Our current linear economy is focused on a take, make, use, and dispose model – and this is a big problem for the Earth’s limited resources.
Asking the really big question
What if our basic operating principle was suddenly called into question? Would we be quick to answer or try to delay addressing the question as long as possible? Or would we be somewhere in between? We live in world where the norm of taking material, making things, using things, and disposing everything we don’t use or have finished using is normal. What if we suddenly realized that this way of living is completely untenable? What can we do about it when our entire world economy is based on this idea?
The realization that our operating principles were based on flawed assumptions has been coming to the fore since the later part of twentieth century. Early pioneers such as Aldo Leopold and later Rachel Carson were the first canaries in the coalmine. Life on earth was spinning out of balance, the balance needed between consumption and regeneration, the balance of nature. Earth Day was created in 1970. Activities and movements like recycling, sustainable development, and regenerative agriculture are examples of what we’re doing to address the question and the restore balance. But is this enough?
The doughnut is the future
Economists are always coming up with models to explain ideas. To change the direction that the current economy is taking us we must change the underlying assumption about our economy. Kate Raworth has created an economic model of boundaries and foundations. Her model moves us from a take – make – use – waste economy to one that is based on the circular view that can be summarized as take – make – use – recover/remake. Applying the implications of this new model is the work of business and society. Who knew that our future work would be modeled on a doughnut?
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