A research professor at the University of Vermont, Dr. John
Todd's degrees are in agriculture, parasitology, fisheries,
and animal behavior - a useful combination of knowledge for
someone who views nature as a great warehouse for building
In 1969, Todd founded his first company
that used natural processes to clean up unnatural substances.
His "living machines" sent contaminated
wastewater through a series of tanks or floating "providers" full of
algae, plants, and small fish and animals. A few days later, these organisms
had digested most pollution out of the water.
Since that time, John Todd has used
his "living machines" to help
clean up sewage in China canals and waste from chicken and chocolate factories
in the U.S.
He's also the author of over 200 technical and popular articles
on biology and planetary stewardship and co-author of several books, including
to Living Machines (1994).
"The challenge of the 21st century is to right the wrongs of the 20th century," says
Todd. "This will require, at a minimum, a design revolution. Where do we
go to get instructions for this design revolution? I think we need to turn to
the 3.5- billion-year experiment that produced life. We need to return to the
forest, the meadow, the pond, the stream, the marsh, the desert with fresh eyes
and decode the information within these systems; we need to learn how they work
and apply this information to design."