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Outdoor Economy

How to Tap into the Genius of Nature and Science to Create a Sustainable Future

This was one of the most inspirational TED talks that I have watched on nature and innovation.

Michael Pawlyn starts off by pointing out that a spider can make a material stronger than Kevlar using dead flies and water at ambient temperature and a wood beetle can detect fire 10 times farther away than any device designed by man without having to be attached to any power grid burning fossil fuels.

The talk goes on to show some amazing architectural design used for the Eden Project in England that was inspired by pollen grains. When finished, the structure was lighter than the air inside of it.

A visit to the Eden project is on my bucket list.

The main points of his talk are that we can approach the journey to a more sustainable future by learning from the genius of nature that exists all around us.

We can dramatically improve our use of resources by examining ancient systems that nature has developed over eons. Nature reuses and recycles every resource with incredibly efficient use of energy.

He goes on to illustrate some examples of groups that are mimicking nature’s methods to create closed loop systems from caviar, to worms, to horse manure, to sturgeons, and back to caviar.

He touches on reversing desertification by taking notes from the Nambian fog-basking beetle. There is also a segment that shows how to use sea water for irrigation and the leftover minerals as building materials.

There is a great point made that shows the sun gives us 10,000 times more energy than is used by all forms, so our energy solutions are just a challenge of engineering .

There were no pauses, “Ums”, “hems” or “haws” in his entire talk, and unlike many talks about sustainability which tend to be all gloom and doom, this was uplifting, positive and inspiring.

I first watched it a couple of years ago. Now the number of views has several more commas.

Michael Pawlyn Genius Design


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