10-10: A day full of inspiration
About Ralien Bekkers, UN Youth representative of Sustainability, and the Blue Economy
October 21, 2013
Recently, I went to two events on 10-10, the day of sustainability in the Netherlands: one at the ministry of foreign affairs and the other at Bright Future Lab in Rotterdam. The first, at the ministry, was about youth and the UN where Ralien Bekkers, UN youth represensentitive for sustainability and climate change, spoke about her experiences and views. The other event was about the Blue Economy, an idea of Gunther Pauli. So what was said during those meetings I share here, to inspire and activate you to do more.
Ralien Bekkers talked about her experiences in the UN climate change and sustainability negotiations. How hard and rigid they are, while being young, full of energy, and full of ideals. But doing nothing is no option. She spoke vividly and enthousiastically about her job. Job... no.. it's more than that. She is on a mission! When do we stop talking and start acting? Is her basic message.
In Rotterdam the Bright Future Lab organized an evening full of inspiring examples and talks. Several enthousiastic entrepeneurs presented their cases in relation to the Blue Economy. The Blue Economy is an economy of more: making more out of wastematerials. Then comes the famous example of using coffeewaste as a fertilizer for mushrooms. That's why the boys of Rotterzwam presented their case: they are producing mushrooms in an old swimming pool, with coffee waste as fertilzier. Then there were two other examples of Metabolic: presented by inspiring young women. The first examples was an indoor polydome urban agriculture where symbiotic agriculture systems (symbiocultuur) are used to increase food output, reduce environmental impact, and connects the physical and social aspects with each other, while also creating meaningful jobs. Furthermore, a clean tech playground was presented. A project which turns old houseboats into recycled (new) homes on wasteland in Amsterdam North. Then somebody of the Water Board of the Netherlands presented the 'resource factory', delving into the how and what to do with wastewater. Using it as a resource rather than waste, for different purposes such as biogas.
Nice examples, but how does this relate to the Blue Economy? Well.. then came Gunther Pauli on the stage. An inspiring and enthousiastic man with passion for its cause. He asked critical questions to the man of the water board as well as the public. Questions like what to do with waste when directly using it for a biogas is not an option in the eyes of the Blue Economy? Well, you can use the methane, the CH4, to make carbon and hydrogen and use it for different purposes. Thereafter you can use the waste for the biogas. This means that you use the waste for more and make the most out of it.
But how is this different than the circulair and green economy? Well, the Blue Economy analyses the pieces bit by bit and aims to create more out of less. This is not only related to chemical and science, but also to the economic value. This is something which quite coresponds with the vision of LES: let's lead to more through LES(s).
Is the Blue Economy the future? Or can we maybe use different economic and sustainability models together to lead to more with less? I would argue the later, and try to experiment with the different models and learn from it. This, as to increase the effectiveness and impact, and to see what works and what not. But the overall message of this day was: dare to take risks and just do it! So don't waste any time, and certainly not any waste.