What is the Blue Economy?

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Sustainability is a popular, and somewhat overused catch phrase, often misunderstood by everyone from environmentalists to corporate sales departments. But one person with a clear vision of sustainability and how ecosystem-based designs can save resources, money and time is our friend Gunter Pauli. Gunter is a pioneer in Zero Emissions who consults internationally on environmental solutions. He’s an entrepreneur, visionary writer and member of the Club of Rome who speaks seven languages. His latest book, The Blue Economy, illustrates how in ten years just 100 innovations could create 100 million jobs, leaving popular, often expensive ‘green’ concepts in the dust. Join us to find out how common sense and interconnected solutions can turn vast amounts of waste into abundant resources while reducing pollution.

Click here for a Good Dirt Radio 5-minute eco-spot on the blue economy.

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Read the transcript below.

Welcome to Good Dirt Radio….reporting on positive solutions taking root.

Sustainability is a popular and somewhat overused catch phrase, often misunderstood by everyone from environmentalists to corporate sales departments.   But one person with a clear vision of sustainability and how ecosystem-based designs can save resources, money and time is our friend, Gunter Pauli.

Gunter is a pioneer in Zero Emissions who consults internationally on environmental solutions. He’s an entrepreneur, visionary writer and member of the Club of Rome who speaks seven languages.  His latest book, The Blue Economy, illustrates how in ten years just 100 innovations could create 100 million jobs, leaving popular, often expensive ‘green’ concepts in the dust.  He shows how common sense and interconnected solutions can turn vast amounts of waste into abundant resources while reducing pollution.   Gunter hits his target with simplicity and efficiency.

Pauli:  Sustainability is the capacity to respond to the basic needs of everyone on Earth with what we have.

Pauli says business systems modeled after principles found in ecosystems have multiple functions and benefits and the needs of every part are met. The system evolves and produces abundance with no waste.

Pauli: Gee wiz, you know, I’m having a cup of coffee but I’m only ingesting .2% of the totality of the bean 98.8% is waste.  I mean, what do I do, recycle? You know, that’s not good enough.  If we are going to be sustainable, we have to mirror the system of production and consumption that is inspired by the way nature works.  Nature doesn’t know the concept of waste.  Nature has no unemployed.  Everyone’s contributing, all the time, to the best of their abilities… what a nice principle. And going back to the cup of coffee, it means the waste from my cup of coffee generates mushrooms.  And the waste substrate, after having harvested the mushrooms gives me wonderful feed for my chickens and pigs.  And that kind of an interconnected way of thinking is what allows us to change the rules of the game.   

Pauli cites another example purifying water with ozone, as nature does, without toxic chlorine.

Pauli:  In nature, everything moves in a swirl, in a  vortex.  And those swirling movements reduce friction.  With the flowing water, you generate ozone and the ozone in the water cleanses the bacteria the way nature does it naturally.

Pauli believes a healthy world comes from a mix of imagination, reality and action, turning problems into opportunities.  He draws inspiration and insight from nature and says human systems, individual and corporate, can thrive… by emulating basic principles found in ecosystems.

Pauli: The key in our work, in our action, in our vision, is that we have to navigate between fantasy, vision and reality.   And we have to stop focusing on just the facts, the numbers and the reasons.  We have to start elaborating more on creating a very open space in our minds where things that are not even possible, cannot even be conceived, are conceivable today.   Then we have to move towards this capacity to see, with vision, where we can go with society and that translation is most of the time based on creative insights of science. And how do we get from that new vision of those forces that are all around, all the time, to that new reality which we urgently need.  

Pauli says nature makes useable methane gas from bio-waste  He says combining waste slurry from local water plants, with organic waste—such as pig or chicken manure— greatly increases the output of useable methane energy.  In this example, waste is turned into a commodity; energy and water purification costs are saved; and multiple functionality and benefits boost jobs and business.

Pauli:  We have an economic system that doesn’t see the whole.  Whoever invited this game of globalization forgot we have extremely dirt-cheap transportation.  But now that peak oil has come, I predict peak globalization.  It means for us to apply these concepts and translate them and start thinking about how we, in our communities, can make things work competitively. 

Nature’s examples can help show us how to reduce our pollution and impact on climate. For more ideas from the world of sustainability, please visit us at gooddirtradio.org.

A ‘critical mass’ of citizens applying nature’s own interconnected solutions can help alter the course of climate change.  Everyone can be part of the solution.

I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.

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1 comment for “What is the Blue Economy?

  1. January 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    At C K Polymers we love recycling and believe its great for the environment. Great points of view presented by all., thanks