Circularity: The word snowballing down from Davos

New writing… My latest piece for The Hub – the award-winning content platform curated by Mitsubishi Electric – looks at the mood going into Davos and the messages coming out. Located high in the Swiss Alps, Davos is the exclusive venue for the influential annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It is where thought-leaders and heavy-hitters from the worlds of politics, economics, business, celebrity and media gather together every January to debate the state of the planet and the big issues, most notably clmate change. Heading into this year’s get-together, the pressure was rising on the international community, particularly in light of the latest IPCC report and sluggish response by national governments to turn talk into action on global warming targets set out in the Paris Agreement. The good news was that the circular economy proved a big story at the summit, with the launch of the Circularity Gap Report 2019 (see video above) truly establishing and evidencing the link with climate change. (Full disclosure: I personally am listed as one of the Contributing Authors on the report.) To learn why a 1.5°C world has to be more than 9% circular, please visit The Hub via the link here and read about ‘Circularity: the word snowballing down from Davos

Climate Action: Fly the Flag!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am not American, I am English. However, that is all the more reason for me to fly the Ecology Flag, which draws design inspiration from the iconic US Stars and Stripes.

Withdrawal of the Trump administration from the Paris Agreement means America is one of only three nations (along with Nicaragua and Syria) and by far the largest not signed up to the international climate commitment to tackle human-made global warming.

Climate change, though, does not respect national or state borders – it is a universal, Planet Earth phenomenon and truly global in its scope and scale.

In many ways, incentivising climate action would be made much simpler if the degree of global warming did actually vary regionally and locally in strict proportion to respective direct (and indirect) impacts. Imagine how different the response might be, if particular countries and parts of the world with a larger carbon footprint experienced greater adverse effects in relative terms than those living more within their planetary means?

Sadly, it is almost the case that the opposite scenario holds true – those nations least at fault still bear much of the burden created by unsustainable industrialisation and consumerism running rampant for decades elsewhere.

In reality, climate change is indiscriminate and fundamentally unfair.

So, whilst I shall not be demanding anyone ‘Pledge Allegiance’ or ‘Salute’, I do ask you please to Fly the Flag, not least in support of all those states, cities, organisations, businesses, communities, families and individuals in the US who are working hard and living well in accordance with the principles of sustainability (and perhaps still hoping to bring about a change in Government policy).

Fly the Flag: We are all America now; and America is all of us.


History of the Ecology Flag:

According to WikipediaLook magazine incorporated the Ecology Symbol into an image of a flag in their April 21, 1970 issue. It widely popularised the theta symbol, associated with the Greek word thanatos (death) in light of human threats to the environment. The flag design was based on that of the United States and has 13 stripes alternating green and white, plus the Ecology Symbol in the upper left quadrant (canton) in the place of stars.

The Ecology Symbol (Theta):

The Ecology Symbol was originally created by cartoonist and artist Ron Cobb – who had worked on everything from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, to an album cover for rock band Jefferson Airplane. First published in 1969, it takes the letters ‘e‘ and ‘o‘ from the words ‘environment’ and ‘organism, then superimposes them on one another to form a shape reminiscent of the Greek letter θ (Theta).

Breaking: Reaction to US Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“This decision shows a stunning disregard for the well-being of people and the planet. President Trump will now have to answer for walking away from one of the most hard-fought and popular global achievements in recent memory. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will leave the U.S. diplomatically adrift, at odds with nearly 200 countries. There are now 194 countries united in their determination on climate, while a group of three – Syria, Nicaragua, and the United States – stand apart.

“New coalitions of states, cities and businesses will help fill the void, but people will not forget that the Trump administration let them down at this critical moment. For a self-proclaimed dealmaker, this decision is a clear loser. President Trump has flushed away years of hard work and skillful diplomacy, leaving Americans and future generations less secure and more isolated in the face of this existential challenge.”  @worldresources


Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor, IEMA:

IEMA – Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.
Portraits of Martin Baxter
Photograph by Amit Lennon

“The decision of the US Government to unilaterally withdraw from the UN Paris Climate Change Agreement is deplorable and flies in the face of scientific and economic evidence.

“The effects of climate change impact everyone, everywhere. The reckless actions of a single government must not be allowed to undermine the consensus reached in Paris in 2015.

“The transition to a low-carbon economy provides significant opportunities and those countries that face up to the challenge will be the ones that gain most economic benefit.  The US risks missing out following the backwards step from the Trump Government.

“We urge US business and State leaders to make decisions based on scientific and economic evidence and continue to invest in renewable energy and low-carbon technology.” @iemanet