Independent Amsterdam: The Best of Dutch Art and Architecture

I first heard about Janine Benyus and Biomimicry whilst watching The 11th Hour, an environmental awareness film produced and narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio. A documentary-style feature, the film opens with a devastating photomontage of destruction, inter-sliced with commentary from leading scientists and thinkers trying to find solutions to our current state of environmental despair.

Although I found it difficult to take the narration seriously, somehow never quite able to shake the image of Leonardo and Kate quivering on the bow of the Titanic, I do of course applaud the intentions behind the film.

I originally saw it when it first came out, but rented it once again the other day, purely because I wanted to hear more about Benyus and her work in Biomimicry. More specifically, I wanted to listen to her lecture to be found under the DVD’s extras.

When scientists talk about the Goldilocks Effect, they’re talking about the factors that would make a planet a likely candidate to host life. In other words, why is there life on earth and not on other planets?

What they’re actually referring to is the distance of the earth from the sun. Almost like the porridge, it’s not to near, not too far, but just right . This perfect balance is very much akin to the harmony found in nature between organisms and systems, each one feeding off the other in a perpetual cycle of life and death. It is the existence of these mutualisms that has allowed organisms to either live, and thrive, or die. Global warming and climate change are now threatening this delicate equilibrium.

With the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, we witnessed a shift in how we conducted our lives here on earth. According to scientists, the difference lies in the change from using Current Sunlight to Ancient Sunlight. For thousands of years, the human species used Current Sunlight in order to survive. Governed by natural cycles, we operated on an early to bed, early to rise principal, much like other natural organisms. On the other hand, with the discovery of Ancient Sunlight (oil and fossil fuels), we started using non-renewable sources of energy. Suddenly, we were no longer in synch with Life’s natural rhythms.