Batteries made from wood. Stone transformed into paper. Coffee turned in biochemicals to absorb odors and protect our skin from UV rays. Bioplastics and biochemicals derived from agro-waste—and processed in defunct petrochemical plants. All are elements of the bright blue economy envisioned by serial entrepreneur Gunter Pauli, who since 1994 has been gathering the science to drive practical business models that use natural systems, renewable energy and the power of intelligent conversion.
His 2010 book The Blue Economy presented a hundred real-life innovations with the potential to create a hundred million jobs within a decade and make life on our planet more sustainable. That influential volume has since been translated into over thirty languages, including Japanese. Gunter’s ZERI Foundation and its program have received numerous awards for their program that uses waste from harvesting coffee to grow mushrooms. The blue economy concepts have also been converted into fables for younger audiences—the ones who will ultimately have to survive in the world we leave behind.