1. Alison Chan
  2. General Discussion
  3. Wednesday, 22 April 2020
Hi everyone

It's easy to be pessimistic about our chances of creating a genuinely sustainable world. However, there are some amazing projects and movements underway which have the potential to make a huge difference.

I thought it might be fun to share some of our favourites. Maybe it's a technology, but it might also be a movement and/or framework designed to change the way that people or businesses think and act.

Hopefully, reading about these amazing projects will lift our spirits a bit. Also, it's possible that we might learn something new that could be relevant to our professional or personal goals.

I'll go first. I love the "circular economy" concept. I assume that many of the people on GreenExecutive are already familiar with the idea. In fact, some of you probably live by it. But if you're not already an expert, one of the best sources of information is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF). I'll quote a bit of information from EMF about circularity below, plus you can visit their website for more information.


Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems.

In a circular economy, economic activity builds and rebuilds overall system health.


That's my pick, what's yours?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Alison Chan

There are a lot of inspiring projects at the moment, so it's difficult to choose just one.

However, one of the things that I find very encouraging is the creation of large environmental protest movements, the most prominent being School Strike for Climate and Extinction Rebellion.

There needs to be a global revolution in the way that human made systems work. Pretty much every time there has been radical change in the past (eg. women's rights, American civil rights, gay rights, apartheid, Indian independence, the Vietnam War, the Berlin Wall, etc), there have also been large scale protest movements. Hopefully, the recent environmental protests will continue to grow and positively influence politicians, business leaders, and public opinion.

Of course COVID-19 has made it impossible to stage face-to-face protests, but these groups are already expanding their use online techniques.
  1. more than a month ago
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As mentioned by James above, we need disruptive and comprehensive change for a wide range of human systems. This will be difficult or impossible without political support. That's why I'm a fan of the Green New Deal in the US and the European Green New Deal. Both plans (especially the US) are still a long way from becoming a reality, and the devil is always in the detail. But if they succeed, it will be a huge step in the right direction.
  1. more than a month ago
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I think it's very interesting, and entirely appropriate, that the three "moonshots" listed so far are not technologies, but rather ways of influencing human behaviour and the allocation of resources. Technologies will have a very important role to play in creating a sustainable future, but we will not accomplish the necessary systemic reforms if we are unable to change the thinking and behaviour of those who create and run the systems.

I therefore think I might continue in a similar vein by adding regenerative agriculture to this list.

To quote Wikipedia:

Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. Practices include recycling as much farm waste as possible and adding composted material from sources outside the farm.

Regenerative design can also be applied to non agricultural systems. It's all about creating human made systems that can exist in harmony with natural ecosystems.
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Discussion
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OK, I'm going to stick with the trend and nominate a concept instead of a technology.

I am a big fan of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals:

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.


https://www.greenroomvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/sdgs-un-1.jpg
  1. more than a month ago
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I think I'll go out on a limb here and nominate one of the most ambitious technology-based moonshots around, namely fusion energy. It promises abundant, clean, and safe power. The catch is that we're unlikely to see commercial fusion plants before 2050 and production costs are unclear. So sadly, it's not going to replace our current energy sources anytime soon. However, it is likely to make a major contribution to our clean energy needs during the second part of this century.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Discussion
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Hello Everyone

This Kenyan company is building a solar powered machine that can make fresh water from air:

http://www.majikwater.co/
  1. more than a month ago
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I like this thread. It's full of inspiration.

Hopefully, it's OK for me to nominate another moonshot :)

I'm a big fan of Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project. Not only are they planning to remove trash from the five ocean garbage patches, they are also trying to prevent rubbish from entering the oceans via the 1,000 most polluted rivers.
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
  1. more than a month ago
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I'm a big fan of Hyperloop. Proponents says that it will provide clean, fast, and affordable transportation. If it is lives up to the hype, it will be a sustainable and superior alternative to flying for many land based routes.

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