Sustainability and Biomimicry #2

This is a series of posts made up of our course in school on sustainability and biomimicry. My class was divided into groups and each group was given an animal to design for. My group got the earthworm. Our assignment was to figure out what the earthworms need and how to give it to them.

Research

We learned a lot about the earthworm from lectures on Youtube, by reading on the wonderful website Earthworm Society of Britan and finding Darwin’s study on earthworms and we read recent studies as well.

We read about the earthworms in a macro perspective, its habitat, what condition it needs to survive and thrive, and what function it serves in the ecosystem. We also read about it from a micro perspective, how it eats and digests food, moves and digs its tunnels, reproduces and lays its eggs.

We also interviewed a professor who questioned if earthworms could be an invasive species. Because of the ice age that ended about 10 000 years ago, the non-ice-covered soils are ecosystems developed with the earthworm as a participant, and the ice-covered soils are ecosystems developed without the earthworm and so they function best without them. Earthworms might therefore be an invasive species in these parts of the world, like in Sweden for example.

From input to output

We did different brainstorming exercises with the new information we had collected. We also left our desks and met with earthworms and painted as they dig. This to approach them both intellectually and empathetically.

A kitchen bowl that grips the surface just as worms do when they move, a bus that extends itself when more passengers travel, just as worms extend themselves.
A compost system that when weighed down extends itself and so presses the excess moisture out. A compost bench, and a composTABLE. 😉

Though “Who is benefiting from this multi-species design?”. Who are we actually designing for? Who does this design affect? Who are we prioritizing and by doing so, who do we step on to get there?

Sketches

To get out of my head and into my body I decided to paint big and outdoors. To draw these lines I had to extend my legs and arms as long as I possibly could, stretch, reach, move.

Painting like the earthworm digs. Chinese ink on paper.
Home-made painting tools.
It broke but it does not matter. Keep on going.
An illustration I made of the worm’s habitat and the various types of earthworms there are.