The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?

What exactly is biomimicry ? I think of it as a way of unlocking a whole world of super-powers for humanity. It is literally the next stage of human evolution. Leonardo DaVinci himself said, “Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.” Maybe we’ve been studying the wrong master, trying to make a living on this planet in ways that will ultimately deplete us all. That’s certainly the case with humans and honeybees . Yes, humans love honey, and the busy hum of bees in the garden is a sound that gives us peace on a warm day. But we have much more to learn from them. Find out the lessons they have to teach in today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual ! Great designers know that people feel good when they are surrounded by plants and other living things. Gardens are good for the soul. That’s ‘biophilia.’ Nature makes us happy. We love using ‘organic’ raw materials, like honey and beeswax, because they are useful and renewable, pleasing and non-toxic. They won’t sit in a landfill for the next thousand years like yesterday’s plastic. The Earth will recycle them. That’s ‘bio-utilization,’ using nature because it’s just good stuff. Our herds of goats and sheep, the crop varieties we’ve grown and selected for millennia because they taste the way we want, and even the family dog are ‘bio-assistants.’ They help us make and do the things we need. Honeybees, for instance, are not ‘wild animals,’ but domestic helpers. We have shaped their evolution to suit ourselves. Biomimicry is a little different. It only “uses” life’s ideas. It’s when you have a problem, and you ask, “how other living creatures solving it?” Instead of harvesting that creature or its by-products, you copy the idea itself and make it anew, make it human. Every plant and animal , fungus, and bacteria has a whole genome worth of time-tested, sustainable ideas to inspire us. That’s a lot of superpowers. Myself, I like bioinspiration of all kinds. John Todd ‘s ‘ Living Machines ‘, for instance, do a little of everything: biophilia, bio-utilization, bio-assistance, and biomimicry. He uses a pleasing array of living plants and bacteria (both domestic and wild) to imitate the way a natural wetland ecosystems works, filtering and treating sewage in the process. Believe it or not, a bee has to eat eight pounds of honey to make a single pound of wax to safely store her honey and larvae in. It’s an expensive proposition, and it has to be done efficiently. The ancient Greeks understood that modular hexagonal honeycomb makes the most storage possible with the least amount of material. Architects and designers are tapping this for all sorts of applications. Panelite , in New York, offers hexagonal ClearShade insulating glass. It passively regulates heat, while still letting in lots of light. The Sinosteel skyscraper in Tianjin, China uses honeycomb windows the same way. Our honeybee has other brilliant design ideas as well. For instance, her 300 degree field of vision literally gives her eyes in the back of her head. Nissan Motors is working on a laser range finder inspired by these curved, compound eyes, which will detect and avert potential collisions. German researchers are designing a honeybee-inspired wide-angle lens for aerial drones, while other researchers are using their navigation tricks to optimize GPS and tracking systems. We know that it’s physically impossible for bumblebees to fly. And yet they do, with incredible efficiency and maneuverability. So what are we missing? We aren’t completely sure, but one thing they have is the ability to zip and unzip their two-part wings for flight and landing. What if our airplanes could do that? Wouldn’t that save space on aircraft carriers and in busy airports? And when we say something is “the bees’ knees,” it’s even better than we thought. Insect joints contain ‘resilin,’ a springy protein. Turns out to be the most efficient elastic known, dramatically better than natural or synthetic rubber. With it, bees can flap their wings a thousand times a minute, and fleas can jump one hundred times their body length. An Australian government research group has mimicked this “near-perfect” rubber, creating 98% bounce back. That’s practically a perpetual-motion machine! These examples are taken from Jay Harman’s new book, The Shark’s Paintbrush: Biomimicry and how Nature is Inspiring Innovation . There are so many good ideas in nature, it boggles the mind, And that’s just the bees! There is literally an infinite world of time-tested, sustainable ideas to learn from. And if we get “buzz-y” studying them, we can unlock a whole new set of super-powers to take us into the future. + The Biomimicry Manual  An evolutionary biologist, writer, sustainability expert, and passionate biomimicry professional in the  Biomimicry 3.8 BPro certification program , Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker blogs at  BioInspired Ink  and serves as Content Developer for the  California Association of Museums ‘ Green Museums Initiative. She is working on a book about organizational transformation inspired by nature.

Original post:
The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?

Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents

March 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents

Cacti may not excite a lot of people, but in Taiwan the plant is so highly respected the island community of Penghu built the Qingwan Cactus Park to celebrate its existence. The beautiful complex was created by converting an old military complex into various greenhouses that store a staggering variety of cacti in all shapes and sizes. To protect the site and the plants for the strong winds associated with monsoon season, the project implemented a number of resilient features around the park. Located in the Qingwan district of Penghu’s Fongguei Peninsula, the site’s old military structures were built during the Japanese Colonial Era. Abandoned for years, the site became covered with cactuses and white popinac. Cacti thrive on the island’s dry, windy climate because they are resistant to drought, strong winds and high salinity in the soil. To protect the beloved cactus population , the locals decided to give the existing buildings a thorough facelift in order to create a protected area for the plants to thrive. Related: Cactus Gum Can Purify Water Cheaply and Effectively At the heart of the complex is the teak and glass dome shaped like a cactus that “glows” at night. This main building, along with the other refurbished structures, was constructed to make as little impact on the surrounding basaltic landscape as possible. A teak wood frame and basaltic masonry walls support the dome’s large prismatic windows that provide ventilation and light on the interior. The complex consists of various greenhouses and an artists village, all surrounded by a “green belt” that connects the buildings and leads out to hiking and biking paths along the coastline. Although the cactus plant is known for its ability to thrive in dry climates, a rainwater conservation basin collects rainwater for irrigation and cleaning purposes. To protect the complex and the plants from the island’s strong winds, which carry salt that interferes with plant growth, numerous landscape architecture features were implemented in the complex.  Various windbreaking earth berms, inspired by the same design used by local farmers, form a protective barrier around the site. Although the park is geared to attract more ecotourism to the area, cacti are deeply respected by the locals, who express hope that visitors will enjoy a stroll around the greenhouses as well as spend time viewing the local wildlife. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to try their cactus-centric cuisine, especially the local favorite, cactus ice cream. + Qingwan Cactus Park + CCL Architects & Planners Via Archdaily Photography via Lin Fu Ming

The rest is here: 
Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents

Wolfgang Buttress Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

June 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Wolfgang Buttress Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

First installed at the world expo last spring, the multi-award-winning Hive was disassembled at the end of the event and moved to the Kew Gardens, where it was reassembled as the UK’s first-ever rebuilt Expo pavilion. Its lattice-like design was inspired by the lifespan of the honeybee and “highlights the important role of bees and other pollinators in feeding the planet,” says Stage One. The complex structure comprises nearly 170,000 parts assembled in 32 horizontal layers with hexagonal cells for a metal honeycomb effect. Each piece was etched with a reference number to make reassembly a possibility. Related: Wolfgang Buttress-Led Team Wins Bid to Design 2015 UK Milan Expo Pavilion More than just an elaborate artwork, the Hive serves an educational purpose and guides visitors through a multi-sensory experience simulating a real beehive . An array of almost 1,000 LEDs line the Hive’s internal void and are complemented with orchestral sound recordings. Sensors that monitor activity within a real beehive at Kew control the light and sound intensity. The Hive will stay at the London gardens until the end of 2017. + Wolfgang Buttress + Stage One Via Dezeen Images via Stage One

See more here:
Wolfgang Buttress Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

INFOGRAPHIC: How to live harmoniously with bees and wasps

June 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on INFOGRAPHIC: How to live harmoniously with bees and wasps

When you spot a bee or wasp , your first instinct may be to run, but it’s important to remember that these buzzing insects are friends, not foes. While stings and nests may be a nuisance, both bees and wasps are vital to the natural world, providing us with the foods we love. As bees pollinate, wasps work to control insect populations. Check out the infographic below and learn how to befriend these black and yellow buzzing creatures. + Fix.com The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

Continued here: 
INFOGRAPHIC: How to live harmoniously with bees and wasps

First mammal species succumbs to climate change

June 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on First mammal species succumbs to climate change

Scientists from Australia’s University of Queensland and the Queensland government suspect the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent likely only found on the island of Bramble Cay, is the first species to go extinct because of climate change. The rodents were last spotted in 2009, and a thorough search in 2014 yielded not a single one. The scientists prepared a report and said the rodent’s status should be altered from ‘endangered’ to ‘extinct.’ The Bramble Cay melomys, or Melomys rubicola , was thought to live only on the tiny island of Bramble Cay, which is about 340 meters by 150 meters , or 1,115 feet by 492 feet. The Queensland government reports the size of Bramble Cay changes with the seasons, and the scientists think rising sea levels contributed to the Bramble Cay melomys’ demise. The waves destroyed much of their habitat and possibly even some of the rodents themselves. Related: Human activity will wipe out 41% of the world’s amphibians by 2200 Over the course of six nights, the scientists set up 150 mammal traps a night, and came up empty. They also ran 60 camera traps and conducted two hours of ” active daytime searches .” They also spoke with a fisherman who visits the island every year, who confirmed the rodent hadn’t been sighted since 2009. They finally concluded the Bramble Cay melomys is very likely extinct, and is possibly the first mammal species to perish because of climate change caused by humans. There might be a small hope for the species: the researchers think there could be some yet undiscovered on nearby Papua New Guinea . They think the Bramble Cay melomys could have arrived on the tiny island in the first place by floating on debris from Papua New Guinea. If that was the case, the rodents could still be there. The scientists suggested surveys of that island to search for any Bramble Cay melomys that may be lingering. Ecologist John White from Deakin University told The Guardian, “I am of absolutely no doubt we will lose species due to the increasing pressure being exerted by climate change. Species restricted to small, low lying islands, or those with very tight environmental requirements are likely to be the first to go.” Via The Guardian Images via The University of Queensland and screenshot

Read more here:
First mammal species succumbs to climate change

57 different pesticides discovered in poisoned honey bees

March 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 57 different pesticides discovered in poisoned honey bees

We know pesticides are killing bees and reaping devastating consequences for the world’s ecosystems – but pinpointing which ones are the biggest offenders has been difficult. Polish scientists recently published a new study revealing 57 pesticides  found in European honeybees . The researchers used a new method to examine a wide variety of pesticides and find out which ones are the most harmful – so that we can save our buzzing friends. Read the rest of 57 different pesticides discovered in poisoned honey bees

Read the original here: 
57 different pesticides discovered in poisoned honey bees

HOW TO: Help save the honeybees

February 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on HOW TO: Help save the honeybees

The humble honeybee needs your help. The buzzing pollinators’ population has declined significantly, which poses a threat to our food supply. To raise awareness about the problem, Sutton Seeds has created an infographic that explores different gardening techniques you can use to help the honeybees, from advice on bee-friendly plants to a DIY tutorial for a bee pot. Read the rest of HOW TO: Help save the honeybees

Read the rest here: 
HOW TO: Help save the honeybees

RuckJack is a rain-proof jacket that can be turned into a backpack on-the-go

February 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on RuckJack is a rain-proof jacket that can be turned into a backpack on-the-go

When you are on the go, the less you have to carry with you, the better. Meet RuckJack –  a jacket that can be turned into a backpack to help you streamline your life. “Whether hiking, biking , spending a day on the beach or commuting and doing your daily routine, RuckJack is designed to make things easier. It can be used to carry food and water and then wear for protection from the rain, wind and cold when weather conditions change,” said RuckJack founder Ramtin Sadeghi. Backpack or jacket? You decide. + RuckJack on Kickstarter

View post:
RuckJack is a rain-proof jacket that can be turned into a backpack on-the-go

A deadly virus is wiping out bee populations and it’s all our fault

February 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on A deadly virus is wiping out bee populations and it’s all our fault

Even though we rely extensively on bees for agriculture and other environmental services, we have helped to spread a deadly virus that kills them in droves. A recent study exposed how transporting bees has allowed Deformed Wing Virus to proliferate. Read the rest of A deadly virus is wiping out bee populations and it’s all our fault

Original post: 
A deadly virus is wiping out bee populations and it’s all our fault

This colorful Bienenhaus is a bee castle that provides sanctuary for 16 beehives

June 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on This colorful Bienenhaus is a bee castle that provides sanctuary for 16 beehives

Read the rest of This colorful Bienenhaus is a bee castle that provides sanctuary for 16 beehives Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alps , apiary , bee hives , beekeeping , bees , Bienenhaus #3 , honey , honeybees , italy , Massimiliano Dell’Olivo , small structures , wooden structure

Go here to read the rest:
This colorful Bienenhaus is a bee castle that provides sanctuary for 16 beehives

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 4826 access attempts in the last 7 days.