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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

Impressive in the 1930s

I loved this share from @splattne. "In 1930 the Indiana Bell building was rotated 90°. Over a month, the structure was moved 15 inch/hr, all while 600 employees still worked there. There was no interruption to gas, heat, electricity, water, sewage, or the telephone service they provided. No one inside felt it move." [1] Image from 'An Incredible Move: The Indiana Bell Telephon ...

Impossible challenges

In 2016 Greece was forced to find accommodation for 50,000 refugees trapped in the country. The winter had been harsh. Almost half were children. In 2018 I met John Sloan one of the founders of a charity called Refugee Support. John told us the story of how he started the charity [1]. He was in Greece in 2016 looking for a way to help. He described how he stood outside the gate ...

Fast Transformation is Slow

Transformation is needed in order to tackle massive, complex problems. Problems like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Problems like these in complex, open systems do not have one clear path to solutions. A great many different things must happen and that includes fundamental change to parts of the system. The specifics of many of those changes are not clear. Com ...

Circular Logistics?

'Reverse logistics' is a cornerstone of the transition to a Circular Economy. "Reverse logistics is the process of moving products backward through the supply chain. In other words, reverse logistics involves taking products back from customers and reworking those products (or parts of them) to create a new product that can be sold." 1 The economic case for reverse logistics is ...

Clipper & Reverse Logistics

Most logistical processes in our economy are optimised for one way flow of materials and products. The goal is to get as high a quantity as possible from it's 'raw materials' form into the hands of a 'consumer'. To make this linear economy work we are making two major assumptions. The first is that the flow of a particular material or product can be treated as a closed system. ...

Industrial Ecology?

One of the key concepts (and precursors) to the Circular Economy is Industrial Ecology. Industrial ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems [1]. A dictionary definition of "ecology" is "the relationship of living things to their environment and to each other". At first glance the juxtaposition of the "industrial" part might seem incongruous. ...

Too early for Christmas?

OK, it's March. Christmas is unlikely to be anywhere on your list of current priorities. But I enjoyed discovering this little circular business: Hire a Christmas tree [1] I spend a lot of time thinking about big systemic problems and the major economy wide changes that we need to make. So, it's good to see fun examples like this from time to time.   [1]: http://www.loveachrist ...

Larry Fink's 2021 letter

Larry Fink is the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, the largest money-management firm in the world. Every year he writes a 'letter to CEOs'. Here are a couple of quotes I picked out from his 2021 letter [1] : "We know that climate risk is investment risk. But we also believe the climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity.""There is no company whose business mode ...

Open vs Closed Systems (part 5)

An open system can be defined as "a physical system that interacts with and accepts input from other systems". A closed system is one that does not interact with other systems. There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect closed system in reality. However, we often pretend there are closed systems because we need to have a system we can understand (ie model). By drawing arbi ...