The Blue Economy
100 Million Jobs
A Report to the Club of Rome
Taos, New Mexico ~ 2010
The Blue Economy
100 Million Jobs
Report to the Club of Rome
Copyright © 2010 Paradigm Publications
All rights reserved. Under penalty of law, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Paradigm Publications, Taos, New Mexico USA
Distributed by Redwing Book Company
Taos, New Mexico USA
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pauli, Gunter A.
The blue economy : 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs / Gunter
ISBN 978-0-912111-90-2 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Natural resources. 2. Sustainable development. I. Title.
Cover and interior design: Lesley Cox, FEEL Design Associates, www.feeldesignassociates.com
Praise for The Blue Economy
The Blue Economy describes innovations that are certain to change our habits of production and consumption. It points us in a strategic direction for sustainable development. Dr. Pauli’s new economic model gives aspiring entrepreneurs and political leaders the means to contemplate and achieve a sustainable future. They will be able to take advantage of manifold opportunities and make policy decisions that serve both economy and community.
Noemí Sanín Posada, Colombia Ambassador to Venezuela (1990-1991, Spain (2003-2007), UK (1994-1996, 2007-2009),
Colombia Minister of Communications (1983-1986), Colombia Minister of Foreign Affairs (1991-1995)
Government of Colombia Peace Negotiator
The Blue Economy is exactly the kind of tool we need to help us repair our broken economy and create a more sustainable model. The new ideas and innovative thinking compiled here give us exciting new options about how to transform our economy so that it can generate new jobs and sustain healthy, happy communities far into the future.
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green For All
Over the past 30 years as I have built up the computer industry around ACER, Dr. Pauli has introduced me to many creative ideas, especially through his Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives (ZERI) organization. He has devoted himself for decades to theoretical development as well as practical application of zero emission concepts. The ideas he puts forth in The Blue Economy represent a sustainable and competitive business framework based on innovations that offer investors and society financial, social, and environmental benefits. Such opportunities to achieve sustainability, parity, and profitability are not only inviting but tremendously compelling.
Stan Shih, Founder, ACER Computers
Chairman, IDSoft Capital Venture Fund
Gunter Pauli masterfully elucidates examples from nature that can help us solve our sustainability problems. There are refreshing and competitive options to artificial chemical and technological fixes and their unintended toxic consequences.
Yvon Chouinard, Owner, Patagonia, Inc.
Nature holds all our solutions. Gunter Pauli is a visionary entrepreneur who is able to help us create a Blue Economy based on respecting the Earth’s ecosystems and humankind. His book is destined to be the bible of this new economy, meant for all of us who are working to build a better world.
Christian Courtin-Clarins, Chairman, Clarins (France)
Our current economic crisis is also a crisis of ethics and values which has led to the enrichment of a few and the disempowerment of many. The Blue Economy advocates for a new economy, one led by innovation and creativity to cultivate the next generation of social entrepreneurship. We are in need of such an economy and no one is better placed than Gunter Pauli to offer this to the world.
Wendy Luhabe, Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
Chair, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa
Fifteen years ago Gunter Pauli came to my Tokyo office where I was serving as Rector of the United Nations University. He explained his concept of “Zero Emissions” and I immediately hired him as my Special Advisor. In a very short time, the Zero Emissions concept was thoroughly disseminated in Japan and other countries. Private Japanese companies quickly began to invest in technologies and facilities to implement, in practical terms, that original concept.
Gunter’s new work, The Blue Economy, presents excellent innovative ideas with practical applications that will help entrepreneurs and consumers to significantly impact the economies of the world, while earning money, generating jobs, and protecting the environment. In envisioning the future, Gunter continues to be an optimist. I am one too. As you read The Blue Economy, you will be introduced to these ideas and their concrete applications. Don’t miss it and recommend it to your friends.
Professor Heitor Gurgulino de Souza,
Rector, UN University, Tokyo, Japan (1987-1997)
Secretary General, IAUP (International Association of University Presidents).
Brasilia, DF Brazil
Ultimately, our civilization will survive if we are able to emulate nature. The Blue Economy illumines the way.
Lester R. Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute
Author, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Though I know too little of ecology, the rich ideas and inspirations set forth in The Blue Economy are worthy of our greatest attention.
Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate
The Blue Economy shows us that by securing materials and aligning production schemes as nature does, many problems of environmental degradation and pollution would disappear. However, economic policy and core business models largely ignore integrated solutions. Future economic models would do well to take into account the strategic advantage of a portfolio of innovations based on nature and physics. That will be a tall order, but Gunter Pauli´s book, with its rich presentation of how nature and economy can and must collaborate, convincingly shows the way.
Anders Wijkman, Member,
Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences
European Parliament (1999-2009)
The Blue Economy is an exceptional vision of what is truly possible in the context of a sustainable economy. Gunter Pauli has worked tirelessly for many years to put substance to the promise of a Blue Economy. His book is the fascinating result of true dedication to unlocking the potential for sustainability that is universally practiced in Nature’s ecosystems. As investments managers we always seek great, unique ideas that can make money while solving the world’s greatest challenges. I would urge anyone who is interested in going beyond shallow notions of sustainable business to read this book and be inspired by the real opportunity we now have to create a truly enduring and sustainable economic system based on Nature’s profound wisdom.
Colin M. le Duc, Partner,
Generation Investment Management LLP (London)
Gunter Pauli is an inspired and visionary entrepreneur. He is the kind of business leader and educator the world needs. His concepts and ideas for creating sustainable business and social enterprises are based on a deep understanding of ecosystems. This book belongs in the library of every university, business school, and entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in the world today.
Hazel Henderson, Author, Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy
President, Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil)
The Blue Economy describes in a clear and inspiring manner a systems approach that models Nature and provides a way forward. For anyone who wants to profit from the economic opportunities concomitant with 21st century changes, Gunter Pauli explains how to restructure economies and reshape societies.
Harvey Stone, President, Open Circle Innovations
Gunter Pauli has formulated an entrepreneurial business model that can respond to basic needs, build social capital, and achieve sustainability. His current economic development work with READ in Bhutan is focused on introducing a portfolio of the innovations described in this book as tools to improve the National Happiness Index and foster environmental and social entrepreneurship. Given the mission of the Social Venture Network, his message in The Blue Economy is certain to resonate with a growing community of business and social leaders.
Omer L. Rains, Chairman, Rural Education & Development (READ) Global
Director, Marshall Plan Venture Capital Fund
Member, Social Venture Network (SVN)
Gunter Pauli has carefully gathered many concepts that can achieve harmony with nature, wealth for entrepreneurs, and opportunities for food and livelihood security for all. The Blue Economy is important reading for all entrepreneurs who embrace environmental awareness and celebrate human evolution.
Paul Mahal, Co-founder, CoroCare
Hawai’i is moving to revitalize the ‘Ãina (the land and the ocean) using the principles of prosperity from the ahupua’a model. These principles originate from the indigenous culture, aligning with the ancient systems of the Earth and the values and spirit of Aloha and Pono. The innovations described in The Blue Economy honor this spirit. Aloha ke Akua, e mÃlama kakou.
Mark McGuffie, Managing Director,
Japan was among the first to support Gunter Pauli’s early work with zero emissions. I am certain that the innovative approaches he describes in The Blue Economy will give the entire world a powerful engine for a new kind of economy.
Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa, M.D.
Special Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan (2006-2008)
President, Science Council of Japan (2003-2006)
The Blue Economy fosters our transition from a product-based economy to a system-based economy. Such a cultural leap requires all of us to see – and move beyond – the connections that have gone into an oblivious core business strategy subject to market tyranny.
Dr. Catia Bastioli, President, Novamont SpA (Italia)
European Innovator of the Year (2007)
As a species we have evolved in interdependence, formulating the tools for brilliant co-existence. The novel ideas and breathtaking concepts presented in The Blue Economy resonate with our deepest knowing. We are led to recognize that Nature devises systems perfectly suited to continuance. The model of cascading energy and nutrients from one kingdom of nature to the next offers us a necessary paradigm that allows us to envision our place in nature’s congruence.
Amy McConnell Franklin, Ph.D, M.Ed., M.P.H.
Emotional Intelligence Education Consultant and Lecturer;
Author, Choose to Change
In The Blue Economy Gunter Pauli exposes readers to a brilliant compendium of innovations that hold the potential to intertwine profitability with sustainability. He shows us how business, science, civil society, and community can partner and profit in meeting the needs of all. This work will energize entrepreneurs to meet the challenge set by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “Let us choose to unite the power of the markets with the authority of universal ideals. Let us choose to reconcile the creative forces of private entrepreneurship with the needs of the disadvantaged and the requirements of future generations.”
Frederick C. Dubee
Professor, World Peace Academy, University of Basel
Senior Advisor, United Nations Global Compact, China Network
Executive Director, International Global Management Education Institute
The Blue Economy holds a special place on my desk – front and center. In my 30 years of working for a sustainable future, it is rare to come across a book with such a high level of both intellectual rigor AND joyful wonder. I consider both essential. Gunter Pauli’s insights and extraordinary breadth of solution-oriented scenarios can make your head spin and your heart beat fast. As a student of systems thinking and design, the 100 innovations described fill me with a sense of hope and thrill me with the possibilities for a future I’ll be happy to leave to upcoming generations.
Kris Holstrom, Regional Sustainability Coordinator, The New Community Coalition
Colorado organic farmer
The Blue Economy reveals, through the eyes of an economist, a panoply of
technological innovations based in nature. It shows us that environmental sustainability and company profitability are far from mutually exclusive.
Andrew Parker, PhD, Research Leader, London Natural History Museum & Green Templeton College, Oxford University; Blue Economy Innovator
From the GREEN (initiative)
Jump into THE BLUE (economy)
Your RED (balance sheet) becomes BLACK (wealth)!
With the true dynamic of GAIA (naturally . . .)
Tomoyo Nonaka, Chairwoman, Gaia Initiatve
CEO, Sanyo Electric Group (Japan) (2005-2008)
The Blue Economy i
10 Years i
100 Innovations i
100 Million Jobs i
The Blue Economy iii
10 Years iii
100 Innovations iii
100 Million Jobs iii
Chapter one 1
Timeless Resources for the Challenges of Our Times 1
Physics and Practicality 1
Wasting Away 3
How to Welcome Waste 6
Achieving Abundance 9
chapter two 12
Emulating Ecosystems for a Blue Economy 12
Plenitude From paucity 14
Food Security in Africa 18
An Island Afloat a Dream 20
Progressive Pueblo Solutions 23
Bagasse, a Sweet Solution 25
Urban Whole Systems 26
chapter three 28
Nature’s Resource Efficiency 28
Structure and Flow 29
Termites, the Masters of Flow 30
A Stripe of a Different Color 33
A Desert of Plenty 34
Collecting Water by Attraction and Repulsion 35
Sophisticated Sticking 36
Vortexes as Viable Bactericides 37
Natural Ways to Avoid Fire and Flame 40
Unlocking Solutions to the Challenges of Sustainability 42
chapter four 46
Leading the Way for Market Leaders 46
Oak from Seed 47
New Possibilities, New Perspectives 48
Getting Out of the Box 51
Management Principle 1:
Core Business Defined by Core Competence 52
Management Principle 2: Supply Chain Management 55
Management Principle 3: Outsourcing 57
Management Principle 4: Cash Flow as King 58
Management Principle 5: Crowding Out 59
The Downside of the Upside 61
So Many Solutions, So Little Time 61
From 20 Thousand to 100 Million 64
chapter five 66
Nature’s MBA (Mastery of Brilliant Adaptations) 66
Empowering Entrepreneurs 69
Three Levels of Sustainability 73
One Innovation, Multiple Revenues 74
Cascading Resources in a Community 76
Real Opportunities, Real Solutions 77
Chapter six 80
Cascading Models, Multiple Cash Flows 80
The Buzz about Coffee 84
Pulp to Livelihood 89
From Waste to Superfood 93
Chapter Seven 98
Spinning a Silken Tale 98
Topsoil on the Cutting Edge 99
Silk for Carbon Capture 102
The Geometry of Silk 103
A Close Shave 106
Smooth as Silk 108
Biocompatible Medical Uses 109
Chapter eight 112
From the Mighty
Only a Heartbeat Away 113
Energy from Whales 114
Healthy, Battery-Free Electrical Current 117
Health Data Online 119
A Cooler Way to Cool 122
(Did You Hear?) The Furor over Furanones 124
Miraculous Maggots 129
Painless Injections 134
Gasless Propulsion 136
Bundling Innovations 138
Biodiversity and Health 139
Chapter nine 142
A Rainbow of Possibilities
Remaking Coloration and Cosmetics 142
Light Perception 144
Ultraviolet: Light Humans Do Not See 145
The Evolution of Color and Perception 147
Color Pigmentation as Commodity 149
Waste for One, Resource for Another 152
The Biorefinery of the Future 155
chapter ten 158
Energy Options 158
Rethinking Demand-Side Energy Policies 161
Unlocking New Energy Options 164
Electricity from pH 166
Electricity from Temperature Differential 166
Electricity from Gravity and Pressure 168
Energy from Movement (Kinetic Energy) 171
CO2 as a Source of Energy 172
chapter eleven 180
Mines as Platforms of Healing 180
How to Restore Errors of the Past 181
Binding the Wound to Heal 184
A Method for Methane Capture 185
Converting water from cost to revenue 187
Electrifying Savings 189
Power from Airflows 190
Energy Generation from Temperature and Pressure 190
Environmental remediation 191
Chelating Complex Ores 193
Mines as Biorefineries 195
Financial Engineering 197
chapter twelve 198
Buildings Designed by Flows 198
Creating an Ecosystem of the Domicile 199
The Seven Flows of Building Design and Living Space 201
The Thoroughly Modern Nursery 204
The Flow of Air and Light 206
Insect Insights Relative to Humidity 208
A Living Filter 209
Fungi in the Basement 210
The Challenge of Triple Glazing 212
The Flow of Water 212
The Heat Island Effect 218
The Flow of Sound 219
The Flow of Energy 220
The Flows of People and Matter 223
Schools as Sustainability Classrooms 224
Housing for All 225
All Flows Considered 229
50 Technologies Inspired by Nature Integrated into Building Design 231
chapter thirteen 232
a Blue Economy 232
Opting Out of a Dead End 233
A Curiously Winding Path 234
Epilogue: Realizing a Dream 242
Success in California 245
Coffee, Invasive Species, and Local Biodiversity 247
Overcoming an Unjust Boycott 248
From ZERI to 100 250
A Table of 100 Innovations Inspired by Nature 254
Appendix 2 263
100 Innovations Inspiring Competitive Business Models 263
Cascading Materials, Nutrients,
and Energy like Ecosystems 264
Substituting something with nothing 274
Platform Technologies Accelerating Sustainability 288
Extraordinary food for thought 297
Bibliography and References 301
Books and Journals 301
Other Works by Gunter Pauli 304
ADDITIONAL Information 306
The ideas you are about to encounter are among the most tantalizing prospects for realizing a low carbon, resource-efficient, and competitive economy in the 21st century. It is remarkable that some of the greatest opportunities for jobs will come from replicating the waste free efficiency of ecosystems. The natural world, in all its splendor and diversity, has already solved many of the sustainability challenges humanity faces in ingenious, unexpected, and even counterintuitive ways. If humans could only unravel the fascinating chemistry, processes, structures, and designs that organisms – from bacteria and mollusks to reptiles and mammals – have evolved and tested over millennia, perhaps then we would have new and transformational solutions to the many challenges faced by a planet of six billion people, rising to over nine billion by 2050.
Gunter Pauli’s book, The Blue Economy, opens the door to this fresh, forward-looking field. The pioneering advances it profiles will quickly persuade business and government leaders to explore and develop the cutting-edge sciences at the foundation of these new developments. It highlights the innovative work of many, including Emile Ishida (Japan), Wilhelm Barthlott (Germany), Andrew Parker (UK), Joanna Aizenberg (Russia/USA), Jorge Alberto Vieira Costa (Brazil), and other front-line scientists who refuse to accept either the conventional wisdom or the status quo. In featuring their work, The Blue Economy demonstrates that we can find ways of utilizing physics, chemistry, and biology with renewable materials and sustainable practices just as ecosystems do. This is no longer the realm of science-fiction; it is actually happening here and now. With appropriate policies to support research and development, with promotional strategies delivered through market mechanisms, these materials and methods offer abundant opportunities for accelerating adaptation to pressing global issues.
In turn, widespread adoption of the framework proposed in The Blue Economy can provide a solid rationale for implementing the agenda of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the missions of organizations like UNEP and IUCN. Currently, species are being lost at an unprecedented rate. Many scientists believe that the world is now undergoing the sixth wave of extinctions, primarily caused by economic models and human behavior that undervalue the contributions of species, habitats, and ecosystems to our lives and the planet’s life support systems.
These species within ecosystems underpin our mega-trillion dollar economy by providing essential services at the local, regional, and global level. Many ecosystem species and processes hold clues for potentially significant achievements in the production of medicine, food crops, biofuels, and low-energy materials. These could prove to be essential for societal measures to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Such achievements will certainly be needed to catalyze new sustainable businesses and industries to provide decent, sustainable jobs. For the 100 innovations it describes,