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CIRCULENTS CALL FOR ACTION

Young circularity leaders all around from the Baltic sea region are concerned about climate change and the passiveness of action to stop it. We created an eight-theme action plan on how to begin the change. So, get inspired and join the circle.

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CHANGES WE SUGGEST

SOCIETY OF THE FUTURE

The world is changing. If we want to keep on living here, we have to change too.

ACTION STEPS

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Every year, a single human being produces almost 2 thousand pounds of waste. And the situation is getting worse. With increasing pollution and climate change being more real than ever, change in our everyday lives is necessary. 

The solution is simple - we need to create a circular society. To achieve that, we propose a few suggestions:

1. Endorse EU’s green recovery plan.

The linear economy is weaker than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a perfect time to adapt to a circular economy without any drastic consequences.

2. Support, join and advertise local communities, which represent circular and sustainable lifestyles. 

This should include community services for sharing i.g. household tools, hobby equipment, and motor vehicles.

3. Local governments should provide all necessary opportunities for their residents to be circulents.

This should include:

  • Easily accessible public transportation and a transportation infrastructure enabling biking and other non-motor vehicles is necessary.

  • Companies should be required to provide fair repairing services for their products and incentivize companies to offer products with zero-packaging options. 

  • Companies and public actors should be accountable for the pollution or trash they produce and offering the public easily accessible ways to recycle their waste.

  • New systems between different private and public actors where they synchronize their resource use in a way that doesn’t create waste have to be created.

4. Foster knowledge exchange between countries. 

Create systems where countries can encourage each other and hold each other accountable for their promises towards circularity.

5. Encourage ecological energy use.

Ecological energy use should be taken better into consideration when planning and building society’s infrastructure.

RECYCLE RESOURCES

The time of waste is coming to an end. No more extraction of new resources. Time for repurposing, repairing, and, as last resort, recycling, is here. Keep it in the loop.

ACTION STEPS

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75% of our everyday waste can be recycled, however, only 30% are recycled. We are running out of natural resources, if we don't start reusing and recycling our materials, soon we will not have supplies to create new products. 

There is a solution - circular waste management. To achieve that, we propose a few suggestions:

1. Spaces can be shared.

Municipalities should map from their provincial and city plans how their building base is used and collaborate with companies on how to utilize offices and other business spaces during the time they are empty.

2. More circular construction and manufacturing.

The use of materials in construction and manufacturing should be through legislation and other methods guided towards better circular material use.

3. Products deserve a second life.

Consumers should be encouraged to share, repurpose and repair their items and only after such steps should there be an easily accessible recycling system available for different materials and products.

CATALYST FOR GOOD DECISIONS

The change towards circularity has to come not only from society. Political authorities have a huge role in this too.

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ACTION STEPS

In a world, where the linear economy is thriving, circular businesses are having a hard time being competitive members of the overall market. Here, political authorities can make a change for the better. They have to be catalysts for good decisions. 

In order to make good decisions for a circular economy to prosper we need the establishment of well-informed economic incentives that aid in influencing long-lasting changes in a variety of sectors. To achieve that, we propose a few suggestions:

1. Marketable permit systems should be established.

Marketable permit systems, or trading systems, are regulatory tools that are deliberately designed to lower compliance costs, ease administrative burdens, and incentivize innovation more so than traditional regulation.

2. Environmental taxes should be applied and endorsed.

Applying environmental taxes on certain items that pose problematic to ensuring a pathway for sustainability influences the behavior of individuals, firms, and governments to find other options more compatible with environmental models. 

3. Subsidies should be applied.

Rather than alter behavior by punishment techniques, the subsidies option within the incentives framework promotes sustainable pathways for pursuing wanted ends by underlining possible options that fit the sustainable mold.

4. The idea of internal climate exchange should be endorsed.

The idea presents, that if an occupation within the company purchases the non-circular product, they should also pay the difference to match the cost of the circular products. The extra money paid goes to an internal investment fund that can be used for other circular investments within the company.

CIRUCLAR CONSUMER GOODS

If we want to be a circular society, we need the right consumer goods to keep us in the circularity loop.

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ACTION STEPS

Linear society goods are practically single-use. Often, they can not be repaired or recycled and end up as a waste. The circular society requires easy accessibility to circular services that provide goods that are being kept in the circularity loop, using resources that are already out there.

This can be achieved quite easily - we need to start creating circular consumer goods. To achieve that, we propose a few suggestions:

1. Government support is necessary.

Financial support for circular businesses should be provided by the government. It could be either additional subsidies or tax exemption for circular businesses.

2. Circular products and services should be advertised.

The main purpose of advertising - the spread of the idea of circular products and services among people. That could raise a demand for circular products and services which would lead to a rise in supply. Then, the price for circular products and services should decrease until it reaches market price.

3. Scientific research should be supported.

Financial support for scientific research in order to expand the variety of resources and materials in order to make high-quality, circular products and services.

EQUAL AND FAIR ACCESS TO SUSTAINABILITY

Climate change will affect all humanity equally. That’s why everyone deserves equal rights to stop it.

ACTION STEPS

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It is impossible to talk about equal and fair access to sustainability without talking about Intersectional Environmentalism, which identifies the ways in which injustices targeting frontline communities and the earth are intertwined. It is therefore vital to consider which communities are more likely to be exposed to climate change and even already are struggling to be protected equally by environmental laws so they can have equal access to a safe environment. 

In order to acquire equal and fair access to sustainability, we propose a few suggestions:

1, Environmental racism and injustice have to be acknowledged.

Instead of ignoring the data or minimizing its significance, it’s essential to dive into the systemic racism and injustice that also exists within the climate movement.

2. Unheard voices have to be amplified. 

It is time to amplify the voices of our community, in order to find a solution together. 

3. “Unlearn and learn” 

This step requires unlearning the one-sided environmental history that was taught through the lens of the white experience. We, therefore, have to unlearn our narrative and challenge ourselves to make sure we’re considering diverse perspectives.

EDUCATION AND TOOLS

Constant learning is a key to a successful circular society.

ACTION STEPS

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If we don’t know a better option than a linear lifestyle, it doesn’t mean there is no better option. We can adapt to a circular lifestyle only by learning about circularity. 

Because of that, we suggest four themes for a circular education program for schools, workplaces, and society in general:

  • Circular lifestyle

  • Circular products and services

  • Correct recycling

  • Society’s influence on climate change

Communal knowledge not only should grow a circular society but also should affect the demand for circular goods, therefore the supply of circular products and services should increase too, which eventually should lead to a decrease in circular goods price.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

If we wish to save our existence on this planet, we have to start taking responsibility for our actions.

ACTION STEPS

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Not only a consumer has to take responsibility for their actions. The world's biggest polluters are factories and large companies, whose choices of producing goods can affect the lifespan of the current life on Earth. Because of that, they voluntarily or by being forced have to start taking responsibility for their actions.

We suggest ways to start taking responsibility:

1. Taking responsibility via taxes. Those should include:

  • Pollution 

Emissions created while making the product or service and by transporting produced goods to places of sale should be taxed. 

  • Waste of the produced goods

The production of items or services which are not circular per se should be taxed.

  • Unethical production of goods

The production of items or services which is unethical to a human or animal kind as well as the wasteful use of natural resources should be taxed. 

2. Circularity scale should be established. 

A measurement framework or taxonomy system for assessing circularity level of businesses and products should be created. Global convergence towards a circular standard or benchmark has to happen.

3. Governments have to take a leading position.

Governments have to prioritize sustainability and circularity in public procurement and in that way set an example to follow.

COLLABORATE FOR CIRCULARITY

If we want the world to become circular, we have to change the whole system.

ACTION STEPS

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The Earth is very complex with interconnected and finite resources and we need to treat it as such. It is a system where ecological, social, and economic aspects must be seen as a whole, a unit that must be balanced. We need our leaders to incorporate systems thinking as a new foundation for society and how we develop it.

The era of linear thinking and economy is coming to its end and we have to admit that. If we want to transition smoothly, we need to collaborate for circularity. These are our suggestions for the start of collaboration:

1. Consumers have to change their attitude towards consumption.

We cannot continue the business as usual anymore, as our finite natural resources are running out. Because of that, the public discourse of the “Consumer” has to be changed completely. 

2. System thinking has to be approached.

As climate change and biodiversity crisis are both wicked problems, meaning their scale is extremely complex and multidimensional and there is no silver bullet for their resolution, a systemic approach seems to be the best alternative.

READ FULL DECLARATION

Download a full PDF of circulents action plan.

READ ABOUT THE CIRCULENTS TEAM

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