Purchase Second Nature
Educational DVD: The educational DVD is geared for educators, organizations, community groups, and corporations. It will be available fall 2011 and consist of a biomimicry discussion guide (tailored to your specific audience) and marketing materials, including a high-resolution logo, promotional flier, and fill-in-the-blank media alert. Register to be notified when the educational DVD is available for purchase.
Individual DVD: The individual DVD is for use in your home or on your personal computer. It is available to stream online. Purchase the streamingl DVD (via Indieflix.com).
||Guy Lieberman and Matthew Rosmarin
Second Nature: The Biomimicry Evolution explores the emerging
discipline of biomimicry, the science of emulating nature's best ideas
to solve human problems. Set in the wilds of South Africa, the film
follows biologist, author, and Time magazine "Hero of the Environment"
Janine Benyus and The Biomimicry Institute team as they illustrate how organisms in the
natural world can teach us how to be more efficient and sustainable
engineers, chemists, architects, and business leaders. After 3.8 billion
years, life has discovered not only how to survive but also how to
thrive as a system. Benyus brings a deep affection and admiration for
the natural world as she guides the viewer toward a vision of a planet
in balance between continued human progress and ecosystem survival.
The first time I viewed a TED talk, it was of Janine Benyus’ presentation on biomimicry. I fell in love with both the platform of "Ideas Worth Spreading" and the content of that specific talk. I have been unable to shake the association between the two; my discovery of both TED and biomimicry became inextricably linked. It was a turning point for me – I experienced a clear vision of a technological future that was positive, seen from my perspective as a filmmaker as well as someone deeply drawn to our natural world.
Click above to view the documentary trailer. For an eight-minute version of the trailer, click here.
When Matthew Rosmarin approached me about a year later to ask if I would direct a film on biomimicry with Janine Benyus, I considered if there was a scientific explanation for providence. Janine was coming to South Africa to lead a professional’s course in biomimicry that would take place at Leshiba Wilderness, a pristine valley set high in the Soutpansberg Mountains. There, in this extraordinarily biodiverse setting, we would have time to explore biomimicry at length, including several in-depth interview sessions with Janine and her colleagues from The Biomimicry Institute, including Executive Director Bryony Schwan.
Space on the course was limited. Thirty delegates came from across the world and from myriad sectors – from architects to microbiologists, bankers to designers, engineers to oil industry changemakers. We were in a concentrated space of learning and discovery, together with some brilliant minds. All felt the same sense of urgency; if we don’t make the connection between the genius of natural processes and the blindness of today’s technology, our current materials economy is very likely going to spiral into a deadlock. And yet there was a buoyancy among the attendees and course leaders. At one point, I asked Janine why it felt that the meme could potentially spawn a spiritual tradition. She said because biomimicry was so full of hope.
Not a biological term. But it distilled things to a point. On one occasion a heated issue came up, which stirred some debate. Apparently some geneticists had spliced a spider gene with a goat gene, in order to pump silk, lots of it, through the goat’s mammaries. Everyone balked at the image. But the geneticists had referred to it as biomimicry, which had sent a fire of outrage through that world. The response from The Biomimicry Institute was clear: The intention is not to run nature as a machine, but rather to run machines like nature. To create conditions conducive to life.
We saw the film, the first documentary on biomimicry under the guidance of Janine Benyus and her team, as an opportunity to accelerate the intricate knowledge that is under our very feet. The Earth offers us chances, again and again, to emulate her brilliance in the natural designs that make up our world. To grasp that, while we humans have an astounding capacity to provide form and function to our systems, our teacher and ultimate reference surrounds us, whenever we wish to look.