Reimagining the Future: The Biomimetic Economy

Authors: Ryan Church, Ksenia Benifand and Nihal Ahmed

Growing global population and a rising middle-class (three billion globally by 2030 – Ellen MacArthur Foundation)are putting a strain on the environment and depleting the world’s stock of biophysical resources. The dominant economic system behaves as a linear system and based on the rapid use, disposal, and replacement of goods (Benyus, 1997). The global capitalist economic system has poorly prepared to deal with unexpected events such as climate change and its impacts. To deal with global impending and complex issues, we propose a renewed model of an economic system that closely integrates Biomimicry principles.

Biomimicry is the study of how nature’s systems and processes function to solve the problems of survival. Nature’s dynamics are then applied human innovation (Benyus, 1997). The environmental technologies and societal innovations we need are often already present the core of nature’s design since nature has, through evolution, already found the most energy-efficient solution for many problems. Biomimicry therefore promises to be a cogent design tool for the near future (Passino, 2004).

Our GIGAmap, Reimagining the Future: The Biomimetic Economy, isan exploration of the nature of economic systems in relation to ecological systems – resilience, optimization, adaptability, systems based, value based and life supporting – through the design principals of biomimicry. Through our research, we created a learning tool that allows users interested in developing healthy economies and sustainable business practices to follow and learn from the principles of diversification; import shifting, succession; the three-horizon framework, biodiversity; multiple feedback loops and symbiosis; the sharing economy. In addition, we describe the creation of a new framework, titled the shared futures infinity loop (SFI Loop), which posits to replace the panarchy (Holling, 2001) as the model for sustainable economic progression to create a more sustainable world.

Presentation & paper

Posted: Sep-2014

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