07/2012 對話訊息:藍色經濟 | The Blue Economy


為了迎接九月份的『自然之道』研習營,本月的朝邦對話新訊息持續有機性組織的議題以生物模擬 (Biomimicry)為典範。生物模擬是一種透過模仿大自然模式,提供永續的設計來解決人類問題的做法。我們將為各位介紹一種以生物模擬為基礎的概念,同時也是一本越來越受歡迎的書籍《藍色經濟The Blue Economy 》,最開始只是一個計劃,希望找出在未來十年中可以創造一億個工作機會的一百個從大自然尋找靈感的創新想法。藍色經濟希望能夠務實地將我們的社會,從一個已經濟成長為導向的傳統商業模式,轉換成以永續發展為主軸的模式,運用「生活中需要的東西必須廉價,必需品必須是免費」的原則來滿足人類的基本需求。

從職能和經濟規模的角度思考的企業模式,切換至整合式範圍經濟結構體下的多家企業,聽起來似乎很奇怪,但是藍色經濟中就有很多有關永續發展的經濟體的範例,透過流瀉系統將一個產品的廢棄物化身為全新的能量、工作機會、食物和收入。以下為大家說明藍色經濟的重點原則:

養分和能量的流瀉 水的流瀉就如瀑布一樣,不需要外在的能源,透過地心引力而流下,也在這過程中在生物區之間輸送養分,畢竟有些被視為廢物的東西,對某些生物而言或許就是養分。養分和能量的流瀉不但可以降低或減少注入的物品(像是能量),也能降低廢棄物的處理成本。

範例:山林的殘木(會讓火焰更劇烈的小塊木材)通常都需要一些可能損壞生態的機器來取走,但是在新墨西哥州,當地政府將火災的預防措施整合到一個和大自然文化相容的系統,將這些殘木切成更小的覆蓋物,然後混入在地的菇類,鋪在砍伐木材的機械所留下的軌道上。在短短兩年的時間裡,就修了森林的林地,並培養出許多營養豐富的菇類,用來餵食給新引進的野牛。這種養分和能量的流瀉,為當地的人帶來財富,同時也有效預防森林火災。

用「沒有東西」取代「某些東西」

我們的社會非常習慣消費購買物品,也因而創造出大量的廢棄物與汙染。這些產品和產品的製程,都消耗了大量的資源,影響生活環境,留下大量的殘留毒素。永續經營的生活風格需要在思維上做出基礎的變革,杜絕不能永續發展的產品和減免消費的習慣。

範例:消費者沒有注意到,我們每年丟棄的40億顆電池,製造的過程涵蓋相當耗費能源的採礦過程,製造過程也需要進行熔煉,不但毒害生態,也會長期導致健康上的危險。廣告中的綠色電池似乎毒素較低,使用的壽命也更久,但是還是倚賴傳統的採礦機制。永續發展的思維模式就創造出可以免用電池的科技,像是透過溫差發電或聲音的發電來幫手機充電,就是其中的做法之一。

範例:用絲取代鈦鈦的製作過程當中,需要耗費大量的鎂、氯、氬,還有大量的能源,並且必須在惰性氣氛裡進行焊接才能避免感染到氧氣、氮氣和氫氣。無論是投入的能源,或是採用的稀有礦物質都是很大的質量。即使顧客願意付出代價,忽略這過程對環境的損害,可能會因為功能類似而選擇替代的方案,只要這替代的物品適合他們使用、符合製造的標準、成本較低就有可能。牛津大學動物細的教授Fritz Vollrath是一位極具創意的專業人士,對於生物相容性的聚合物有很深的認識。他曾詳細研究蜘蛛如何運用立體紡織技巧製造和回收蜘蛛絲,和團隊們一起研發出製造手術用絲質軟管和細線的器材,做為受損神經修復、醫療縫合時的管線,或製造醫療器材來修復受損軟骨與骨內組織。像天然高分子的絲也可以在特定的產品中取代鈦,只需要將桑葚葉轉換成絲,並管控紡紗的壓力,管控濕度,在一個相當合宜的溫度下就可以完成。這也讓我們很快就瞭解,要邁向永續發展的生活型態,其實並不困難。

大自然演化的路程,焦點就在於連結個體,創造出許多的網絡,讓個體可以貢獻出自己的優點,同時遵守明確的界線,透過物理學的法則,得到無盡的能量和養分。在每一個系統內,還是有非常多元的成員,像是沙漠、翠綠山脈、濕地或熱帶雨林。無論是哪一種系統,同樣的管理原則都適用。

傳統企業思維堅持唯有裁員才能增強企業的生產力,但是大自然卻有不同的想法。在危機時期,當上百萬人失業,我們面對的是上百萬個飽受挫折的年輕人,此時此刻,打造出藍色的經濟更能有所激勵。模擬這自然的系統,就如透過多元的文化來激勵創新的思維,我們也能讓當地的商機更有活力,同時培養大家的耐受力、彈性、績效。當我們看見真正永續發展的願景,我們的態度將會更堅定,也會有更多人願意出面解決關鍵性的需求,透過創意、永續發展和創業精神這三個環節,債務化身為社會資產、外在成本變成區隔市場的契機,匱乏也會變成豐富。

取自剛特‧鮑利(Gunter Pauli)著作文章《藍色經濟:在危機時刻構思出全新商業模式》。 http://www.worldacademy.org/forum/blue-economy


The Blue Economy


July’s newsletter continues on the topic of organic organizations by offering a refreshing example of biomimicry – the practice ofemulating nature to solve human problems with sustainable designs. This July we showcase a popular book and movement called The Blue Economy which began as a project to find 100 of the best nature-inspired innovations to create 100 million jobs within the next 10 years. The Blue Economy aims to pragmatically transition the conventional model of perpetual industrial growth to a model of sustainably providing for basic human needs through the principle that whatever is necessary in life should be cheap, and whatever is indispensable for life should be for free.

Shifting from a business model based on core competence and economies of scale to a framework of multiple businesses with aligned economies of scope may sound unusual but The Blue Economy is full of case studies about sustainable economies achieved through cascading systems where the waste of one product became input to another generating new flows of energy, jobs, food and revenue.
Below are a few of The Blue Economy’s main principles:

Cascading Nutrients and Energy

A cascade, like a waterfall, requires no external power; it flows with the force of gravity transporting nutrients between biological domains with the waste of one being nourishment for another. Cascading gy) and eliminating waste costs.

Example: forest “slash" (the small wood that intensifies fires) is usually removed from with machines that damage the ecology. In New Mexico however, fire prevention is integrated into a whole systems model compatible with Native culture. Slash in not burned but chipped into mulch, then mixed with local native mushrooms and spread on the tracks left by the equipment used to harvest the wood. In as little as two years, the forest floor is restored and the highly nutritious mushrooms are harvested and fed to the newly introduced bison herd; and thus cascading nutrients and energy create income while preventing forest fires.

Substituting “something” with “nothing”

Our society is heavily accustomed to consuming products that create massive waste and pollution. Both these products and their manufacturing processes have squandered limited resources and mired living environments with toxic residue. Sustainability requires a fundamental shift in our thinking to make the models of unsustainable production and consumption obsolete.

Example: Consumers do not realize that the 40 billion batteries we dump into landfills every year required energy-intensive mining and smelting in their manufacture, toxifying ecosystems and posing long term health hazards. “green” batteries are advertised as less toxic and longer lasting, but are still dependent on the old business model of mining. Sustainable thinking however has created technology that eliminates the battery altogether, such as a cellphone powered by the differential between ambient and body temperature and the pressure generated by our voice.

Example: silk as a replacement for titanium.

The production of titanium consumes large quantities of magnesium, chlorine, and argon gas as well as vast amounts of energy – and must be welded in an inert atmosphere to prevent contamination with oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen – both the energy inputs and the use of scarce and mined resources are extremely high. Yet, even customers who are prepared to pay the price and ignore the environmental damage will adopt a new product if it is compatible to their use, meets their production criteria, and costs less. Thus at the University of Oxford’s Zoology Department, Professor Fritz Vollrath is a creative resource for biocompatible polymers. By studying how spiders composed and recycled silk through three-dimensional spinning techniques, Vollrath and his group produce equipment and processes to manufacture surgical silk tubes and filaments as a conduit for nerve regeneration, medical sutures, and silk medical devices to regenerate damaged cartilage and bone tissues. The natural polymer silk as well serves as a substitute for titanium in products as varied as airplane parts and razors. If we compare a life cycle analysis of titanium with the simplicity of converting mulberry leaves to silk and controlling spinning pressure and moisture at more-or-less ambient temperature, we quickly understand how we can move towards sustainability.

The evolutionary path of nature is all about connecting, creating networks of networks, allowing everyone to contribute to the best of their abilities, while operating within clearly defined boundaries where nutrients and energy are endlessly cascaded as defined by the laws of physics. Within each of these systems, which can be as diverse as a desert, an alpine mountain range, a wetlands, or a tropical rainforest, the same management principles apply.

Traditional business thinking asserts that an increase in productivity is made possible by shedding jobs. Nature knows better. At a time of crisis, with millions out of work, and hundreds of millions of frustrated young people our opportunity to shape a Blue Economy is very encouraging. Emulating natural systems can unleash local entrepreneurship much like evolution embraced innovations through diversity while developing resilience, flexibility, and performance. Fortified with a vision of real sustainability more players will be
encouraged to respond to critical needs, linking the triangle of innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship; debt becomes social capital, external costs become opportunities to differentiate on the market, and scarcity becomes abundance.

Drawn from the article “The Blue Economy: Cultivating a New Business Model for a Time of Crisis” by Gunter Pauli. http://www.worldacademy.org/forum/blue-economy

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