Treehugger Welcomes Writer Timothy McGee

It was 1998 in the Atherton Tablelands, in Queensland Australia where I first realized the immense problems facing humanity this century - actually it was 1998 everywhere at that moment, come to think of it. I was studying rain forest ecology, and learning about how to think in systems.

At the time I didn't have an answer to how we would move away from a society fueled by oil. How would we create all of the goods we depend on? How would our economies continue to innovate and prosper?

Over the last ten years, I have found that most of the answers are sitting right in front of us, if we just learn how to ask the right questions. The life that surrounded me in the rain forest that day collected energy, filtered water, cultivated soil, increased the abundance of life itself, and was able to tolerate changing circumstances through time - obviously life can teach us a lot about how to create sustainable technology.

I found myself drawn to understand how life works, and asked how life makes materials. That path brought me to the University of California, Santa Barbara's BioMolecular Science and Engineering Program where I glimpsed how life builds from the bottom up. The 'materials technology' inherent in every abalone or blue mussel illustrated how much we can learn from nature. It also pointed out the sharp contrast between what biologists know, and what manufacturing knows, about how to create sustainable materials. I decided that had to change.

My current work is focused around closing the gap, both as a writer for TreeHugger and as a Biologist at the Design Table with the Biomimicry Guild, where I try to create the bridges that give people access to 3.8 billions years of R&D.; I currently live in Western Massachusetts, and hail from the great Pacific Northwest.


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