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Circular Wonderings

Hi, I’m Barry. I founded HappyPorch in 2015 and I’m excited about the Circular Economy.

I believe that we (me, you, HappyPorch and society in general) need to do more than react to climate change and loss of biodiversity and all the other issues caused by our waste. Rather, we need to find ways to solve those issues AND improve life on our planet. There is a chance that, with Circular Economy approaches, we can contribute to these regenerative solutions.

Circular Wonderings is an exploration of the role of digital, software and technology in the Circular Economy. Exploration is the key word here. I write regularly, reflecting on my current thoughts and research. Expect typos, incomplete thoughts, varied rambling topics and (hopefully) a journey towards clearer understanding and insight.

This is a long and difficult journey! But it is, I think, a road worth travelling.

To join me on this journey subscribe to receive daily (yes daily!) emails. I'd love to hear your thoughts or feedback, just subscribe and reply to any email.

Archive

FLOOW2 on the BBC

Emily & I spoke to # Lieke van Kerkhoven, from FLOOW2 for the podcast last year [1]. So it is really cool to see her get featured on the BBC [2] recently. Her final quote says it all : "To me the main issue would be mindset ... the rest is practical and can be overcome."   [1]: https://happyporchradio.com/season-5-episode-3-lieke-van-kerkhoven/[2]: https://www.bbc.co.uk/new ...

What is Circular about 'digital'?

Isn't the Circular Economy all about physical products? And if so, isn't 'digital' and software engineering completely separate and just business as usual? I mean, there is the need to think about circularity of the devices we use - but as individuals and for data centres etc? The potential conclusion from this is: as businesses who do 'digital' or as software engineers, we jus ...

Recycling is a problem

Right? Not necessarily. I was reminded of this again today. As we know from the waste hierarchy [1], recycling is pretty far down our list of priorities for circularity. One of the unintended consequences could be that we miss out on the higher value loops - such as reuse. Plus there is the terrible fact that much waste collected as "recycling" is not recycled - due to contamin ...

Modularity risk

A question to ponder: does making a modular product necessitate compromising the feeling of a seamless and easy to use product? The modularity of a product has a massive impact on it's circularity. Think repairability, refurbishing, reuse, upgrading (instead of planned or lazy obsolescence) and even ease of recycling. Yet, could it be true that the products that are touted as b ...

Lets all move to Finland

"The world economy could be 10% smaller if the 2050 net-zero emissions and Paris Agreement targets on climate change are not met." This is a key conclusion from an April 2021 Swiss Re report 1. Spoiler alert: most nations are not currently on target to meet the Paris Agreement targets... Their report goes into detail of risk from climate change on a regional and country level. ...

The secret is people

"Planting a vision: why the secret to rewilding success is about people, not trees" This is the title to a recent (excellent) Guardian article about an exciting new rewilding project in Scotland [1]. This is an wonderful taster into the importance of getting people on board for the success of any large change. I think we could almost rewrite this to be about the role of technol ...

People problems/opportunities?

I have just finished recording the next episode of the podcast 1. This conversation was with the inspiring leader of Sabon Sake 2, Audrey. When the episode comes out you most go and listen to it! One thing that is a recurring theme across both this season and the previous one is the importance of mindset & culture. I started these seasons with the intention of talking about ...

API as collaboration?

In a previous #circularwandering [1] I talked about "Integration and collaboration" and how "for a successful Circular Economy we need collaboration. I said "when I think of circular collaboration from the software point of view: I think of Open Data and APIs". So: what is it about Open Data & APIs that makes me think of them in his context? My journey basically starts from ...

The Greenwashing step

Many years ago someone (... I can't remember who ... no, your memory is fading with age ...) changed my thinking on greenwashing. I now apply the same concept to circular-washing 1 too. So, when I saw "greenwashing" I mean all types of fake marketing to make a company or product seem to have sustainability or circular benefits, when it does not. The idea is that there is a jour ...