Earlier this year, the Foundation established by actor and campaigner Leonardo DiCaprio announced $15 million of grants to support the work of environmental organisations around the world.

One of the recipients of this grant was the Biomimicry Institute, who this week published a 20-minute documentary in collaboration with DiCaprio and Tree Media.

The short film, narrated by Biomimicry pioneer Janine Benyus, explains how living systems have had 3.8 billion years to conduct ‘R&D’, and as such have solved many of the design challenges facing us today.

“These organisms are the consummate engineers, they’re the consummate chemists and technologists. They’ve learned how to do it in context. That’s the core idea behind biomimicry. The best ideas might not be ours. They might have already been invented.”

Benyus also elaborates on some of the core principles of biomimicry, which offer guidance for architects, engineers, chemists and designers:

  • life runs on current sunlight
  • life does its chemistry in water
  • life depends on the local expertise
  • life banks on diversity and celebrates collaboration
  • life wastes nothing and upcycles everything
  • life uses a subset of elements

The film also contains a number of working case studies around self-healing materials, water harvesting and manipulating structure to provide material characteristics.

The circular economy draws upon biomimicry as one of the key schools of thought behind the framework, which itself takes insight from the way that natural systems function. This excellent documentary is therefore essential viewing for those seeking to build on their understanding of both biomimicry and the circular economy model.

Watch Biomimicry below:

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