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Exclusive Preview: A New Dynamic 2

Circulate is pleased to release a sneak preview of the latest book edited by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A New Dynamic 2. Effective Systems in a circular economy. The second book in the New Dynamic series, reflects on the necessity to develop a whole-system approach to re-think our economy. Over the course of 11 chapters, 18 authors, with diverse areas of expertise, share their methodologies and innovative vision to bring about regenerative systems for food, cities and industries. The authors provide numerous real life case studies illustrating the application of circular economy principles and their potential.

Get a taste of the book’s content from the extracts below. Pre-order your copy of the book by clicking here.

From the Foreword:

The world in which we live can be characterised by its extreme complexity and the exponential rate at which it evolves.

Politicians and industrialists are confronted with the necessity to act on complex systems to enable society, or their companies, to make progress in the right direction. But their decision-making process is based on an antiquated method. It uses a linear, analytical, and Cartesian approach, through which they try to simplify complexity into separate elements in order to control the relationship between cause and effect.

 The circular economy represents a path that could provide concrete solutions for the future governance of complex systems, as shown and demonstrated in this book. It explores practically important concepts including ‘regenerative design’, remanufacturing, designing ecosystem models, energy efficiency in buildings or in the food system, chaotic self-organising systems, and the millennials’ generation culture for the sharing economy.

Joël de Rosnay, Ph.D -Special Advisor to the President of Universcience, CEO of Biotics International. Author of The Macroscope.

In chapter four, biomimicry expert and founder of architecture company Exploration, Michael Pawlyn, explores the opportunities to use an ecosystems approach to design the future of industry and the city.

Case study – The Sahara Forest Project

©Sahara Project
©Sahara Project

The Sahara Forest Project is a new solution to create green jobs and ecosystem vegetation through profitable production of food, water, clean electricity and biomass in desert areas. The project was jointly initiated by Exploration Architecture in 2007 and then established as a stand-alone company. It was officially launched in 2009 and the first built version was completed in Qatar in 2012.

The starting point was a belief that it would be possible to use biomimicry to develop integrated solutions to some of the major challenges facing hot arid regions. We know that many of these areas are already suffering serious water stress and nearly all the climate models predict that this will get worse with climate change. To make matters more difficult we need to plan agriculture for a global population of over 9 billion by 2050 and in the current extractive model, we are losing substantial areas of land to desertification. Furthermore, if we are to truly address the challenge of climate change, there is an urgent need to shift from a fossil fuel economy to a solar economy. These intertwined challenges of food, water and energy security – as well as climate change and desertification – are what a number of prominent scientists have referred to as ‘a perfect storm’ of challenges to address in the near future.

Author of “Natural Capitalism”, and a world renowned speaker and thinker, Hunter Lovins’ honest and frank approach is ever-present in chapter five, where she discusses “the circular economy of soil”.

Graphic featured in A New Dynamic 2.
Graphic featured in A New Dynamic 2.

Critics of current agricultural practices call for a beyond-modern approach combining the best of traditional agriculture with the finest science to deliver abundant, sustainable food and high-quality ways of life to all the world’s people, even in a time of climate crisis. The Rodale Institute, one of the original centres of scientific research into organic agriculture, the Soil Association of the UK, the Agroecology Lab at UC Davis, and the Leopold Center at Iowa State University are only a few of the thousands of organisations around the world striving to build bio-diverse systems that can meet the needs of humanity while reintegrating into living systems’ cycles. Such agriculture takes a longer view of production, seeking not ‘to maximise yield in any optimum year, but to maximise yield over many years by decreasing the chance of crop failure in a bad year.’

——–

Shifting away from the so-called modern practices to re-focus on traditional, sustainable agricultural methods has been shown to reinvigorate communities. In 2007 the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation determined that organic agriculture would positively contribute to food security, climate mitigation, water security and quality, agrobiodiversity, nutritional adequacy, and rural development.

 These regenerative agriculture methods treat the farms as holistic systems, where the relationship between all inputs is considered. In best cases, farmers use only what is produced on site, e.g, manure from livestock as a fertiliser for crops in place of the synthetic fertiliser derived from natural gas. Such agricultural practices restore soil structure, build healthy topsoil, nurture soil microbes, and promote biological activity, all of which contributes to long-term productivity and nutritious crops. Water use is optimised and the best practices in irrigation are applied. Farm worker safety and investment in local dollars sustain farming communities. Additionally, this higher soil fertility also acts to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The final extract is from chapter six, where Rochester Institute of Technology’s professor Nabil Nasr outlines the role of remanufacturing in a circular economy.

Graphic sourced from A New Dynamic 2.
Graphic sourced from A New Dynamic 2.

Remanufacturing is often compared with recycling even though the two processes differ significantly. Recycling reduces products into raw material, which can then be used again. In contrast, remanufacturing retains the geometrical shape of the product, and is therefore able to capture both the materials and the value added (the labour, energy, and manufacturing processes) which were embodied in the original product during initial manufacturing. In many cases, the ratio of total energy required for new production compared to that required for remanufacturing is approximately 6:1.2 Research by Adler3 found that a typical reman operation (diesel engine cylinder head remanufacturing), required less energy and produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions than new production of the same component.

Recapturing (and retaining) the value-added component of a product is both environmentally and economically beneficial. Remanufacturing is often referred to as the ‘ultimate form of recycling’ because it preserves the embodied energy contained in a product. By implementing a remanufacturing strategy, disposal costs (both financial and environmental) can be avoided, the value embodied in the product can be recouped, and resources can be used more efficiently, thus helping advance the circular economy model.

Pre-order a copy of A New Dynamic 2.

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The Author

Lena Gravis

Lena Gravis

Lena manages international content at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. She writes for Circulate about French news and is responsible for the international section.
You can email Lena at lena[at]ellenmacarthurfoundation.org