Tag Archives: ages8-15

Biomimicry…Heard of it?

Published / by SarahE / Leave a Comment
Animal Poop: A limerick

Animals please come poop on my garden

Bear, deer, weasel, and little wren.

Go ahead! Make it your lou,

Please feel free; take a big poo-

Thanks so much for fertilizen’!

Inspired by: The Wild Robot

 

I’m not big on adventure stories. I don’t like to read about survival. Robots…ehh, I could take them or leave them, and kids’ books with: Adventure! Survival! Robots! Well, normally, I’d pass, but I love Peter Brown. His picture books are some of my favorite, so when I saw he had a chapter book out, and it was about all the things listed above I was a bit disappointed, but hopeful that his good humor would shine through and I wouldn’t notice all the boring survival, adventure, robot stuff.

(And this is for kids, but I assume if I’m entertained, kids will probably be entertained.)

I was entertained! It was good. It was a fast read. It would’ve been a great read aloud, because Peter Brown is a picture book author at heart and he knows how to write fast lyrical sentences that capture the attention of the young’uns.

The Story

So, biomimicry is this science that looks for solutions to human problems in nature. (There are TED talks about it) And I don’t know if Peter Brown intended it, or I just noticed it because I had just listened to a TED talk about it, but this story is full of biomimicry:

 

Okay, let’s go back to the beginning so this makes sense. Roz is a robot that gets stranded on a deserted island when a terrible hurricane crashes her ship. She lands on the island, and quickly learns to start adapting herself to the environment around her. She’s able to stay camouflaged for long periods of time and learns the language of the animals. She adopts a gosling and becomes its mother.

Let’s stop here… notice the melding of two worlds: nature (the island) and technology (Roz the robot). This is the pervading theme throughout Wild Robot. This is a world in the future where the seasons are harsher, storms are stronger, and some cities have gone underwater… sound like something you’ve heard of? Yeah, global warming. Also, Roz’s power comes from…the sun.

Biomimicry is a sustainable way for humans to live on the earth without destroying the earth. When Roz and the animals have a problem, they look to nature to solve it. The beavers were the most helpful animals. They helped Roz and Brightbill (gosling) build a fort on the shores of the pond, and when Roz lost a foot, they built her a new one. When Brightbill is first learning to fly, they watch other birds to mimic the best flight strategy.

This is biomimicry. This is what the science is trying to do in our world. Learn from what nature has already produced. If I were still a kid I would want to go make a fort out of mud, sticks, and rocks like the beavers. I would want to plant a garden and invite all the forest animals to poop in it. I would want to watch ants scurry about, and birds fly. This book is a great motivator! Let’s go outside! It’s interesting!

This is also a story about caring for one another, helping out, listening before we react. Roz is a great teacher, and an even better mother. She is calm and wise, and saves the island during a harsh winter. She learns emotion from her animal friends, and strives to always do the right thing.

It’s not a “lesson” book, because there’s just not a lot of conflict. This island becomes a kind of “environmental utopia”.

Peter Brown is essentially telling us: this is how you live sustainably! This is how you get along!

It was a good book. I think kids will especially like it!

Other Great Peter Brown books:

There’s more TED talks on biomimicry! Here’s a link.