Connections Between the Green Economy and Biomimicry

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* BACHELOR’S THESIS: THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN GREEN ECONOMY AND BIOMIMICRY. By Jenni Koho. TURKU UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES, Sustainable Development, 2012

URL = https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/40960/Koho_Jenni.pdf

ABSTRACT

"The half of human wealth is coming from natural capital, which we are depleting with our current economic model. Economic activity of human beings consumes more biomass than the Earth can produce on a sustainable basis. The flaw of the current model is that costs and losses of destroying the Earth are absent from the prices in the marketplace.

While our current model, “brown economy” is causing negative impacts on the environment, green economy decouples resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth decreasing the harmful effects of economic activities and aiming at sustainability over the long haul.

Biomimicry is an innovation method seeking sustainable solutions for problems we humans face by imitating nature’s patterns and strategies that have formed during thousands of centuries. The method seeks to create earth-friendly products, processes, and policies that are sustainable in the long run.

The aim of the study was to show connections between green economy and biomimicry and to point out applicability of the method in greening economic activities. This study is a theoretical research based on data, which consists of literature and articles written on biomimicry and economy.

The study shows clear connections between biomimicry and green economy. Biomimicry is about innovating new technologies and green economy stresses the importance of technology transfer to developing countries. Biomimicry can be applied exactly on the same sectors of economy which have most export potential in green economy: in primary and secondary industry and in energy sector.

If green business is defined as a combination of practices and values, biomimicry fits in the picture with flying colors due to the coverage of the method. Deeply green products and technologies have markets in the future, and therefore biomimicry brings competitive advantage to companies.

Adopting biomimicry as part of sustainability practices works in both ways: either biomimicry can help making businesses greener and hence contributing to transition towards green economy or after countries start shifting towards green economy biomimicry can help businesses to do their share. On the basis of this study it can be stated that biomimicry has potential in serving as a bridge between current and future economy."

Excerpts

The Lightbulb Conspiracy

Jenny Koho:

"Planned Obsolescence dates back till 1920s when industry started to shorten the life spans of products to increase consumer demand. An influential advertisement magazine warned companies that an article that refuses to wear out is tragedy of business.

The first example of planned obsolescence is the story of light bulbs. Initially manufacturers strived for producing long life span for their light bulbs, they lasted even 2500 hours. The light bulb of Livermore fire station in California has been burning continuously since 1901. In 1924 a group of businessmen gathered together and founded the Phoebus cartel to lower the life span of the bulbs to 1000 hours to control markets and customers worldwide. In 1925 a board named 1000 hour life committee was found. It forced companies to design light bulbs with the burning time of maximum 1000 hours. If companies exceeded the burning time of their bulbs noticeably, they were fined. By the 1940s the cartel had reached its goal: 1000 hours had become the standard life span of light bulbs. If you still have some conventional light bulbs left in your closet, check out how many hours they will burn, you will be surprised."