The importance of communication to increase commitment to the circular economy

Croquettes, a classic of these vacation days, can be a perfect example of what the circular economy can be. They come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. But it is in the origin and the flavor where the key is.

If the croquettes are deep-frozen and prepared with additives and preservatives, we can hardly say that they are a circular economy. However, if they are homemade and they recover the leftovers from cooking, they are a circular economy. The kitchen that has been used throughout life, what grandmothers and mothers used to do with what was left over from fish or meat, is a perfect example of the circular economy.

The circular economy multiplies the value and life of products, reduces the generation of waste and is efficient in the use of resources. The goal: to be sustainable.

Reduce, repair, recover, reuse or recycle are some of the you are wrong of the circular economy. The planet’s resources are limited. And if we don’t implement these you are wrong, it will be difficult to keep up with consumption. In much of what we do we already practice the circular economy. The key is to improve communication to increase engagement. And that, how do we do it?

Rethinking progress. Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Our impact on the planet

We need to know the context: we consume more of the natural resources than can be generated in a year. The NGO Global Footprint Network calculates each year the day of the Earth’s overcapacity. It is the day that our ecological footprint exceeds the biocapacity of the planet. The day we went into debt to him. From a base of 3 million statistical data from 200 countries, this year it was July 28.

1.7 planets would be needed to meet the current human demand for natural resources. However, not all countries reach that overcapacity on the same date. Qatar is the first to arrive, on February 10. Jamaica is the last, the most sustainable, on December 20.

Spain reached overcapacity on May 12, thirteen days earlier than in 2021. On that day, spent his first planet. If Spanish were the lifestyle of all humanity, it would take 2.5 planets to maintain it.

Date on which some countries have exceeded or will exceed the Earth’s overcapacity in the year 2022.

Ancient and daily solutions

Being circular is not only a global responsibility but also a local and individual one.

Circularity already existed before the concept. It has to do with the community, with going more slowly, with less is more. And, above all, it has to do with trying to live in harmony with the environment and be sustainable.

Our grandparents were the most circular beings we have ever known. Crumbs or garlic soups were made with the stale bread. The organic waste, which now goes to the brown container, was downstairs, as my mother-in-law used to say: to feed the pigs. The movement slow food It has been promoting these values ​​since its creation in 1986.

Where is the key?

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Campaign ‘You close the circle. Switch to the circular economy’.
Hispacoop, the Spanish Confederation of Consumer and User Cooperatives

The key is to be able to communicate this new economic system. Change our behaviors from what is already done in a circular way on a daily basis. To what extent are we circular now? Car sharing, reusing products (be it our father’s tracksuit or the bike vintage grandfather’s), sell the clothes we don’t wear. That is, reuse.

Communication of what is already being done needs to be improved. Share what we now call sustainability, circular economy, Agenda 2030 or Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) but that previous generations knew and practiced in their daily lives.

Everyone can measure their own ecological footprint, the planet does not wait and governments begin to legislate in this regard. In Spain, the draft Law for the Prevention of Food Losses and Waste was approved at the beginning of June. It makes you think that the Spanish will throw away an average of 31 kilos of food per person in the garbage in 2020. And the waste and contaminated soil law approved in March has limited the use of single-use plastics (goodbye to plastic straws and cotton swabs).

Not everything is lost

According to WWF, if we delayed the Earth’s overshoot day by 4.5 days each year, by 2050 we would be living within the limits of the planet again.

Some of the actions and solutions that can delay the arrival of that day are:

  • Reforest 350 million hectares of forest. Thus, the date of the planet’s overcapacity day could be postponed by 8 days.

  • Cut global meat consumption in half. This would delay the date of the exceedance by 17 days.

  • Halving humanity’s carbon footprint would mean halving the overshoot in 93 days, or about three months.

  • Reducing global food waste by 50% would stop the overrun in 13 days.

An example to follow

Leaders are needed to communicate these messages. Retired British sailor Ellen MacArthur is going to receive the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. In its ruling, the award jury highlighted that MacArthur works to “change the current paradigm of production and consumption, through the use of resources based on the reduction, reuse and recycling of sustainable materials”.

Through his foundation, which he has led since 2010, MacArthur works to raise awareness of the need to embrace a circular economy model that helps reduce our environmental impacts.

Going back to food, we are what we eat and what we cook. Let’s take a look at our diet to try to be more sustainable. Let’s cook more seasonal and local products, with a lower carbon footprint. And let’s continue sharing and communicating how to move towards a more circular economy to achieve the sustainable development goals.

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