Nature is the blue economy’s greatest inspiration. Everything is available in sufficient and even copious amounts in natural ecosystems. The blue economy draws on four important learnings from nature:
Lesson 1: know and respect your limits The current economic system is the root cause of the scarcity of raw materials. In this linear system, everything always has to be done faster, cheaper and in larger quantities. By contrast, nature knows its limits. A tree never grows taller than 80 meters or it would keel over. It doesn’t strive to grow more, because it knows that this would be tantamount to ‘bankruptcy’. The blue economy does not believe in limitless green growth, but focuses on natural limits.
Lesson 2: there is no such thing as waste. There is no waste in nature. When a tree loses its leaves, this becomes valuable input for another system rather than waste. Insects rely on the leaves for nutrients and hedgehogs build cozy houses with them. The output of one system thus becomes the input of another.
Lesson 3: embrace diversity and collaboration. Thanks to evolutionary processes, the symbiosis between species, and buffer installations, nature is always prepared for the next crisis: diversity and cooperation promote resilience. In companies, this natural philosophy translates as “embrace diversity”. Cooperation becomes the new competition in the blue economy.
Lesson 4: use what is locally available. In nature, Dutch dung beetles don’t have elephant poop flown in from South Africa. They stick to Dutch cow patties, which are abundantly available. The blue economy also applies this learning. Resources that are locally available are part of the natural ecosystem. Use these and you avoid all the issues that are caused by long-distance transport, such as CO2 emissions and the disruption of local ecosystems.
BlueCity takes these learnings on board in everything it does. Nature is our blue model city’s greatest source of inspiration. The building, people, and companies in and around the building are an ecosystem, in which knowledge and goods streams are traded or exchanged. Everyone works together harmoniously. Vet&Lazy uses the rainwater that is captured on the roof to produce its beer. Kusala uses leftovers from Vet&Lazy’s beer production and coffee grounds from rotterzwam to produce soaps with the most delicious fragrances. Alga.farm uses the CO2 that is emitted during the brewing process to growing spirulina. The caterers of BlueCity events uses this spirulina to mix tasty cocktails. What about the bitterballen we serve? These are made from oyster mushrooms grown on coffee grounds, which we collect in our coffee vending machine. As you can see, many of the loops within our ecosystem are intertwined. The output of one entrepreneur can thus become a valuable raw material for another.