Linear vs. Circular — What does it Mean?
We have designed a linear, extractive economy: we take resources, make them into products, use them, and discard them. The focus is not on making things durable, but on selling more and more cheap stuff. There is little regard or consequence for the true costs of consumption. This continual consumption is a key contributor to the climate crisis. We need another way to live on this planet: taking our cues from the natural world where there is no waste.
In a recent “NY Times” climate event addressing climate change, Dame Ellen MacArthur said that 45% of carbon emissions are related to products and land use, and the top 5 contributors are: steel, aluminum, concrete, plastics, and food.
“A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.”
She asks us to consider: “What are we designing for?” saying that we need to define where we want to get to — a net zero carbon future and a zero waste future — and design for that. It is a big shift that can make a BIG difference.
What can YOU do?
- Go to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and other websites to learn more about the idea of a circular economy and how we can make this important shift.
- Be mindful of your own resource use.
- Rather than buying something, have access to it.
- Buy things second-hand.
- Watch “The Story of Stuff” at storyofstuff.org.
This is the last of this series. Thanks to the Edey Foundation for their support. For more information on this topic, visit islandclimateaction.org/climate-action.