Biomimicry and Bio-Inspired Design
Sue Redding, Associate Professor | California College of the Arts
Over the past decade or two, various aspects of environmental awareness have begun to play an important role in undergraduate education in areas as diverse as agriculture, engineering, sociology, and urban planning.
This is not surprising given the litany of environmental problems facing our culture:
• the growing number of toxic waste facilities
• the debilitating effects of air, water, and Earth pollution
• the fact that many landfills have reached their capacities
• the growing consumer demand, especially among the young, for responsibly produced and disposed-of products
• and with more and more products being made overseas, there is a sense that we have lost control over the human or environmental consequences of manufacturing,
One metric of this escalating concern is that even the industry behemoths are taking action. IBM, for example, now has a program that will recycle unneeded computer hardware from any manufacturer for a small fee. Nike, in turn, has its Reuse-A-Shoe program that takes discarded footwear and recycles the outsoles into a rubber that is used in manufacturing new treads. On a governmental level, the environmental crisis has reached such epic proportions in Taiwan that it has banned the distribution of plastic bags and disposable tableware in restaurants, convenience stores, and fast-food restaurants.