Sometimes the simplest and most natural ideas make the most sense. Biomimicry, as explained by biologist Janine Benyus, involves borrowing simple yet ingenious ideas from the natural world to solve urban problems. For example, Lotusan, a new paint that allows buildings to self-clean with rainwater, was inspired by lotus plants. Scientists noticed that even though lotus grows in mud, it stays clean due to the “microscopic bumps on the leaves” that “cause rain to form balls like beads of mercury” that pick up dirt as water rolls off the leaves. Another example – ‘bird-safe’ windows that incorporate UV reflective material – was inspired by spider webs. For more on biomimicry and to find out why Benyus considers Mycorrhizal fungus the most important natural substance, click here.