Tag Archives: MacArthur

Facing Disasters

27 May

For a brief moment I hesitated.

Interviews with survivors of the Grenfell inferno reminded us of the horror and the tragic consequences of an avoidable and predicted disaster.

Last Wednesday the UK’s national news media was dominated by two events – the 1st anniversary commemorations of Manchester’s Arena bombing and the start of the Grenfell Tower fire enquiry.  Both sobering and intensely local.  Both respecting their community responses.

Last Wednesday I also hesitated – but not in the face of any disaster. On that day it might have been timely to reschedule the last two episodes of the Knowing Your Place Series.  It might, perhaps, have seemed right to bring forward the comments on Resilience and defer the scheduled episode on Sustainability.

But no. Manchester’s memorial moments needed no further comment at that sensitive time – the learning can follow.  West London’s respect for Grenfell’s grieving will, we are assured, gain the time it deserves.   Both are about aftermaths.  The ‘Knowing Your Place’ series is more forward looking.   I pressed ahead with publication of Keep on Running – in circles’.

It’s true that proper local consideration of the need for sustainability can be triggered in the pit of disasters.  In Part 8 of the series the primary example is of the renaissance of a rusting and decrepit steel town but, with evidence already to hand, we need hardly wait any longer for the very worst impacts of climate change to strike.  We’ve surely already waited long enough.  Alfred Russel Wallace (a contemporary of Charles Darwin) wrote of man-made environmental damage in 1898.

Working to avoid disasters – to bequeath to future generations an environment in better balance – doesn’t grab media and political attention with the same force as people perishing right now.  Two of the leading approaches to ecological sustainability are rooted in science and economics – and are closely intertwined.  The economist Kate Raworth questions underlying assumptions and Ellen MacArthur asks how resources can be re-used. The answers are being written not by national governments but by citizens, communities, city leaders and their local universities.

If you get the chance to read ‘Running in Circles’, do follow the links to Kate’s and Ellen’s work.  Both will inform future communities and city leaderships who do not want to sleepwalk towards disaster.

The final part of the series, ‘What If?’ will appear, as scheduled, next Wednesday – just in time to complete this primer ahead of the Intelligent Community Forum’s 2018 Summit in London.

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Rio+20: the reality of Digital Engagement

20 Jun

From an aerial view of the beach in Rio de Janeiro to Argyll & Bute in the Scottish Highlands by way of Brighton & Hove (and Nick Clegg, Aung San Suu Kyi, the EU delegation led by Denmark, ‘the hairy cornflake’ and Ellen MacArthur) we bring you our second report from the UN’s Sustainability Summit and a message about ‘the problem solving capabilities of networks‘.

All that plus Paragraph 65 of the Rio+20 draft final text that world leaders are expected to affirm this week.

Full story here with additional reporting from Marit Hendriks in Rio for NextGen TV.

Searching for new economic models

20 May

The tide of digital enablement – across the entire economy – has triggered research projects that seek to understand the foundations of new economic models.

The work may lead to new UK centres of research excellence and generate a source of independent and influential policy advice for businesses, organisations of all sizes, communities, governments and regulators.

Some aspects of the RCUK’s work will be presented at NextGen Bristol (17th July) in a workshop led by Prof. Roger Maull from Exeter University.

Full story here

Preparing for Rio+20 – the full edition

28 Apr

Over the past few weeks Groupe Intellex has devoted space to raise awareness of and prepare delegates for the forthcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in June.

We have now brought these editorials together in a single edition to make it easier for readers to navigate and comment on the series.  Some of these have appeared in previous posts but together they add up to a fairly weighty reading list that delegates might turn to in the 6 weeks remaining before the mechanisms of global diplomacy and lobbyists for corporate interests seek consensus and commitments that might flourish more effectively than those made in 1992.

Our focus kicked off with Marit Hendriks’ piece on ‘Sharing Experiences‘ and the need to learn from others without being tempted to ‘reinvent the wheel’.

This was followed by another essay on ‘the end game for the next generation‘ – an editorial that has been widely shared around the world.

Distracted by racing cars cavorting in the Middle East the short piece ‘What, on Earth Day?‘  made us think more about the silo mentality that compartmentalises discussions that are, or should be, interconnected.

The publication of the Royal Society’s report ‘People and the Planet’ gave us opportunity to start the ‘Ready for Rio‘ series and then the Ellen MacArthur Foundation weighed in with a brilliant exploration of ‘The circular economy‘ – by far the most widely read of our trilogy to date.

Finally – not least because you now have more than enough homework before Rio+20 – we reflected on a more spiritual view – taking the thoughts of Dr Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury – and suggesting amongst other things that our fixation on growth, markets and the commoditisation of everything was somewhat ‘eccentric’.

Groupe Intellex will, in the next few weeks, seek out and publish the news and views of others (your inputs are welcome) and will then report on the outcomes of Rio+20 and the prospects for further progress toward sustainable development.

Getting Ready for Rio – part 2

27 Apr

If the Royal Society report (see last post) mapped out the scale of the problem to balancing consumption inequalities then part of the answer comes from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation report ‘Towards the Circular Economy’.

Required reading we think for all going to RIO+20 in June.

Full story here.