Photo by Jonathan Kantor for Fast Company magazine.

What would we do without TED?  Janine Benyus has an incredible presentation: “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.” The gist of her message is this:

“Organisms have figured out a way to do the things they do, while taking care of the place that’s going to take care of their offspring.”

Beautifully put, I’d say.  Here are six of the 12 sustainable design ideas that nature provides us.  You’ll have to watch her video for the other six.

  1. Self-Assembly: What we can learn from the process sea shells go through to start and stop their growth.
  2. Color Without Pigments: How a peacock changes the colors of its feathers by changing their shape.
  3. The Power of Shape: What airlines can learn from the tubercles on a whale’s fin that increase efficiency by 32 percent.
  4. C02 as a Feedstock: How to take C02 and change it into biodegradable plastics.
  5. Time Degradation: How nature automatically degrades organic things in perfect time.
  6. Quenching Thirst: Insects that draw water out of thin air.

Fast Company magazine had a great article on biomimicry in it’s October ’08 issue.