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!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Learning from Ephemeral Flowers: Deep Roots Workshop Postponed until Spring!

Spring ephemeral flowers know the importance of timing. You see these flowers first thing in the spring - they are the first to push through the soil and snow, dot the landscape with greenery and flowers, set seed to reproduce, and then go dormant before the woodland trees can shade them.

For the spring ephemeral, timing is everything.

At Biomimicry Chicago, we are taking a lesson from the spring ephemeral to know when the time is right, and when it is not. We have received an amazing response to our Deep Roots idea: we are close to meeting our registration goals for the workshop, have secured three sponsors, and our event and name is being spread by organizations we are just now beginning to reach. We have been thrilled with the response so far!However, we have heard from many key allies that the timing of this workshop does not work for them. As we have begun reaching out to a larger audience, we would like to have more time for new people to be brought on board, and for exciting new projects in the works to progress further, so that the conversation we hold can be its most tangible and effective.

We have, therefore, decided to postpone our inaugural workshop to the Spring of 2017.

In the meantime, we want to meet YOU and know how YOU think we can “(Re)Create Chicago as an Ecosystem.” Starting this fall, we will be working with our allies to plan a series of smaller round table discussions, both private and open to our network. The goal for these gatherings is to provide an opportunity for local biomimics and interested individuals to learn more about biomimicry and ecosystem functions while giving us a better understanding for how this project can best serve their needs and those of our community. If you would like to be a part of these discussions, either as an organization or as an individual, pleasecontact us

Life adapts and changes through feedback loops, and the many conversations we have had in preparation for this workshop have told us that this is the best course of action. We see this endeavor as an unmitigated success so far and we look forward to working with each of you in the future!

Biomimicry Chicago Network Leaders

VIDEO: No Regrets

Watch this video on days where the mountain seems to high, and the challenge to fierce.
Watch this video and be inspired again to make a difference through this work we choose.
Watch this video and lend your talents by joining us.
We welcome you.

Biomimicry Chicago Network Leaders