Greening Everything circularity: putting back more than we take out

As global Leaders attend COP27 talks few have any idea how to tackle the twin crises of cascading ‘wild weather’ events and the larger existential threats of climate breakdown that could easily follow. This series of TED talks outlines the new thinking needed to avert the worst outcomes and the refounding of meaningful democracies that must come with it.

Alan Simpson describes himself as ‘a recovering politician’. An MP for 18 years, he then worked as a consultant to Friends of the Earth and was Advisor on Sustainable Economics to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP. He would still like to save humanity from itself.

Economists have a lot to answer for. Conventional ‘growth’ models are at the heart of today’s climate crisis. In effect, their priority has been to turn carbon into capital as quickly as possible, and sod the consequences.

‘Externalities’ were someone else’s problem; except that they are now ours. A more durable (and fulfilling) economics is still possible – just – but it involves putting back more than we take out. An economics of ‘wellbeing’ must live within contracting, annual carbon budgets, in which ‘circularity’ is more important than productivity and ‘growth’ is defined more by nature than consumption.

This session will explore some of the exciting ways in which some countries and communities are attempting to do so.

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