Biomimicry is as much a part of climatetech as oxygen is a part of carbon dioxide. When I was preparing for college in the early 2000's, we called it bio-inspired design. But it's the same concept: studying nature's design and flows for inspiration. It can be as tangible as studying the movement of a cockroach to design robots, as ethereal as designing an organizational system based on the social life of a beehive, or as embodied as a design based on atmospheric visuals. In the early 2000's, Janine Beynus published her book Biomimicry and began popularizing the concept of "Biomimicry 3.8," stating that 3.8 billion years of research and development performed by nature is available for us to learn from and design with.
In nature, there is no waste, and as we move toward a society free of waste, nature is our best teacher. Not many of us realize that our pharmaceutical drugs start with plants - there are field chemists studying plants and how animals use them to identify compounds which can then be recreated in a lab, and controlled for use by humans. The translation between nature's gifts and human creation is called biomimicry, and people working within it are called biomimics.
Bicycle-share programs are a confluence of the so-called "sharing economy," zero-emissions transportation infrastructure, and the circular economy. They aren't the sexiest form of climatetech out there, but potentially one of the most powerful. Which municipal transportation company is going to be the first to enable its riders to transfer from subways and busses to bicycles? Bikeshare also can get overshadowed by scooter-share, which is more the rage. But bikeshare is climatetech nonetheless, you hear?
"What's the difference between biodegradables and compostables?" is a question on many of our minds. Biodegradable generally means that the item can break down into its fundamental molecules and transform into a new object, under normal environmental conditions. Compostable falls into two camps, backyard compostable and industrial compostable. Industrial compostables are controversial because they commonly get put in the recycling stream, where the commoner's perspective is that they are separated and put into landfill. Are industrial compostables that end up in landfill better or worse than not making them from bio-based materials in the first place? This is a big question.
What the fundamental molecules are that so-called "biodegradables" break down into is a great question. Subscribe to The Climatetech Media Project so that you'll know when more information about biodegradables comes out. In permaculture, paths are created by using layers of corrugated cardboard and woodchips. The corrugated cardboard eventually breaks down and becomes soil, through cycles of sun and water. This is a biodegradable process. Compost is a process by which micro-organisms, fungi, water, and oxygen work together to transform plant matter into a nutrient-rich soil additive. Much more can be said on compost, but that's for a later post.
In my experience, biodigesters are generally anaerobic, or in a state where they are free of oxygen. Biodigestion is a process by which organic materials are broken down into their material mass, methane, and heat, similar to digestion and elimination of food in the body. Flatulence, defacation, and heat are experienced by all of us - this is biodigestion in the works. Anaerobic biodigestion is a viable process for breaking down large quantities of organic matter, from wood chips to milk solids, into a soil amendment, heat to produce steam, and methane to burn.
That's all for today, folks! Subscribe to the Climatetech Media Project to see where this all goes - it's a work in progress that is headed in the right direction. If you have an interest in any of these areas, please contact us and we will spotlight your company in a future post.