The Biomimic Tree


Photo: Mark Pickthall

I unveiled my Biomimic Tree at the United Nations' summit on climate change (UNFCCC COP23) in Bonn, Germany in November 2017, to draw attention to the impact that climate change is having on rural communities in developing countries. The installation uses recycled plastic bottles to depict the fruit, birds and leaves on a tree, which only comes fully alive when water runs through it.

Sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency that is helping smallholder farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change, the installation uses recycled plastic to depict a tree which only fully comes alive when water runs through it.

“It’s certainly representative of life, even though it’s an artificial ecosystem, the thing about climate change is that the balance in nature is ever so slight tipping and changing and this tree is a constant and it won’t change and so it’s a comment on climate change in that way - but also in the sense that it is an artificial ecosystem.” - Silas.

This sculpture highlights the dependence of all living things on a functioning healthy ecosystem. The tree provides food and a home to animals and birds. It also offers shelter from wind and shade from sun, allowing crops to thrive and feed families. Trees also stop topsoil erosion in arid areas and can act as extremely effective carbon sinks.

“The biomimic tree that Silas has produced with IFAD is all about the balance of nature. What we are trying to say here at COP 23 in Bonn is that farmers needs to balance nature and they need to farm sustainably and if we do that we can help fight climate change and help farmers adapt to climate change,” said Brian Thompson, IFAD’s Environment and Climate Change Advocacy Specialist.

And the tree is having a strong impact on the people who view it. An attendee said:

“Today whatever they are negotiating, they have to negotiate thinking about how we manage our waste and how best we can be more sustainable with the rest of the resources that the earth provides. So my message to them is that action starts now, lets not waste it!”

IFAD video about the project