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Gunter PAULI, Founder of ZERI, on ‘how the laws of physics will shape the new economy’

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I don't know why I really was invited because I left Japan a couple months ago last year when my wife became pregnant we decided we were going to have homebirth and homebirth in Japan was something that was considered a bit strange. So, we ended up in Mill Valley, the Bay Area, in California and now I'm the father of a three month old baby. Although I must say I was married in Kamakura at Tokeiji Temple, the Temple of Divorce (laughter) You kind of have to do the test while you're at it all the time and you have to keep yourself at the tip of your toes my name is Gunter… Gunter Pauli I'm a Belgian if you wonder where I come from. and, I'm one of those modern day nomads I travel the world, because I want to make a difference wherever I can and change as much as possible, as fast as possible. And I think we very often have to keep the wisdom before us …and you know this wisdom? If you give a man a fish, he will not be hungry for a day, if you teach him how to fish… "HE WILL OVERFISH" (laughter) Forget about the fact that while we were doing in the past the right way is going to bring us to the future. It is not and this is one of the biggest lessons we have as parents, we want our kids to be better and here is a picture of my little baby and my two sons we always want it to be better but that means that we have to create the space of our children can invent, develop new pathways to the future Because if we are only teaching what we know our children can only do as bad as we are doing and this is the challenge we are facing we have to go beyond it. in 1991, I launched a concept of zero emissions It's been widely advertised by a company that never paid any royalties for it. I created a company called EcoVer to demonstrate That it is possible to redesign and a product to have a very biodegradable detergent and at the same time, to create a factory that is also biodegradable The factory will be taken apart in about two years time and that's the way we planned it and every single component of the factory can be reused but here I had my hard lesson when I learned that Proctor and Gamble, Henkel, and UniLever were copying my formulas which I published anyway and had no problem for them not recognizing where the source came but then I realized that the demand for palm oil was increasing so rapidly that Indonesia decided to log about eight hundred thousand hectares and so I became responsible with the biodegradable products and a great factory that's made out of wood the biggest grass roof ever I became responsible for the destruction of the rainforest and the habitat of the orangutan and that was a hard landing I set out to create new thinking about zero emissions, zero waste connect everything together so we can never accept any more collateral damage the biggest problem that we are having is that we are so keen to have results we are so keen to have these biodegradable products that we are tolerating collateral damage all the time. and we don't want to see it we don't want to recognize it and when we see it, we turn the blind eye, like the military always do. I went out to change a lot of things amongst others the concept of bamboo. This is the largest building ever made out of bamboo It was at the World Expo in Hannover Because the biggest building material in the world is not cement one billion people live in bamboo houses one billion people and everyone who lives in a bamboo house thinks it's a symbol of poverty But I got a permit from the German construction engineering society to put up that building and as a result it became a masterpiece "Ein Meisterstück" and you know what happens for the germans? those who made the masterpiece, are masters and 41 workers who couldn't read and write, all went back home from Germany to Colombia with a diploma as masters and they are building all around the world with bamboo for the richest people, why not? My quest today is to see how can we design a new competitive model a business model based on sustainability whereby we define sustainability as the capacity to respond to the needs of all with what we have and that's the way natural systems do it all the time the past twenty years we've been doing things… that we thought were the normal way to do it but it was an economy that was based on what we did not have and so what do we have? well, first of all we have a lot of needs and since there are so many unmet needs for water, for food, for healthcare, for housing there is a growing demand, even at a time of a recession and we have the science to develop it so much of the science is available and we don't use it, it gets buried so how do we achieve a sustainable society? we achieve a sustainable society when first of all, we think positive that's what this conference is all about think positive second, learn creatively and third, if any one of you thinks this meeting is a success it is because when you go out of this meeting you do something too many meetings are talk shops too much talking, no action dream it, don't do it that's unfortunately what we hear too often so my work today, is very much focusing on doing all of this at once If I look at this beautiful Yellowstone Park, then I see no one unemployed and nothing wasted everyone in the ecosystem is always working no one is considered too old no one is considered a hadicapped everyone contributes to the best of their abilities, all the time and so I take my inspirations from this: ecosystems Because ecosystems have it It is not the genius of one species it's the perfect intertwining with the marvelous connections amongst it all that makes such a difference in the lives of all of us and that's the basis for my inspiration for the new business models nothing less, nothing more So, case number one: how do natural systems generate electricity? well, and they only use the sun there are so many uses, but what strikes me is first of all they don't use batteries, and they don't have any wiring OK Without going into details of how to do it just Google it on the internet and you will find so many ways that nature is generating electricity and we, our industry, our scientists, we don't look at it so let's look at a concrete application this is the whale The beauty of the whale is that with only, let's say 6 to 12 volts The whale will pump a thousand liters of blood with every pulse it's not bad and when here is a mechanical engineer have you looked at your pumps? 6 volts, 1000 liters, every pulse? It ain't working The whale? Eighty years of working, no maintenance needed. How do we translate this now? Well here is the concrete product The electro cardiogram that will come on the market next year will have no batteries, will have no wires you stitch it to your chest as a thin film and without batteries and without wires, it will be transmitting your EKG for 24 hours at the cost of 20 dollars no battery, no wires do you know how much money is being spent in our research institutions so that we have the better battery what about the way of looking at business saying "no battery" it's not "less toxic" there's no toxicity less toxic is like stealing less you know? Yes, Yes, Mr. Policeman, Policeman, I promise you, I will steal less from now on Please don't put me in jail, I'm stealing less only the weekends not during the week anymore, I'm a good person well, if you do that in business with toxicity if you have less toxicity they give you environmental awards they think you're heros I don't get it I don't think this is the way the future should go forward Jorge Reynolds studied for 35 years the whales and now he's putting the final touches to a new pacemaker that is no pacemaker It imitates the science of the whale into a small carbon tube that connects a part of the tissue that is working well, to a part of the tissue that is not working well and the result is that you have a pacemaker that works like a pacemaker, but no surgery, no anesthesia, no battery what about that? and instead of costing the medicare 100 thousand dollars for that single intervention it's going to cost you about 500 bucks for the rest of your life that's innovation inspired by electric systems the way everything works in nature, except us Next case How do natural systems produce polymers? let's call it "plastics" how do they do it? Well, they certainly do not use petroleum and they definitely don't do genetic modification of corn to get you polylactic acid That's a joke that is nothing to see with reality of sustainability That has to see, with the power of a company you want to see more sales of one of their major products nothing wrong with it but how do the natural systems do it? well the ants, and the bees, and the spiders, and the moths… they produce it all the time, and they use something very simple it's called amino acids well it's widely available, amino acids first appliation: medical devices the world market for biomaterials in medical devices is already 19 billion dollars growing at double-digit rates yes, also in time of crisis ain't that interesting? so you can have nerve repair, you have sutures, you have your next meniscus or your bone graft material made out of silk Silk? Yes, silk Because it is bio-compatable your cells will grow in it Hey, you don't even need stem cells now because instead of needing stem cells you graft, actually, the bone in the place where you need it and exactly that type of bone will be growing it works now the key is how can we make the best possible and the strongest silk that depends on the nano-geometry we need to manage the geometry of the silk at the nanoscale and we will be able to make it stronger than titanium well, and what's titanium all about? Well, that's all about mining Have you ever seen the process of how titanium comes from the mine into your body when you have a dental fixture? That goes through temperatures of thousands of degrees natural systems don't need it, and they're stronger now we know that the best one, is this one The spider, the golden orb spider in the Amazon forest The whole ecosystem makes it possible that that spider makes nine types of silk but, having spiders at home or in the farm is not very practical and they tend to be a bit agressive as well so, you really don't want to deal with them too much so what you do, is you look at the nano scale how the crystalline and the non-crystalline distribution of the silk is organized and you convert the Mullberry silk into the Golden Orb spider silk only doing by what? by using pressure and water now that's interesting have you ever gone to a factory where they make plastics, polymers, fibers? That's sulfuric acid, that is high temperature, that is a lot of problem The spider does it with water and pressure and can make nine different types of silk out of it That's the genius that we find and so professor Fritz Vollarath is the one who mastered it and the machines are already being manufactured in Germany This is not science fiction, this is reality today Now, I'm not happy with this Who uses that kind of thing? That's made with stainless steel, and titanium and you know what? We use it, we throw it away A hundred thousand tons of stainless steel, 10 billion units a year are thrown away because we want to have the luxury of a clean shave, and throw it away but if we master, at the three dimensional level, the silk, to such a fineness then we can make silk cut through karatin that means hair but not cut through your skin sounds like a deal? smooth as silk? wasn't it what we wanted to have? (applause) Now, what happens is that instead of having three blades look at how many blades you get when you have silk you get probably a couple hundred blades working, get that close shave, operating for you and the cost is half of the cost of titanium today, half of the cost of titanium today no metal, no petroleum, no landfill but let's go on, because that's only the beginning because you need then to produce silk and there was only 90,000 tons of silk produced in the year 2008 and guess what? If you're having silk, then you're producing 2 tons of raw silk and 18 tones of fertilizer and lets now go back in time to the Chinese, 5000 years ago When the Chinese decided to plant the Mullberry tree which is the host to the caterpillar It's actually a caterpillar, not a worm but we call it a worm so… you know… that's the way we deal with science in society When we are actually seeing that the Chinese decided that the were planting the Mullberry tree because it allowed them to regenerate topsoil The goal was not silk. Silk was the byproduct It took an empress to sit under the tree and a caterpillar drop in her cup of tea and she started pulling it out and she had 350 meters in one and said, "wow this is amazing" and the byproduct became silk The prime product was nothing more than regenerating topsoil for farming so they could feed the people So, let's do the math together If we are going to replace these hundred thousand tons of stainless steel and titanium with silk Well then we need 250,000 hectares of Mullberry trees being planted on dry soil where nothing grows and you generate 12 and a half million jobs Oh, That good? Yes, that good because once you start working in a system once you start making connections amongst all the dots it's not about titanium verses silk it's about providing food to the people generate things in the world, that's what it makes work Third case… and I'm only giving four… and they're getting shorter How do natural systems control bacteria? Well, we do it with chlorine and triclosan we kill them Now there's something we have to remember that life came from the ocean and the ocean is a soup of bacteria so if you want to kill them all, I wish you good luck. I wish you really good luck and keep on trying, it's never going to work You know who you're going to kill first? you you're going to die before they die and what you're helping is for them to mutate faster nature controls it with the laws of physics yeah, you remember all of the geometry of the silk was all about physics as well? and this is about physics also so, what we're realizing is that Curt Holmberg from Sweden he defined the mathematical model of having predictable results using the vortex and every morning, even if it is a toilet like an automatic toilet in Japan you see that little swirl and that little swirl is the vortex it increases pressure now when you have pressure, what you are doing is you are putting air out and when you have no air, you have no e-coli or salmonella or legionella because they need air in the water you took the air out then you have the chance to freeze water faster you save 15% of your energy and just on one ice ring, that is 100,000 kilowatt hours a year that you save and the only force that you use is the force of gravity now if there's something predictable that is always going to be around then it is the force of gravity I mean, it kind of is established that there is no doubt about it that gravity will keep on running for a little while longer it's not like peak oil peak oil we know has come to an end so what we are realizing is that the force of the vortex is for example used in rivers in order to put more air into the water as well you can take air out, but at the same token you can put air in and so now we can convert flue gas in CO2 into bio-diesel and probiotic food, and that's done in brazil but if you use the vortex then you have a higher critical absorption of CO2 in the water and you have an efficiency four times higher thats the way, how nature does it it's implemented The largest operating coal-fired power station in the world in Brazil, that is converting it's flue gas into bio-diesel and it is also providing spirulina for free to the local population. Isn't that nice? Spirulina for free for the local population thanks to the CO2? In a coal-fired power station? I thought the problem was big The problem is not big, the opportunity is huge and since we don't want to see the opportunities, or better said: we don't see the opportunities, because we don't connect we don't see how the system works Children are taken off malnutrition because of this Last case … How do natural systems deal with waste? Well they never send them to the landfill or the incinerators that's excluded whatever is food for one is a nutrient for someone else That's where comes the title of my foundation zero waste, zero emissions Everything always gets reused So, coffee, who likes a cup of coffee? If you drink coffee, did you know actually that from 100% of the cherry, only 0.2 percent ends up in your cup of coffee It's one of the most wasteful modern day behaviors, is that 99.8% is thrown away And don't think "I'm a tea drinker, I'm better" because you throw away 99.9% now what's the solution? We only give value to 0.2% but that means the potential is factor 500 Enormous, we can do 500 times better if we were giving value to it and the program we have installed, that's operational in Colombia in the first place since 1994 Will convert the cherry waste into shiitake mushrooms and the waste of the shiitake, is converted to feed for the pigs We produce a thousand times more protein, excuse me, amino acids for human consumption, and we don't have to do any GMO We only use the forces that natural systems have already proven functional Now, if we are able to do factor 500 in the material efficiency and then we do the same as Starbucks does that means make 3,000 times more than the farmer does by adding hot water you know, it's a pretty fantastic business model I mean all of my respect Remind us all that we think positive, we don't go into boycott modes now we don't start becoming acidic about it no, no no, we appreciate, improve and it's possible to generate 3000 times more Now, if we do that with the waste of the coffee that we generate 1.5 million times more with the second biggest traded commodity in the world after petroleum that's the opportunity we have where we design business models on the basis of ecosystems where the laws of physics are central Zimbabwe and Colombia we've done it but there are 25 million coffee farms in the world in more than 70 countries Chido Govero, orphaned at age of seven, had to survive abuse and at the age of 12 and she learned how to farm the mushrooms on the waste of the coffee and there was no more abuse and she had food security Carmenza Jaramillo eight years of scientific research to prove the numbers are right The key is today just two weeks ago We launched Chido's Blend A coffee with a blend from Zimbabwe Zimbabwe that we have boycotted because we didn't like Mugabe Of course, what happens to the orphans in the country? What happens to the people over there? And so Chido took the initiative and has trained now more than 600 orphans and with her, we are relaunching the export of coffee from Zimbabwe to America, and hopefully also to Japan because every farm that exports the coffee must train the girls at risk around the farms so that the export product, the cash crop becomes the proof that there is also food security and when there is food security, there is no abuse of these girls That's how business can work no waste, no hunger, no abuse so how many jobs can we create? well, 50 million rural jobs only on the coffee farms and 100,000 inner city jobs are viable for us now, because the Starbucks and the Peet's and the Tully's and the Doutor coffees and all of them they have all that waste that can be converted into shiitake, right in town if the entrepreneurs will wake up but then the most important question perhaps is How much food can we generate? If all of the waste of coffee only the coffee is eliminated and converted as a waste into a food through shiitake and animal feed we're generating 16 million tons of additional food in the world without needing any more land to farm it all That, is the good message I can bring to you Let's share some more today. Thank you all. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 25 minutes and 28 seconds
Country: Japan
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Producer: Virgin Earth & Ansur Pictures
Director: Andrew Malana
Views: 1,393
Posted by: tedxvideo on Dec 3, 2009

A talk given in Session 3 "How Can We Use Finite Resources To Propel Ourselves In The Future?" of TEDxTokyo 2009, held on May 22 at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

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