Biomimicry for Enhancing Products and the Built Environment with Cynthia Fishman

We speak to Cynthia Fishman, Director and Founder of the Biomimicry Design Alliance on biomimicry, sustainability and more.


Karrah Krakovyak
Sustainability Innovator
More about Karrah Krakovyak
Highlights from this article

Seeing how nature solves a design challenge and then kind of reframing the question. You know how one goes about design? Because normally with humans as a species, we are very much focused on what the end result will be, what the actual object is. But when you're asking for nature's health, you need to reframe that question to ask what you want your design to actually do. And by switching that you can ask nature for help.

In terms of the medical field, we can look to see how mosquitoes actually draw blood from their prey and make more efficient and better shape. Needles that aren't as painful

In terms of, creating something sustainable or resilient, and these other central elements are reconnecting with the natural world. I, I feel like after COVID, who knows what the statistic is, but before COVID it was that, human spends like 90% of their lives indoors, and we're not meant to be in front of a screen hunched over either a computer or like a phone or whatever. So just reconnecting with the natural world is a huge component.

The other essential element is more of a philosophical, ethical component of trying to refocus. How humans interact with the natural world and all the other species, as well as other humans, to be more empathetic and to realize that there is an intrinsic value to all other organisms and that it's not just looking at a tree being like, wow, that's going to make some great pieces of paper.

And during undergrad, in architecture school, I write about lots of different sustainability methodologies and went to all these lectures and read books and biomimicry was one of them, but I'm just kind of one of many, and it really wasn't until 2014 that I went to a lecture at the university of Colorado, Denver by Michael Paul. who is a very famous, architect. And he kind of reminded me of like, oh yeah, this is why I wanted to be an architect and why I want to do sustainability.

In order to make, humans not only live on this planet, but it's how, how we fit into the whole ecosystem of the planet, because we're all connected. And a lot of times with our sustainability, it's very much isolated and siloed of like, I'm gonna with architecture, I'm gonna create this very sustainable building, but who cares what's happening around it.

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