As a gardener, I’ve learned that my purposeful action does not always yield a definitive result.

I may walk into the kitchen on this August afternoon, holding a firm red tomato in my hand, delighted by my harvest. I’m proud of this tomato as if I created its aroma, smooth skin and the juices within. But I know that what I really did was create the conditions last spring to support a healthy seed – miniscule, yet packed with possibility – so the seed could, if all went well, become something delicious.

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As we walked in a fog-moistened forest on the side of Mount Tam, Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry – Innovation Inspired by Nature, was excitedly showing me the elegant connectedness of the whole system – an interwoven living network of organisms that she calls “the wood-wide web.”

We were talking about using biomimicry for social innovation. Janine is both seer and sage of a growing movement that looks into nature’s 3.8 billion years of evolutionary intelligence as guidance for solving our own sustainability challenges. She said, with the humble confidence that comes from a deep relationship with the natural world, “We are looking for a coherent vision of a world that works, and a practical pathway to get there. It’s all around us…”

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Pioneering a Harmonious Future

My last post on biomimicry talked about the importance of sacredness as a biomimetic practice. This post will focus on the power of applying biomimicry to social innovation, or the work we do that leverages relationships, communication, and behavior change in diverse professional settings.

For the last six days, I participated in a Biomimicry Thinking for Social Innovation Immersion Workshop at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, led by intrepid instructors Toby Herzlich and Dayna Baumeister. This first-of-its-kind workshop is part of a movement called Biomimicry for Social Innovation; the goal is to shape human communication, cooperation, and action in ways that mimic nature to create conditions conducive to life.

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