Guest blog by Patty Kluytmans:Let’s build a Blue Economy

Community Global challenges Sustainability

Patty Kluytmans is one of the founders of Bright Future Lab. In this guest contribution, she shares her ideas about the “Blue Economy” and offers advice on how to contribute to it. Read her guestblog below.

Bright Future Lab was founded because we were triggered by Gunther Pauli’s Blue Economy. We all feel that as human beings we’ve created impressive innovations and developed ourselves in intelligent ways. However, we’ve also created an economic system with many negative side effects, such as climate change, extinction of species, and unequal division of wealth. It is essential that we rethink our economic system and we believe a better system can be created.

Blue Economy: Inspired by nature

The Blue Economy sees nature as its teacher being that nature is a concept that has proven itself over the past 3,8 billion years. Nature turns out to be quite genius. It consists of structures in which the players are interdependent of one other; an ecosystem. Hence, the players need to cooperate to make the ecosystem as a whole stronger, which in its turn benefits all players within the ecosystem. This is a bit of a contrast with our current competition model in which, in many cases, the gain of one becomes the loss of another. In nature, waste does not exist, because waste products are used by other players within the ecosystem.

Blue Café

So, we decided, if we want to change our current system, there is work to do! To spread the word, we organize a ‘Blue Café’ regularly. At the Café, we work with groups on several Blue Economy issues. We also organize Blue Economy courses, workshops, guest lectures, and network events.

Recently we organized our first ‘systems session’ with a group of entrepreneurs. Our aim at these gatherings is to discover how entrepreneurs can strengthen one another. So we start with a focus on the waste streams. How can the waste stream(s) of one be turned into valuable input for the other? An example is RotterZwam. They recycle used coffee grounds to grow oyster mushrooms. The CO2 and warmth that the oyster mushrooms produce is used by another startup that is trying to grow algae. Another example includes this beer brewery:

Let’s make a change together

As Bright Future Lab we can help put you on a ‘different thinking track’ to gain more knowledge of the Blue Economy, biomimicry, and systems thinking. Or, we can help you start functioning as an ecosystem with other entrepreneurs in your area. We have to discover the path together. Nobody has all the answers, but together we can collaborate, learn, develop knowledge and be successful.

Do you want to know more? Contact us at brightfuturelab@gmail.com. Interested in a Blue Café? Visit the site of Bright Future Lab for more information, we will soon organize a Blue Café in The Hague so stay tuned on our Facebook page.

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Bright Future Lab: Jules Rijnierse, Patty Kluytmans, Désirée Driesenaar, and Saskia Verbunt (from left to right)