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Aftermath of Irene and Lee and Nature’s Answers

As we head into this New Year, let us reflect on the impact our activites have on our local surroundings, in our own neighborhoods and communities. We were recently made keenly aware of the devestation and havoc that could be wreaked on our local watershed, the Chesapeake, from two recent major storms.

As Rabbi Nina Cardin explains in her blog from September 16 and 21, 2011 (http://blog.bjen.org/):

While we are basking in lovely fall weather, the Bay is taking a beating. Courtesy of our recent storms.

Click here to see the total matter suspended in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays (before and after the storm comparisons).

And here to see plume of sediment and debris that was churned up and is still roiling in the Chesapeake Bay.

Reclamation of flood plains, increased permeable surfaces (which can absorb water on site), more trees and rain gardens, all can reduce storms' impacts when they come.

Not only that, they increase property value, decrease the need to repair, and are a treat for the eyes and spirit.

Janine Benyus is widely known for her pioneering work promoting biomimicry, that is, answering our technological needs by mimicking nature's ways.

Nowadays, industry makes things by "heating, beating and treating." Which may get the job done but often leaves destructive residues, gobbles up enormous amounts of financial and energy resources and only gets us half-way there.

Nature, on the other hand, has been field-testing the best ways to build things, dissolve things, grow things, arrest growth, and altogether thrive in the most efficient and enduring ways.

If we can conduct our industry in ways that are cheaper, enduring and better, why wouldn't we?
That is the promise of biomimicry.

As Benyus says, "Learning about the natural world is one thing, learning from the natural world… that's the switch."

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