Story of Noah: are we back there?

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.

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AI machine to help policy makers post-Covid

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.

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Why regional authorities are the key to a circular economy

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.

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New cross-discipline study to target post-covid COP

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. 

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The Continuity Agency – a new government role post Covid

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.

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Covid-19: the disconnects exposed and good things to keep

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.

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The circular homestead

Most of the energy used in a Swedish home is for heating: 50% heating the house and 25% for warm water. Electricity need not be generated for this task.

Maybe if we start from the idea of the green, circular, sustainable home we can create a new vision for the future?

I hope the diagram stimulates your thoughts! If you’d like the Swedish version it’s here.

Here are the main elements of a circular house:

  1. Insulation: Keeps house cool in summer and warm in winter reducing heating costs, which are 50% (Sweden) of total energy use.
  2. Energy capture: the circular house collects energy from the sun, wind, earth to make it resilient to power outages and part of a smart national grid.
  3. Kitchen garden: The loop food>humanure(toilet waste)>compost> kitchen garden>food reduces the burden on municipal waste services, reduces the overshoot on planetary boundary phosphorus and nitrogen and provides resilience against food shortages. It also has better carbon capture than a lawn. Any kitchen garden is better than none, so get started today!
  4. Compost: see (3) Kitchen Garden. Composting recycles bio-nutrients on the spot.
  5. Grey water: Capturing grey water and recycling it through the garden helps ensure the essential nutrient cycles of P and N do not go into overshoot.
  6. Nutrient capture: The toilet is the place to collect phosphorous and nitrogen. There are various systems that will recycle these nutrients back into the garden, or even to local farmers.
  7. Root cellar: a place to store food that requires no energy at all. Resilient if there is an energy shortage. And you’ll need a place to put all that food you grow in the kitchen garden!
  8. Greenhouse: good to have to prolong the seasons, and grow food not possible otherwise in the climate.
  9. Rainwater capture: rainwater needs no cleaning to be used for watering the garden, washing clothes, showering etc. Recycle water directly!
  10. Long-life products: The longer an object lives, the less material burden on the earth. Repairing and upgrading is a great way to ensure once material is extracted, it stays useful as long as possible.
  11. Neighbours. No circular house is complete without being in a circular neighbourhood. Sharing instead of buying is a great way to reduce material in use.

CRAG – the continuity agency idea – and Joel Makower’s case for a climate & Covid response

Writing on Joel Makower makes a strong case for including measures to prevent climate destabilisation in the current response to Corona. Specifically, the bailouts being requested by the airlines, the fossil fuel industry and industrial agriculture should be a chance to put the economy on the right footing.

… we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever.

Joel Makower
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A proposal for the resilient economy in the adjacent possible

The Corona virus pandemic begs us to explore next steps to create a more resilent economic system.

Lessons about the economy, once hard to take in during a time of stability, suddenly become glaringly obvious as countries around the world struggle to respond to the Corona virus pandemic.

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