Biomimicry Institute 3.8 and National Geographic Society: Restoring the Colorado River Basin
Aug 13, 2014 - Aug 15, 2014 • Missoula, Montana
The Biomimicry Institute 3.8 and the National Geographic Society are collaborating on a ‘Genius of Place’ biomimicry design challenge to help conserve and restore water to the Colorado River Basin. The design challenge will encourage participants to use biomimicry (innovation inspired by nature) to find solutions to specific water challenges that impact the Colorado and all of the communities, businesses and agricultural activities that depend on it. Participating teams will be encouraged to find local organisms in nature whose strategies, when mimicked, could create place-appropriate solutions to specific water challenges. The challenge will be open to a diversity of people representing the varied interests of those who use and depend upon the Colorado — a group that includes policy makers, businesses, ranchers, farmers, Native American communities, government regulators, scientists, engineers and various non-profit organizations.
In recent years, water levels in the Colorado have declined due to a combination of increasing drought and increasing use of the river by an ever expanding population in the American west. The water levels in the main reservoirs on the river — arguably the most managed and studied river in the world — are now at all-time lows. The Colorado provides drinking water and hydropower to as many as 30 million people, many of whom live in some of the largest cities in the country (Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas).
The design challenge will be built upon the experience that Biomimicry Institute 3.8 has had with its student design challenge of the last few years, as well as upon the experience that National Geographic has had with its own challenge grant programs.
In the past, Blackstone Ranch Institute has provided challenge grant support to Biomimicry Institute for its student design challenge, and to National Geographic Society for innovation challenges to its emerging explorers. It has provided the planning grant for this initiative.