When she arrived in Montana in 1990, writer Janine Benyus was worn out and broken.

Then, of course, there was the pond. Writer Gary Ferguson explains the inspiration that we humans can draw from how energy flows in the natural world. It never means much until it has become part of some general configuration, until it has become not a “view” or a “sight” but an integrated world of which one is a part; until one is what the biologist would call part of a biota. Benyus was certain that whatever the future might bring, the Bitterroot Valley would be home for the rest of her life.

Soon after her move, Benyus laced up her boots and began hiking the Bitterroot Mountains, which rim the edge of a large valley in the westernmost part of the state. In her new book, however, Benyus hopes to enlarge the scope of biomimetic innovations by emphasizing the systems-level perspective that informed Biomimicry, citing stunning new research in ecology that could inspire the design of complex human systems. So Benyus launched her canoe and began searching for cold spots. She explores some of the secrets and biological strategies nature has to offer -- and which she's made accessible on AskNature.org.TEDArchive presents previously unpublished talks from TED conferences.Enjoy this unedited talk by Janine Benyus.Filmed at TEDActive 2014.NOTE: Comments are disabled on this video. Long-term strategies replace short-term gains. In 1998, Janine co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, bringing nature’s sustainable designs to 250+ clients including Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Interface, Natura, Procter and Gamble, Levi’s, Kohler, and General Mills. During the exhaustive grind, a relationship of thirteen years had ended. The pond gave Benyus her own real-world biomimicry challenge close to home. A self-proclaimed nature nerd, Janine Benyus' concept of biomimicry has galvanized scientists, architects, designers and engineers into exploring new ways in which nature's successes can inspire humanity. Showing all 2 items. Area old-timers recalled its glory days as a hub for breeding water birds. How would nature design a healthy pond? But what if we could just be as good a contributor as all the other organisms?”. It was here, in her adopted backyard, that she would apprentice herself to the natural world, developing and field-testing some of the fundamental ideas she would lay out in her 1997 bestseller Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Benyus refers to herself as a “sticker,” a term coined by the writer Wallace Stegner to describe people who “settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.” If there’s any doubt about this claim, you only have to watch her alert blue eyes scrunch into quarter-moons of merriment or her trim, wiry frame pace the yard with excitement as she introduces me to its many occupants. If I wanted to keep the pond open to breeders and have duckweed only in the cattailed edges again, I would have to find that forgotten spring, free it, and then stop the source of silting.”. I wondered if an experience just like this one gave rise to this memorable line. When asked to suggest a more natural solution, the agent just threw up his hands. (We'd love to see this change, YouTube.)

“We knew we had to put some processes back in place,” Benyus explains, “to somehow be part of the cycle that creates conditions conducive to this being a river corridor again, even though it doesn’t look like it now because it’s all agricultural.”, So she and Merrill planted a gallery of trees, including willow and cottonwood, to jumpstart the regrowth of the riparian forest that once protected watercourses like Willoughby. She has personally introduced millions to biomimicry through two TED talks, hundreds of conference keynote presentations, and a dozen documentaries such as Biomimicry, produced by Leonardo DiCaprios Tree Media, 11th Hour, Harmony, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. The reason: the pond’s open water had filled in with duckweed. As a champion of biomimicry, Benyus has become one of the most important voices in a new wave of designers and engineers inspired by nature. translators. Jump to: Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (1) Mini Bio (1) Janine Benyus is a writer, known for The Nature of Things (1960), So Right So Smart (2009) and The 11th Hour (2007). Well, a lot, as it happens. Yet within a few years after moving in, Benyus noticed that waterfowl actively avoided it. One thing led to another, and the pond silted in, becoming a tepid bowl—perfect for duckweed but not, ironically, for ducks. Could we humans stand in the middle of these cycles and be a contributor? First published in 1997, this profound and accessible book details how science is studying natures best ideas to solve our toughest 21st-century problems. As curator Chris Anderson commented rather tiredly later, “that was the most intense day of TED I can remember, ever.” Here, a lightning round-up of some of the day’s key moments. We asked ourselves, Could we possibly have done something positive, after all the negative?”, The most definitive confirmation that they were headed in the right direction came the day that moose began to visit their land. |  Most devastating of all, though, was the death of her beloved mother.

Furthermore, could studying the dynamics of a healthy pond ecosystem help her heal the damaged one in her backyard? Don’t miss the virtual SB Leadership Summit on June 1-2! Currently at work on her second book on biomimicry, Benyus is drawing once again on her experiences in the world at her doorstep. I put one ear to the ground and felt the deep glug-glug of nearby Willoughby Creek reverberate through the bones of my skull.

“I’ve been talking a lot these days about us being net positive producers of ecosystem services,” Benyus says, “like nurturing biodiversity, nutrient cycling, water storage, and sinking carbon deep into the soils.

They’ll float among diminutive fairy shrimp, dragonflies, snails, and diving ducks as a kingfisher chirrs disapprovingly from a branch overhead. For one thing, the shoreline was fringed with grasses and willows. But she had no clue how dramatically the valley would change her life. So Benyus posed her own biomimetic question to the challenge of duckweed control. Go deeper into fascinating topics with original video series from TED. As a result of working with Janine’s team, the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer (Interface, Inc.) introduced a carpet line inspired by random pattern formation in nature. Publicity Listings

Since the 1997 publication of Biomimicry, practitioners have largely focused on one-off, organism-based innovation—for example, studying the structure of whale fins to design more efficient wind-turbine blades or finding inspiration for water-collection devices in the exosekeletons of fog-harvesting beetles. Writer at Work, Adelheid Fischer, There is all the difference in the world between looking at something and living with it. We begin to see the world whole instead of fractured. She wondered: What would nature do in these circumstances?

Watch, share and create lessons with TED-Ed, Talks from independently organized local events, Short books to feed your craving for ideas, Inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, Take part in our events: TED, TEDGlobal and more, Find and attend local, independently organized events, Recommend speakers, Audacious Projects, Fellows and more, Rules and resources to help you plan a local TEDx event, Bring TED to the non-English speaking world, Join or support innovators from around the globe, TED Conferences, past, present, and future, Details about TED's world-changing initiatives, Updates from TED and highlights from our global community, Science writer, innovation consultant, conservationist. In Biomimicry, she names an emerging discipline that emulates nature’s designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves) to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. A pile of wood chips at the base of a nearby tree betrays the recent jackhammering of a pileated woodpecker. Our planet is a “home that is ours, but not ours alone,” Benyus wrote in Biomimicry. The practice of biomimicry, she posits, “is learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs.” Her reporting covered a wide range of cutting-edge research: academic engineers who studied how a photosynthesizing leaf could inspire new solar-energy technologies, agronomists who tracked the dynamics of the tallgrass prairie as a more sustainable model for growing food, and industrial ecologists who looked to natural ecosystems for ideas on how to increase the efficiency of business practices and minimize the toxicity of manufacturing processes. Soon, Benyus says, laughing, the yellow-headed blackbirds will arrive and displace the red-wings, “like New York taxi drivers yelling, Hey, move the car.” Suddenly, she points to a solitary sandhill crane overhead, a gaunt pterodactyl-like species Benyus had never seen on the property until this spring. If the moose chose this night to step out into the field, there was enough light from the quarter-moon that, from my hiding place, I could have watched his jaws methodically working a willow branch. So what went down at TED on day two? Could businesses be designed like the forest’s underground fungal networks, which, in the process of knitting together plant roots, create allies rather than competitors, bolstering the resilience of the whole community? He cocked his head, looked down on me with one eye, then turned to get a better look with the other eye.

|  When she dredged it, up came Montana gold: a geyser of mountain snowmelt. Benyus recalls how they felt the first time a bird landed in one of these trees. Western painted turtles have hauled themselves onto flat rocks, angling the heavy cargo of their shells into the full light of the afternoon sun. Benyus asks.

Too often, she was realizing, people resort to narrow, engineered solutions—like nuking duckweed with herbicide—to problems that are far larger and systemic in nature. Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships.

Other Works When I awoke the next morning, the rustling of my sleeping bag drew the attention of a red-winged blackbird. Instead, I lay back on a cushion of soft grass, whose tall spears wove a stockade of thatch around me. Thirty dramatic canyons score the mountain range at regular intervals, as neatly as a baker’s knife divvies up a massive roll of rising dough.

We created a place where birds could look around, perhaps roost at night, or rest from the work they’re doing. “All the cats came running through the cat door. That also meant stabilizing the banks of Willoughby Creek, a small hop-across stream that trickles through the pasture. But the biggest clue came when a cottonwood leaf sailed in and out of view on the surface of the water. Could we develop actual metrics for measuring natural processes and use them as the basis for ecological performance standards that the built environment must meet? Open Translation Project. “I will take that as an endorsement,” I called up to him, laughing. For more than a quarter-century, she has lived there on an eight-acre parcel of land, with her long-time partner, Laura Merrill.


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