Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea

In 2010, Mike Chamberlain conceived and subsequently co-wrote “Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea”, an animal-centric look at how adaptations perfected over millions of years by nature can act as blueprints to inspire inventors, scientists and engineers to…

Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea

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In 2010, Mike Chamberlain conceived and subsequently co-wrote “Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea”, an animal-centric look at how adaptations perfected over millions of years by nature can act as blueprints to inspire inventors, scientists and engineers to hatch designs that are more efficient—and, in the process, tackle climate change.

Mike and the team knew from our front-end evaluation that the aquarium visitorship was (by and large) large onboard with the idea that humans were a key driver of climate change (this is 2010, mind you) but these same folks lacked any connection to the effects of climate change on the ocean. Further, their primary driver for the visit was to have a fun, social, animal-centric focus—programming needed to follow suit. Kismet struck when, on a lunch break, Mike watched Project Drawdown board member Janine Benyus deliver a Ted Talk from 2009 (in Monterey, no less) about biomimicry sent by a friend. Lightning struck—Mike realized instantly that the topic of bio-inspired design would allow for an animal-centric, inventor-driven storyline that would delight audiences eager for fun and surprising stories that connect the natural world to our built environment.

“Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea” won the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (“the Oscars of natural history filmmaking”) award for “Best Installation at a Cultural Attraction” award in 2011.

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