In Circular Economy There is No Way to Reach Ecological Minus

by CF Team on 14th September, 2014 at 5:21 PM CEST

"We can Survive in a Resource Depleted World" Quick Advanced Challenge came to CF platform inspired profoundly by the "Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World" book, an amazing guide for the business in our near future, and its author, Nadya Zhexembayeva, CF Vice President. Within the challenge, we invite you to submit any photo that will illustrate in all possible aspects how innovatevely we, as human race, use smartly our planetary resoruces; or how we behave towards our enviornment; how we teach the new generations of children, and also new/old generations of businesses, initiatives, schools to set more smart strategies for the values they create. The world is evolving and transforming to a new reality. It strikes at firmly establishing a new economy. Not to prolong anymore, let's see what Nadya herself has to share with you, therefor you unravel more deeply the ideas behind our quick challenge and the type of reality we are eager to document right here, right now! Challenge stays opened until end of September. The winner will get a copy from the book, signed by Nadya with special entitlement. 

CF: We find with a joy all those initiatives, products, services that highlight smart usage of resources. What are your personal favourites? Which of those have gained most popularity and have made the biggest impact?

Nadya:My favorite stories are the ones with biggest surprise. Take, for example, reCaptcha - a business idea that takes what people do anyway and makes something useful with it - good for the world, good for business. Remember all the times you were asked to type some strange-looking letters to prove that you are not a machine? Well, you did not just protect yourself while doing so - you might also just contributed to digitizing a book!  Or Puma's Clever Little Bag - something that is deceptively simple and scalable for any company that uses packaging for its products. These ideas are resourceful, beautiful, useful - and you can measure the benefit for everyone involved, whether it is business or society. It is not a compromise - rather, a more intelligent way of creating value.

CF: Just recently on August 19th, our planet has reached a tipping point and this was confirmed by the National Geographic for instance. Humanity has entered "ecological minus", meaning the human race has spent all natural resources that the planet can renew in the period of one year. This tipping point happens each year, but this year the date has reached in record time. What do you think will be the effects if we continue to chase this record in next years?

Nadya: Unlike Nature, we humans run our societies and economies in a very peculiar way. In Nature, there is no such thing as waste - everything that dies becomes food for something else, everything is connected. That is what we call a "circular economy." In such economy, there is no way to reach an "ecological minus" as every specie keeps the other specie in balance. If the wolves eat too many deers in one year, they are left hungry themselves, and their population diminishes - and their bodies are digested by small microorganisms and become part of nourishing soil. There is no waste - just a beautiful sense of balance.

That is, however, not the human economy. Our economy is linear - we mine or grow something, use it barely ones, and trash it without a single thought. Our waste is piled up in huge landfills, fills our forests, rivers, and oceans, and rarely gets to be used ever again. Recently I calculated how much of all the raw materials that are mined for production of a single desktop get wasted at the end of its use. It turns out 99.81%!!! With such levels of waste, there is no wonder we reach the tipping point - or the "ecological minus" faster and faster each year. We are running out things to mine and places to trash. And it is time for us to change.

CF: What are the few basic resources we will strive and fight to have 10 or 15 years from now?

Nadya: Every single resource that you can think of is under severe stress. Most of us here about oil and water - but every mineral, metal, and so on - as well as other precious resources, such as stable climate or peace - are running low. We have lost huge percentage of nutrients out of our food as well - one study showed that as much as 20% of all vitamin C that was in our crops just 20 years ago is no longer there. Very soon we can get to the point of having plenty of beautiful tomatoes with absolutely no nutritional value. Unless we decide to turn around and change it today - and create strong businesses and strong economies along the way!

CF: One encouraging message to CF community members, why they should enter our latest QC and document this "new reality"?

Nadya:I have said it on the last page of "Overfished Ocean Strategy" and I will say it again here: the collapse of the linear throwaway economy is not a question of if but of when. The change is coming, and the rapidly oscillating prices on everything from rice to gold are a first sign of the new reality. The question is, will you ride the high tides with mastery and purpose, or will you be swallowed by waves that are unexpected and unnoticed until it is too late? If the endless list of Overfished Ocean Strategy innovations is any indication, we should make it into the new world just fine. I am counting on seeing you there.

Nadya Zhexembayeva is a business owner, educator, and author working at the intersection of innovation, leadership, and sustainable growth. Her most recent book is Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014)

Interview done by: Stefan Alijevikj

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Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

amazing article!!!!!!
Thanx dear Stefan to arrange such a nice interview by Nadya

15th September, 2014 @ 5:56 PM CEST



Very nice :-)

15th September, 2014 @ 6:45 PM CEST

Udoka Chiefe

Udoka Chiefe | Action team

Totally enjoyed reading this. It never fails to fascinate me how we as humans waste so much and how innovative we could be when a solution is needed.

I can't wait to see who wins the Quick Challenge as a result of this book!!!

16th September, 2014 @ 1:53 PM CEST

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