Biomimicry. Know what this term represents? If not, look further…

by Dick Williams, Memorial Episcopal Church

Let me introduce you to Janine Benyus, an American natural sciences writer who is largely credited with bringing the systems of biomimicry to light. She first published her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, in 1997, then updated it in 2002.

She’s the founder of the Biomimicry Institute where you’d find under Biomimicry 101 this helpful explanation: “Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.”

She goes on: “A sustainable world already exists. Humans are clever, but without intending to, we have created massive sustainability problems for future generations. Fortunately, solutions to these global challenges are all around us.”

“The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”

I first became aware of her through her work’s impact on the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge rating system. This, to my knowledge, is the world’s toughest certification process for “regenerative” buildings, whether new construction or substantial rehabs.

“Living buildings” are certified according to 3 metrics:

  • Regenerative buildings that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.
  • Self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site.
  • Create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.


Anyway, happy learning about biomimicry, if new to you.