At Lifescaped, we also have longer-term goals. We are working on projects that impact on renewable energy sources, such as to make more efficient wind and wave turbines and solar panels. Then, we dream of success with the ‘big cases’, emulating: the energy capture of photosynthesis, the energy-efficiency of muscles to replace motors, the waste-recycling capacity of bacteria, the ‘nano’ machines found in cells, the self-assembly processes that lead to self-repair of materials and the enzymes that reduce the energy needed for manufacturing. If we could only make things in the way they are made in nature, we would severely cut the Earth’s energy bill that has left us unsustainable.
Many of our other projects also have an environmentally supportive component. Our water management surfaces also prevent the attachment of marine life to ship hulls, and so have an anti-fouling function (preventing the mixing of environments). Pure Structural Colour will replace some pigments that are currently mined by non-ethical or non-sustainable means, and is also under test for application in rhino horns, to discourage poaching.
We are working with chemicals that have evolved in the skins of berries to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Unlike commercial sunscreens, however, these chemicals appear not to harm the small marine species that inhabit the tidal zones where sunscreens are washed off our bodies.
Then, our projects that contribute to buildings may result in a reduction of raw materials required, which, if employed commonly, would reduce the demand on the Earth’s resources. Further, our work on heat-reflective and heat-absorptive materials in buildings may result in the better use of gas and electricity.
Finally, since rainforests, arctic deserts and coral reefs contain technology that we need ourselves, then we must conserve them; the environment needs saving because it will also support us. This is our new argument for conservation. We aim to spread this message through the production of books, media activities and courses for schools and universities.