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Making Room For the Community Based Circular Economy

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Presentation delivered virtually at the 1st Global Commons Forum, Seoul, South Korea, 2 October 2019 - see comments for complete slide notes

Published in: Economy & Finance
  • Slide 1 One way of understanding the commons is that it’s not only the market economy or the government that can deliver what citizens need – citizens themselves can do it. Slide 2 In every city around the world, it is possible to create a map like this where every pin represents active citizens contributing to initiatives that build and enhance the commons. Slide 3 They might be gifting surplus food, like the Grow Free cart movement that began in Adelaide…
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  • Slide 4 …or sharing tools, like the Brisbane Tool Library, which now has a space inside the State Library of Queensland. But what about a productive commons, as distinct from a sharing or redistributive commons? Slide 5 One of the key policy concerns for government now is the circular economy – how to make the best use of resources and keep them circulating in the economy as long as possible. Another key concern is how to rapidly bring down carbon emissions to avoid further destabilising our Earth’s climate.
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  • Slide 6 Yet our ways of producing and delivering what people need is creating exactly the opposite. Estimates at the time of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit found that 75% of the natural resources harvested and mined from the Earth are shipped, trucked, railroaded and flown to the 2.5% of the Earth’s surface that is metropolitan, where 80% of those resources are converted into ‘waste’. We’re moving an awful lot of material around unnecessarily, and wasting a lot of the material that does arrive for us as end-consumers of supply chains that are out of sight, out of mind and usually outside our ability to change or influence.
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  • Slide 7 Materials and carbon are intricately linked, with shipping by sea projected to be responsible for 17% of global emissions by 2050 if not addressed. Aviation is projected to be 22% of global emissions by 2050, meaning ships and planes will account for almost 40% of global emissions, if left unchecked (source: www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/569964/IPOL_STU(2015)569964_EN.pdf). Our current projections about carbon and climate may be an underestimate, as both shipping and aviation are excluded from international climate change negotiations due to the difficulty of allocating emissions to one country.
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  • Slide 8 If we are serious about re-engineering our linear take-make-waste economy into a circular economy, we need to be making locally, and providing spaces where anyone can learn and maintain relevant skills to effectively participate in such activity. A circular economy requires a local production capacity, otherwise it remains a bury, burn or bale-and-export linear economy. If you are not making locally, you don’t have a circular economy.
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Making Room For the Community Based Circular Economy

  1. 1. Making Room for the Community Based Circular Economy Sharon Ede 1st Global Commons Forum, Seoul October 2019
  2. 2. complete the circle!
  3. 3. if you are not making locally, you don’t have a circular economy local production completes the circle
  4. 4. creating a circular economy requires an industrial-scale response
  5. 5. but this can be complemented by a community-based response and associated physical infrastructure
  6. 6. GLOBAL = LIGHT economy of BITS - ‘light’ things (data, information, shared/open source design) travel LOCAL = HEAVY economy of ATOMS – ‘heavy’ things (atoms, physical production, manufacturing) stays local
  7. 7. • repair and reuse - these spaces also provide opportunities for fix-it clinics/repair cafes • reducing resource consumption - through sharing access to equipment and tools • avoiding consumption — digital fabrication techniques enable more precision in the use of materials, creating less waste that needs to be salvaged in the first place. Design to order, customisation, and production in small batches also avoids the wasteful over-production aspects of existing manufacturing. The Productive Commons: Circular Economy Benefits
  8. 8. • lack of funding for access to space and equipment (typically rent) • expectations they will be ‘self sustaining’ • meeting regulatory requirements (eg. noise, use of certain equipment, insurance, planning/zoning) which are unlikely to have been formulated with such spaces in mind The Productive Commons: Barriers 예 그러나
  9. 9. Government can play a ‘partner state’ role in enabling and supporting citizen initiatives that help establish a local productive commons by assisting with: - rent, or access to space - revenue, or how the commons infrastructure is supported ongoingly (tailoring grants/incentive programs), business development/marketing support - regulation, to help the space establish and address any noise, safety, traffic issues The Partner State and the Productive Commons
  10. 10. MY BIG QUESTION Where is the reverse ‘value capture’ mechanism for commoners? How can they access some of the value they create for the city and society in order to fund their operations, and pay people for their work?
  11. 11. Design Global, Manufacture Local = relocalising production in cities a productive commons can help cities meet carbon, waste/circular economy and social policy goals

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