What will BlindSpot Think Tank do in 2013-2015? We will;
- Support your project
- Lead Planet Levers Lab (preparing for global paradigm change – in 1 year)
- Build the Climate Rescue Centre (policy and practice to reverse climate chaos) and
- Inspire Circular Economy 4 Real (putting cradle-to-cradle into economics)
Support for your project!
For over 2 decades we have worked with diverse clients (eg universities, multinational companies, campaign groups, technology start-ups, international institutions) with diverse issues related to sustainability and security. We specialise in mapping missed opportunities and planning change to match the scale of the issues. Please get in touch for a chat.
Planet Levers Lab
Four decades of intensive global problem-solving have incredibly solved no global problems. All the underlying risks continue to worsen (with for example security of finances, economics, resources, climate, food, water, social cohesion and international relations). The failure of conventional problem-solving leaves humanity undefended against a range of foreseeable disastrous systemic collapses. Yet this failure can also inform the opportunity of effective problem solving and systemic solutions.
The Planet Levers Lab is a radically innovative initiative for a new era of global problem solving that actually works. The interconnectedness of global issues is typically highlighted and then promptly ignored with the assumption that the full complexity is unmanageable. Yet global systems are not just interlinked; they’re interlocked. This extreme connectedness can be the mechanism for unlocking a new global problem-solving method.
The Planet Levers method:
- A ‘global security’ goal can unite sub-system and localised goals such as economic security, resource security, climate security, protecting the commons etc.
- A planet-scale whole systems perspective means that interlinked problems need no longer be addressed separately or gradually.
- The system dynamics of global problems can be unlocked and reversed, as an upgrade to the common ambition to reduce risks and symptoms.
- Unlocking this complexity requires ‘policy switches‘; diametrical shifts of policy to shift paradigms. Risk dynamics and their worldviews can be reversed.
- The switched systems then self-organise system-wide solutions in the same manner as they previously caused problems. Solutions can match the complexity, scale and speed of the problems.
Tasks for Planet Levers Lab
Seed stage: Find initial funder and collaborators. Make project website, to include previous global security and policy switch research from the NATO Science Programme. Opensourced spreadsheet to consider and map coherence with other candidate policy switches.
Launch: Seek viral routes via business and public to policy-makers. Briefings and infographics to relate topical issues to the potential for a distinct new ‘breakthrough’ strategy. Media pack to gain international publicity. Academic paper on policy for a ‘big switch’.
Year Zero: Share project outcomes with policy-makers. Build business and public pressure to go beyond incremental and symptom-led policy. Media to recognise the expanded policy landscape. All planet levers implemented within 1 year, so global paradigms shift from regression to recovery.
Potential supporters and other collaborators are warmly invited to make contact.
Climate Rescue Centre
As one of a multitude of symptoms of our collective failure to address global problems, accelerating Arctic melting is a wake up call to rapidly enable an unprecedented response.
The Climate Rescue Centre answers this call by combining policy and practice that fully encompasses the scale of the problem. This combination is designed to lead civilisation to reverse both the legacy carbon debt and the underlying global system dynamic of climate change. Success of the Climate Rescue Centre would be observed by multiple systemic risks rapidly diminishing, including global greenhouse gas net-emissions falling toward and beyond zero.
Workstreams for the Climate Rescue Centre:
1. Reframing climate within the challenge of wider change in an indivisible global system. Climate security is not available separately from other issues. Worsening climate insecurity can be addressed with transformative shifts in policy being set out by the Planet Levers project in BlindSpot Think Tank. The Climate Rescue Centre will develop collaborations, papers and presentation materials for business, media and decision-makers. We will show how typical climate solutions such as renewables and reforestation can be scaled up at unprecedented speed by policies that work with whole systems rather than just the symptoms. An example of previous work is the most supported climate proposal in MIT’s Climate CoLab. Fix the system – get a global ‘circular economy’ sets out how to engage key global forces such as capitalism and markets to systematically solve problems they’ve historically caused such as climate instability.
2. Recalibrating climate ambitions. Decades of climate solutions have sought to cut emissions yet emissions continue to rise. Our climate ambitions must rise to the challenge, by enabling rapid cuts in not just emissions but also carbon concentrations. Carbon sinks must be expanded not only to offset society’s unavoidable emissions but also to remove accumulated excess carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. This is achievable with accelerated expansion of a photosynthesis/biochar cycle, reversal of the loss of ecosystems and other carbon negative activity. Climate Rescue Centre has pioneered innovative policy options to make these practicable and will work to bring these opportunities to the public and policy-makers. An example in MIT’s Climate CoLab is the Biochar Economies proposal for local currencies in scaling up the use of biochar worldwide.
3. Demonstrating carbon-negative building and lifestyles. In an era when radically ambitious solutions are vital, it is ironically common to hear that global problems cannot be solved, only gradually ‘mitigated’. Meaningful policy proposals risk being dismissed as idealism unless presented alongside tangible examples of the policy working in practice. Climate Rescue Centre will demonstrate many innovative methods and technologies that could enable carbon-negative housing and lifestyles. These will include a wide range of applications for making and using biochar, including building cookstoves, bbqs, ovens/kilns, soil improvement, pollution prevention, cultivating food and fuel, purifying water and carbon-negative building materials.
Follow the Climate Rescue Centre project on twitter @Climate_Rescue. Potential funding partners and other collaborators are invited to make contact now.
Circular Economy 4 Real
Circular economy is the ‘swiss army knife’ of any possible sustainable future. With this, economic growth derives from activities that enable future economic growth, using resources in cycles without the accumulation of wastes that drives resource loss, climate change and toxic pollution. Without this, economic growth will continue to be self-defeating and the multitude of ecological and economic problems can only worsen. The subsequent systemic collapse can and must be avoided.
The same concept of merging economic and ecological success has been variously described as zero waste, cradle to cradle and industrial ecology over past decades, dating back to the classic ‘spaceman economy’ set out in a 1966 paper by the American economist Kenneth Boulding. A steady stream of initiatives and case studies has shown the practicality and value of product designs and business designs allied to circular economy. Incredibly, the only thing missing has been an initiative for the design of the circular economy itself!
The necessary switch to a circular economy hasn’t happened because initiatives have focussed on change within the ‘system’ rather than change of the system of economics. Despite all the initiatives, mindsets, habits and markets continue to self-organise the wrong outcomes at whole-economy scale. Thus circular economy remains a mirage that people only imagine and hope is getting closer. Yet a change to circular economy for real is not hard to do and could be instituted anytime. Our project will demonstrate this via breakthrough innovations and inspire circular economy to happen for real.
Tasks for Circular Economy 4 Real
Year 1: Identify project collaborators. Project website to include published papers and infographics for the CE4Real tool kit (‘throw away the idea of waste’, ‘precycling’ as communications and design tool, radical economic growth strategy and rigorous market-based tool for all resource flows). Launch and publicise project.
Year 2: Support collaborators in the use and promotion of the CE4Real tool kit. Support top decision makers in the use of the CE4Real tool kit. Provide text and editing for high-profile media articles.
Year 3: Assess national and international decision-makers readiness to act. Share report on project outcomes. Public policy should now include Circular Economy 4 Real policy options.
Article on Edie.net: We’re just three steps from a circular economy. Original article, my blog.
Paper published in Journal of Cleaner Production: An economic instrument for zero waste, economic growth and sustainability. Publisher’s link, paper on precaution.org, discussion.
Paper published by NATO: Systemic Economic Instruments for Energy, Climate, and Global Security (see section 4). Publisher’s link, slides, published paper.
Paper published by NATO: Seven policy switches for global security (see section 4). NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Split. Publisher’s link, slides, published paper, my blog with section 4 of the paper (this is a handy short intro to doing CE 4 real), event pdf, discussion group.
Book section published by Earthscan: Positive Development: From Vicious Circles to Virtuous Cycles. Page 336.
Economics panel presentation at Middle East Waste Summit, Dubai: From credit crunch to planet crunch – or revival? Slides, paper, discussion.
Keynote presentation, National Waste Summit, Dublin: Zero disposal is no longer a dream. Slides, event programme, article in Sunday Business Post, blog on UKWIN, blog on Guernsey Climate Action Network.
Follow the Circular Economy 4 Real project on twitter #CE4Real. Potential funding partners and other collaborators are invited to make contact now.