The Nature-Inspired Design for Sustainable Futures Workshop was held on 2-4 September at the Strathmore Business School. The workshop was facilitated by Austrian Collaborators; Regina Rowland (Biomimicry Specialist), Ernst Kortschak (Ecologist) and Éva Berkes (Project Manager). The workshop was held as Collaboration between University of Applied Sciences Burgenland, Pinkafeld, Austria and Strathmore University. It brought together students from the Centre for Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of Information Technology, School of Finance and Applied Economics and Strathmore Law School.
Biomimicry aims to look at nature and learn from it to confront such problems and to enhance our living. It is about using nature’s wisdom to find us solutions for our current challenges. It is the answer to the question; what would nature do here? During the workshop, it occurred to me that with the method of biomimicry, we could successfully combat the desertification problem. All together, I was surprised that not many people know about biomimicry, especially in Africa, where there are so many problems that can be solved in the same way.
With this in mind, we embarked on a mission to think of the problems we face in our country for which we can obtain answers from nature. I was surprised at the problems we identified that had answers rooted in nature, particularly in our country; traffic jam, water shortage, sustainable solar power energy among many others.
‘The Green Water bank’ was one of the things about nature discussed at the Workshop
The workshop was very detailed; we had two outdoor ecology lectures interacting with nature. These yielded a lot of information; right before our own eyes were the possibilities nature offers freely.
From the workshop, we learnt that innovation from a biomimicry point of view isn’t just about the imitation of nature; it goes way far into adopting natural principles to promote a more sustainable design approach. From our interactions with nature, we were exposed to deeper patterns that compelled us to question our assumptions and see beyond what we would otherwise think of as “order” by quieting our human cleverness that, as a matter of fact, has actually lead us into the sinkhole we are in now.
By Alice Maina.
4th year student, Bachelor of Tourism Management.