Board game introduces pathways to a competitive bioeconomy using hemp & bamboo

Bioeconomy game
© Foundation for a Bioeconomy

This Monopoly alternative is designed to act as a walkthrough of the concepts of a new economically and ecologically viable "Industrial Evolution" based on a renewable bioeconomy.

To get from here, with here being a global economy based on petroleum and non-renewable resources that is literally killing us, to there, with there being a cleaner future with a livable climate and a high quality of life for all, we're going to have to make some huge changes in the way we do things.

These changes are starting to happen in some sectors, such as renewable energy, but considering how huge our total energy appetite is right now (I think the technical term is "boat-load"), it's a slow process. And that only affects the energy side of the equation, not the materials side, so even if we were to go 100% renewable energy tomorrow, our stuff, of which we are so fond of buying and using and disposing, will still be made mostly with non-renewable materials (which are often transported vast distances from production to manufacturing to retail).

In order to transition our economy from one based on nonrenewable and energy intensive resources, we'll need to make a shift to other, more eco-friendly, materials which can be grown sustainably and sourced locally. In short, we need to establish and grow a 'bioeconomy' that is both regenerative and economically viable.

That's essentially the premise of a new board game from the Foundation for a Bioeconomy, which seeks to introduce the concepts and strategies, as well as the economic factors, of a functional bioeconomy that could scale up to be a true gamechanger. The backstory for this proposed 'Industrial Evolution', as well as some illustrative examples, can be seen in a short video series (4 parts, 15 minutes total), which lays out the groundwork for a "bioeconomy founded on bamboo and hemp, built by women for all."

"We introduce a different strategy to combat resource wars, climate change, high prices, and offshore manufacturing. By replacing wood, plastics, chemicals, and steel in consumer products with bamboo, hemp, and other biomaterials we begin an Industrial Evolution. We can fix this. The solution is all around you. Simply stop buying it. Buy lower priced products made of biomaterials. Saving the world is a BONUS." - Foundation for a Bioeconomy

The Bioeconomy game, which is described as being "the Monopoly Game where EVERYONE WINS," uses a market-driven approach, with products and product licensing and supply chains and utilities (i.e. solar energy and water purification as ecological services) all put into play in creating the bioeconomy. The two main materials that are at the core of this game are industrial hemp and bamboo, neither of which has really taken off as a large-scale solution in the US, in part due to ridiculous legal restrictions on growing hemp domestically, but which have the potential to be scalable and profitable solutions for a variety of materials needs.

The game is currently in a crowdfunding phase, with backers at the $20 level receiving one copy of the game, which is made, appropriately enough, from bamboo and hemp:

The Bioeconomy game is only one element of the Foundation for Bioeconomy's work, as the organization is actually looking to implement the solutions it highlights in the game, and grow a bioeconomy by substituting biomaterials for fossil fuel-based and nonrenewable materials. To that end, the organization is asking for signatures on a petition to US manufacturers, which seeks a pledge from these companies to use biomaterials in their products and to move factories back to the US.

"Our primary focus is to return jobs to the United States. A bioeconomy is more than about renewable energy. It is also about the materials we use in the development and manufacture of consumer goods.

Factories close to fields of bamboo and hemp is our goal. It's not rocket science. It's prudent business practices. We start with the easiest products to manufacture from bamboo & industrial hemp: Food, Biochar, Pulp filler, and Fibers. As manufacturers realize a reliable domestic and international supply chain, businesses gain the incentive to return manufacturing activities to the United States."

Find out more about the Foundation for a Bioeconomy at its website.

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