Biomimicry is intrinsic to ecological design, and ecological design is the path to regenerative design. True ecological design encompasses both biomimickry and regenerative design, because our ecosystem is inherently biological and regenerative. The term ecological takes on a variety of meanings in common speech, however, so using the term regenerative design helps to point more specifically to our ultimate goal.
Sustainability isn't left out; it is included when we use the words regenerative or ecological design, but sustainable design we've come to realize is a benchmark too short. Sustaining our current ways will only maintain our current habits that cause massive degradation to the environment. Developing common language about our ultimate aims is critical. Ecological, like sustainability, is a bit vague in common speech, so regenerative is the more specific goal, yet it is accomplished through ecological design. We could say that ecological design is the path to regnerative design, and that biomimickry is an excellent tool to create this ecological path towards regenerative design.
Many people can barely handle the idea and requirements of meeting sustainability standards. "Sustainability” is ambiguous and can imply only sustaining our current polluting ways rather than curing them, so we need to start moving away from using the term sustainability and embrace the term “regenerative” design instead. Ecological design is a temporary appeasement and bridging-terminology, leading us towards an ultimate shift from our current world of industrial and sustainable design to a world of wholly regenerative design.
As author Janine Benyus exclaims, biomimicry is a source full of discoverable ecologically-harmonious design solutions and innovations. The calcium carbonate build-up in plumbing pipes is the same process as self-limiting seashell creation, for example, and provides a doorway to discovering how to remove calcium carbonate build-up in pipes in a regenerative way. Any regenerative design is sustainable by default but exceeds sustainment, actually regenerating and improving the ecosystem, providing a net-plus gain for the environment instead of merely "sustaining" our Earth-damaging ways. Design that honestly mimics life can function regeneratively as do the infinite number of automatically mutually-beneficial relationships occurring in our ecological system, which presently and in the past provide us life and abundance. The future is uncertain.
Paul Stammet’s mushroom possibilities are mind-bogglingly regenerative. His carpenter ant prevention that results in mushroom growth directly from within the ants is seemingly miraculous, but of course, if done on a grand scale, might kill off too many ants. Excess is not biomimicry. Proper biomimicry is balance and harmony, not excess. An asteroid storm from outer space striking the Earth, blotting out the sun and causing the death of the dinosaurs was not natural and not biomimicry. Hopefully, we won’t experience a mimicked event of such, suddenly from outer-space or suddenly erupting from the enormity of our polluting and depleting habits. If anyone understands climate change, it is the dead dinosaurs and some of their descendants alive today: turtles, sharks, crocodiles, the beloved cockroach, ginko trees, ferns, and magnolias, for example.
In reality, all of life on Earth is one big biomimicry existence except for the synthetic creations and habits of humans that, for the most part, result in poisoning the environment and ourselves. Seawater desalination plants are certainly not biomimicry. Humans have thrived for millions of years and developed vast and amazing civilizations, including extraordinary feats like flying to the moon without the help of cellphones or nuclear power. We can harness our same fantastic capabilities to apply biomimicry to our human-made products and environmental relationships to live abundantly and in good health in a world economy and lifestyle that is wholly regenerative.