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TED - Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature

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It is a thrill to be here at a conference that is devoted to inspire by nature, you can imagine. And I'm also thrilled to be in the foreplay section. Did you notice this section is foreplay? Because I get to talk about one of my favorite critters which is the Western Grebe. You haven't lived until you've seen these guys do their courtship dance. I was on Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park -- which is a long skinny lake with mountains upside down in it -- and my partner and I have a rowing shell, and so we were rowing, and one of this Western Grebes came along. And what they do for their courtship dance is that they go together, the two mates, They paddle faster and faster and faster until they're going so fast that they literally lift up out of the water, and they're standing upright, sort of paddling the top of the water. And one of these Grebes came along while we were rowing. So we're in a scull and we're moving really quickly, and this Grebe, I think, sort of mistaked us for a prospect, and started to run along the water next to us, in a courtship dance, for miles! We'd stop and then start, and then stop and then start. Now that ... is foreplay. OK. I almost -- I came this close to changing species, at that moment. Obviously, life can teach us something in the entertainment section. OK. Life has a lot to teach us. But what I'd like to talk about today is what life might teach us in technology and in design. What's happened since the book came out -- the book was mainly about research in biomimicry -- and what's happened since then is architects, designers, engineers, people who make our world have started to call and say, "We want a biologist to sit at the design table, to help us in real time, become inspired," or -- and this is the fun part for me -- "We want you to take us out into the natural world. We'll come with a design challenge and we find the champion adapters in the natural world who might inspire us". This is a picture from a Galapagos trip that we took with some waste water treatment engineers. They purify waste water.

Video Details

Duration: 23 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TED
Director: TED
Views: 348
Posted by: jpbagnis on Oct 12, 2008

In this inspiring talk about recent developments in biomimicry, Janine Benyus provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already influencing the products and systems we build.

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