edge biomimicry innovation methodology to design and build lost ecosystem functions back into our built environment. Join us in kicking off this exciting new initiative for the Chicago region!

Who Should Come?

To lay the foundation for this shift, we seek to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams (with people like you!) to develop publicly accessible information and tools to inform our collective decision making and measure the success of our designs.

Therefore, our goal is to bring in as diverse a group as possible - all perspectives are needed and valued! Architects, designers, engineers (civil, industrial...all kinds!), developers, municipal workers, biologists, landscape architects, students and educators, planners, economists, and more!

During this event, participants will:
  • Explore the grounds of the Lurie Garden with ecologists and learn about the inherent sustainability and resilience of our native ecosystems;
  • Learn about ecosystem functions as applied to the built environment through interactive activities;
  • Learn biomimicry tools and strategies for learning from nature to create innovative solutions to critical challenges; and
  • Collectively brainstorm a common vision for The Deep Roots Project that will continue long after the initial event.

Our Speakers

Speakers who will lead the workshop include Biomimicry Chicago network leaders Amy Coffman Phillips and Rachel Hahs as well as Conservation Design forum's Jim Patchett and the Lurie Garden's Director Scott Stewart. The Deep Roots initiative is guided by industry leaders representing diverse experience including architecture, business, ecology and design, and we welcome all participants in bringing this initiative to work for the Chicago region. If you would like to be a part of this initiative, either as an organization or as an individual, please contact us.

Learn more and register today!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Using Biomimicry to Create Viable Alternative Systems

Join Biomimicry Chicago's Rachel Hahs in her new #SystemReset series in which she explores how using a systems approach in biomimicry can result in radical new alternative system designs that have the potential to drastically improve the environmental, social and economic impacts of the system.

In #SystemReset Part 1: Biomimicry and the "How" of DIF's #SystemReset, Rachel introduces the idea that using biomimicry to redefine the approach to solving for the core functions of a challenge results in the potential for not only a completely redesigned "product", but also a redesigned product category ecosystem, with ripple effects into complimentary goods and services systems.

In Part 2: Plastics from Air, she provides an example that illustrates how biomimicry systems thinking resulted in creating a viable alternative system of raw material sourcing and material production in the plastics industry - creating the potential switch from one that contributes significantly to climate change, to one that is part of the solution.

Upcoming posts include additional examples of radical technology solutions that represent paradigm shifts in their industries, as well as additional exploration of how the use of a biomimicry systems approach can accelerate a #SystemReset to sustainable systems.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FIRST LEGO League & Biomimicry

Do you have a child participating in the FIRST LEGO League Animal Allies challenge that is interested in using biomimicry for their innovation process? Check out the FIRST LEGO Biomimicry Guidance post at Think Biomimicry that provides guidance on how to do just that!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Think Biomimicry

Have you checked out the new blog, Think Biomimicry, by Biomimicry Chicago's Rachel Hahs? In it Rachel explores how we can shift from just being excited about the ideas behind biomimicry, to implementing biomimicry in practice in whatever fields we work. 

Her most recent post, (Re)connecting with Nature, takes a look at how the first step to practicing biomimicry requires gaining the skills to slow down long enough to keenly observe the world around us with a curious and open mind - only then will we be able to truly learn from nature. Her previous posts touch on explaining what biomimicry is, how to use it, and how we think about it in the built environment. 

The website also includes a comprehensive list of online biomimicry resources (please let us know if you have resources to add!), and periodically updated photography collections. Enjoy!