Circular Economy – Newcastle Meeting Discussion (Feb 2015)

Green Thinkers reconvened for the New Year and a new meeting format to discuss the topic of the Circular Economy. Our core text for the evening was “Cradle to Cradle” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, but contributions for a range of different sources were also discussed. The overall view of the group of 10 was that the concept of the circular economy was of interest, and that in particular it offers a third way to approach to some of the environmental problems we face between the two opposing models of limits to growth and technical abundance and growth for progress. Whilst Cradle to Cradle covers concepts of circular and symbiotic design, for many it was the message of concern over the need to detoxify material use and product design that was a more important message. This was in contrast to some of the other sources discussed where the focus seemed to be driven more from an accountant style understanding of resource scarcity and the drive for continuing profit the core motivator for exploration of circular economy implementation. Continue reading “Circular Economy – Newcastle Meeting Discussion (Feb 2015)”

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Newcastle upon Tyne (2015)

We have an exciting line-up of discussions for Green-Thinkers during 2015 to stimulate the little green cells as follows:

Continue reading “Newcastle upon Tyne (2015)”

How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place? (Green Thinkers – 13th Nov 2014)

How to Spend...This month we are going all out to avoid confirmation bias, and reading the newly released 2nd edition of “How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place” by Bjorn Lomborg. No doubt a worthy question to ask, but will you agree with Lomborg’s analysis? If not, come and tell us how you would spend the cash. All opinions welcome.

You can purchase the kindle edition for £3.28, or paperback from £8.99 on Amazon. The seller is the Copenhagen Consensus Center, USA.

Join us at on 13th November 2014 at the fantastic Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Entry to our meeting will be £5, or £3 concessions, and include chips and sandwiches. Food from 6.30pm, and discussion from 7pm.

Feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who might be interested in joining our discussion.

Email marek@green-thinkers.org to book a place.

Next Meeting – ‘EcoMind’ by Frances Moore Lappé

Our next bookclub will be to discuss ‘EcoMind’ by Frances Moore Lappé on Friday 27th June 2014 starting at 6.30pm at the Bridge Hotel. Pay £5 (£3 concessions) on the door for entry and chips.EcoMind

We have chosen ‘EcoMind’ because it will move us on from the focus of recent books (ecological and technological problems and solutions to sustainability issues), to how people think about them: anthropology and neuroscience. Following our last discussion about ‘The Burning Question’ we felt that this would be a good avenue of exploration – many of the tools are out there to make progress, but how to make it happen?

Lappe argues that the biggest challenge to human survival isn’t our fossil fuel dependency, melting glaciers, or other calamities. Rather, it’s our faulty way of thinking about these environmental crises that robs us of power. She dismantles seven common “thought traps”—from limits to growth to the failings of democracy— that belie what we now know about nature, including our own, and offers contrasting “thought leaps” that reveal our hidden power.

 

Next Meeting ‘The Burning Question’ on 27th March 2014

Our next Green-Thinkers bookclub will be on 27th March 2014 to discuss The Burning Question’ by Mike Berners-Lee & Duncan Clark.

The Burning Question is whether or not it will be possible for the world abandon around four fifths of proven coal, oil, and gas reserves? The book argues that this will be necessary in order to limit warming to 2 degrees, unless there is massive development of carbon capture and storage. We will have the answer to this question soon – at the crucial climate conference in Paris in 2015 when an agreement may, or may not be reached, to supersede Kyoto.

What would be the economic, social, and financial implications of leaving proven fossil fuels in the ground? Is the combustion of these fossil fuels already locked-in to the development plans and infrastructure of countries with massive reserves (such as the US, Russia, China, Australia, and Venezuela)? What will happen to the climate if emissions continue to rise at present rates? What action is required during 2014 to put pressure on governments to commit to targets? What will be the implications for you and your organisation over the next 20 years? or are we worrying about this for nothing – if global warming is actually doing more good than harm – as claimed by climate sceptics such as Matt Ridley? We will debate all these questions, and more…

When: 27th March from 6.30pm

Where: The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, Upstairs function room, NE1 1RQ

Cost: £5 includes chips and sandwiches and room hire, pay on the door (£3 concessions)

Book: Send a quick reply to this email to book (Email marek@green-thinkers.org)

My thoughts on ‘What has nature ever done for us’ by Tony Juniper

A group of us braved the floods on 5th December to discuss Tony Juniper’s ‘What has nature ever done for us?’ The following few paragraphs explain what I personally took from the book, and our discussion.

I found a kindred spirit in Juniper. I grew up in awe of nature: I have an early memory catching caddisfly larva in tributary of the Trent, experimenting on them at home, enthralled as they reconstructed their shells from coloured beads. On holiday in Corfu I discovered the rainbow-world of marine biology – an experience that inspired me to study this at university. However, despite an instinctively feeling that nature is priceless, I often find it difficult making a business case for its protection; and that is why I found the treasure-trove of case studies presented in this book so valuable. Continue reading “My thoughts on ‘What has nature ever done for us’ by Tony Juniper”

Next Meeting: “What has nature ever done for us?” by Tony Juniper

Our next Green-Thinkers bookclub is on 5th December at 6.30pm to discuss Tony Juniper’s “What has nature ever done for us?”. The book is a fantastic insight into our fundamental, but poorly understood, life-support systems; and it is timely for communities, businesses, and governments around the world.

We will be asking questions such as:

  • What benefits does nature provide to you, and your region / organisation?
  • Can, and should, a price be put on nature?
  • What do you see as the greatest threat to the effective functioning of ecosystems? and what are the potential consequences if they break-down?
  • And dare I ask – if traditional conservation has largely failed to protect iconic endangered species, can biodiversity offsetting ever be a good thing?

 Gareth Kane recently brought to my attention the latest advertisement from Toys-R-Us depicting a bus full of bored school-children on a field-trip to a forest; but when the trip was diverted to a shop full of plastic toys they were allegedly ecstatic. If we believe nature has intrinsic health and educational value – have we lost the battle? and how can we turn this around? As an alternative see this infographic about the value of tree from Natural Capital Forum, and also the family from Nottinghamshire who set their children a challenge of completing 100 different outdoor activities in a year – Nottingham Post.

Date: 5th Dec 2013, Time: 6.30, Location: Newcastle at the Bridge Hotel. Price: (£5 / £3 concessions) includes sandwiches and chips!

Please email marek@green-thinkers.org to book, if you have not already done so.

Kind Regards,

Marek Bidwell

“Small is Beautiful” – 5th Sept 2013

We enjoyed a lively discussion on 5th September about ‘Small is Beautiful’. Views about the book varied from insightful, spiritual and measured, to angry and contradictory. There was a general view that Schumacher was ahead of his time – writing in 1973 about issues such as economic externalities, ecosystem services, and bio-mimicry (although not necessarily using these terms). It would be fascinating if we could get his views 30 years on. Continue reading ““Small is Beautiful” – 5th Sept 2013″

Account of discussion on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson (6th June 2013)

Our discussion last week on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson was both expansive and at times involved, yet it felt a bit like trying to catch a wet frog blindfolded. To some extent this metaphor extends to what many thought of the book, it clearly sets out how the present economic system is unsustainable, unless growth can be completely decoupled from carbon emissions, gives a vision of what a more sustainable economy might look like, but is less specific on how to move from one to the other. This is not a criticism of the author because there are no quick fix solutions to solving the most pressing problems humans face. Continue reading “Account of discussion on ‘Prosperity without Growth’ by Tim Jackson (6th June 2013)”

Book Review: Ecological Intelligence by Dan Goleman

Review by Kit England

When I stumbled across this book I was intrigued. For those not familiar with the Author, Daniel Goleman is a journalist traditionally associated with psychology. He is most commonly known for ‘Emotional Intelligence’, and ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’ – two books in the early 90’s which provided new perspectives on management and careers by exploring our ‘two  minds’, the rational and the emotional.  These insights – that the brain is not only governed by our ‘rational’ abilities, but also by emotional skills such as empathy, impulses, and social competence, – helped millions leverage these traits. Continue reading “Book Review: Ecological Intelligence by Dan Goleman”