The backbone principle of the economy has remained unchanged for nearly a century, but this is now coming to an end. We have been accustomed to using virgin resources to make products for single use or with very short lifespans to sell to as many people as possible in the hope of maximising shortterm profits. And we have become very effective at doing this.
For those of us with our basic needs already met, more stuff isn’t really making us any happier
But now things are changing. We are realising there is a better alternative.
For a few years now, Finland has been testing economic and everyday solutions that will enable the evolution of the Nordic success story, in which we can have human wellbeing without exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity. What needs to be understood is that we are moving towards an era in which we simply cannot increase wellbeing in societies through the mass production of more and more goods. For those of us with our basic needs already met, more stuff isn’t really making us any happier: for those with the least, the pushback of the environment is making life even more difficult, and the gap is growing.
A trailblazing report commissioned by The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the European Climate Foundation shows that switching to the circular use of the four largest materials in terms of emissions – plastic, steel, cement and aluminium – is indispensable to cutting global greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Reconfiguring the future of economy through dialogue It was the combined economic and environmental benefits of the circular economy that motivated Finland to embark on its circular economy transition in 2015. The following year Finland’s Road Map to a Circular Economy was launched, a first of its kind globally.
The objective of the road map was to create a shared mindset in Finnish society on a circular economy and determine the most effective means for the transition. Hard work has been required to encourage the different actors in society to participate in implementing the biggest transformation in our economy since the development of monetary economics.
Sitra has been a kick-starter for the circular economy in Finland, but the true change will come from new ways of doing business and the practical solutions u
– collected and reclaimed Waste: like the air we breathe, it is part of life. When badly managed, it destroys habitats on land, pollutes the air, and befouls our rivers and oceans. For human populations this translates into major health issues. Avoiding excess consumption and recycling waste are therefore crucial. But what does recycling really mean? Although the term is familiar, hardly anyone can form a mental picture of what recycling actually entails. Belgian photographer Paul Bulteel takes on this task in a series of photographs of what happens when our discarded paper, metal, glass, plastic, appliances, clothing and countless other industrial byproducts and leftovers are broken down and transformed into new materials. cycle & recycle by Paul Bulteel is published by Hatje Cantz. www.hatjecantz.de www.paulbulteel.eu
Resurgence & Ecologist