GreenBuild 2008 – Closing Plenary

This year’s GreenBuild seemed to have had alot less ceremony.  Which, by the people I heard from, was A OK.  The two featured speakers for the closing plenary were EO Wilson and Janine Benyus.  For me they completed the theme I had heard throughout the conference.  That theme being nature and how it relates to us as humans, particularly how it relates to design and engineering solutions.

wilsonEO Wilson is an entomology scholar who is linked to the Encyclopedia of Life aka EOL.  This is an amazing resource available to all, now, for free.  EO Wilson is like the absent minded professor that you can’t get enough of.  He is brilliant and his contributions to the world are tremendous.  EOL is an amazing resource!  It boggles my mind to know that there are so many different and wondrous living things in this world.  What a powerful tool available to all of us.  Now you can leaf through these electronic pages and discover animals and plants just like you did when you were a kid leafing through the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the living room floor.  

Janine Benyus is the co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild and founder of the Biomimicry Ijanenstitute.  Her website is Ask Nature.  It is an intriguing resource for linking engineering solutions to processes found in nature.  She gave a stirring childhood story of being an explorer of her neighborhood lands, that was until the little orange flags appeared one day.  That land was turned into Phase 2 of her housing development and as a child she watched.  Seeing the natural habitats destroyed led her to create the link between nature and design that has evolved today.  The word biomimicry comes from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate.

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