In order to change something you need to see how it is from the start. We identify 21 vital flows in the system representing economic transactions and relationships to natural capital. The three main types of flow are:
Material flows, for example minerals, products, waste
Flows of money representing economic transactions
Work – selling of citizens’ time to firms and authorities
Understanding that as a species humans cannot go on as we were, 140 experts, academics and volunteers across the world are coming together to engage with policy agenda of the G20, COP26, EU and UK Government. The group will provide post-COVID19 stimulus policies that are socially fair; stimulate economic growth; and accelerate our transformation to a sustainable planet.
Worryingly, the outlook as we emerge from the restrictions is bleak. If we are to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 and have any hope of limiting the rise in global average temperatures to a level that will not cause a societal catastrophe, we have to achieve 15% of reduction in carbon emissions *every year*.
The EU from its perspective, and likewise many of its member countries with their own efforts, are backing the idea of the circular economy. The urgency of a looming materials shortage is getting a lot of policy makers into thinking materials should circulate rather than be used up. More bang for fewer materials is the idea. The strategy is to use all available means to educate, goad, tax, regulate and otherwise “nudge” companies into going circular. At the center of this is the idea of a circular business model.
This is not really about the Bible story of Noah, but it takes the story as its starting point. I can’t help but think that in old stories there are nuggets of wisdom that get lost as the story gets told and re-told by different people. The thing that got my attention in the Noah story was that before the flood came, the earth was corrupt. Apologies in advance to those who take the Old Testament as absolute truth.
The behavior of complex systems such as the global environment, economy,and society are notoriously difficult to predict, especially when relying solely upon human cognition. Experts always see things from their perspective and can rarely factor in the whole picture. One organisation is looking to by-pass this human cognitive bias with AI. International AI firm SparkBeyond has set itself the task of saving the world by proposing ways forward post-Covid. Spark Beyond’s ideation Machine integrates the world’s largest collection of algorithms, and bypasses human cognitive bias to produce millions of hypotheses in minutes. It expands the scope of unique insights by auto-augmenting data with a rich network of data sources, including – but not limited to – news sources, scientific research, patents, and clinical trials, as well as geographic, census and financial data.
A circular economy is vastly different from a linear economy. When it comes to the resources that drive the economy, a linear economy is extractive whereas the circular economy is regenerative of its material source. The current way we run our economy is using resources up at an ever-expanding rate. Before resource shortages overturn the economy we need to transition to the circular use of materials. But how do we get to the circular model? This article takes a high-level systems analysis approach to explore possible pathways, and hones in on the role of local authorities.
New research, using existing models, data, and studies will analyse, through a systems approach, what beneficial socio-economic changes may be under various scenarios that have emerged during Covid, applicable from December 2020 right up to 2050 and beyond. Further, it will assess whether it is possible, through policy changes, financial and other investments, to leverage these changes in pursuit of reducing the risks of climate change and of future pandemics. The proposed focus will be global, locations and regions chosen by stakeholders. The results should support and may encourage the development of similar initiatives worldwide.
Corona has exposed many weaknesses, including our lack of health care system capability. It has also opened up some possibilities for permanent changes for example as people start to appreciate the reduction in noise, how the air is better, etc.
Covid has shown us that we are all in this together. It is as a whole we can progress, to quote the Sustanable Development Goals , no one left behind. The current system is fundamentally flawed at a basic level because its very construction leaves people behind and obfuscates how people – including the organisations we have created -really are in this all together.
Three overwhelming global disasters are facing us – climate change, the Coronavirus pandemic, and unknown, transformative socio- economic changes in the Coronavirus aftermath. Some of these socio-economic changes, like the reduction in air travel, if sustained, will have positive effects in support of climate change mitigation and adaptation.