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Janine is a biologist, author, innovation consultant, and self-proclaimed “nature nerd.” She may not have coined the term biomimicry, but she certainly popularized it in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature which details how science is studying nature’s best ideas to solve our toughest 21st-century problems and how human beings should consciously emulate nature's genius in their designs.



In 1998, Janine co-founded the Biomimicry Guild - an innovation consultancy which helps innovators learn from and emulate natural models. Janine is also President of the non-profit the Biomimicry Institute whose mission is to naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable human systems design. In 2010, Janine cofounded Biomimicry 3.8 with Dayna Baumeister, Chris Allen, and team. Janine is a graduate of Rutgers with degrees in forestry and writing and has lectured widely on science topics. She lives in Stevensville, Montana, USA.





'Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature' Book Excerpt


“What’s going on here? My guess is that Homo industrialis, having reached the limits of nature’s tolerance, is seeing his shadow on the wall, along with the shadows of rhinos, condors, manatees, lady’s slippers, and other species he is taking down with him. Shaken by the sight, he, we, are hungry for instructions about how to live sanely and sustainably on the Earth.


The good news is that wisdom is widespread, not only in indigenous peoples but also in the species that have lived on Earth far longer than humans. If the age of the Earth were a calendar year and today were a breath before midnight on New Year’s Eve, we showed up a scant fifteen minutes ago, and all of recorded history has blinked by the last sixty seconds. Luckily for us, our planet-mates- -the fantastic meshwork of plants, animals, and microbes–have been patiently perfecting their wares since March, an incredible 3.8 billion years since the first bacteria.


In that time, life has learned to fly, circumnavigate the globe, live in the depths of the ocean and atop the highest peaks, craft miracle materials, light up the night, lasso the sun’s energy, and build a self-reflective brain. Collectively, organisms have managed to turn rock and sea into a life-friendly home, with steady temperatures and smoothly percolating cycles. In short, living things have done everything we want to do, without guzzling fossil fuel, polluting the planet, or mortgaging their future. What better models could there be?

12 sustainable design ideas from nature

Janine M. Benyus

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