One day, a long time ago and in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire that was raging the entire countryside. All the animals were terrified, running around in circles, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.
But there in the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the flames. And then again/ And then again. And yet again.
After a while, an old grouchy armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Tiny bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those minuscule drops of water one after the other that you are going to put out the fire and save us all! ”
To which the hummingbird replied, “Could be, but I’m going to do my bit”.
Out there in the real world life is a complex interactive system in which things do not exist in isolation but depend heavily on each other. As Miller and Scott put it: “A complex adaptive system is a system in which a perfect understanding of the individual parts does not automatically convey a perfect understanding of the whole system’s behavior”. Which means that if our goal is to create a strong and wise policy for sustainable transport in and around our cities we need to change our tools and perspective as well as our behaviour. As the Brundtland Report, “Our Common Future” told us already a full generation ago . . .
The following is taken from the peer review edition of the forthcoming book “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City“. For a copy drop a line to betterchoices@ecoplan,org.
Let’s first step back to consider the principal dynamics of the broader context – and specifically the high level of activity and innovation concerning ways in which climate and environment issues, new mobility patterns, unserved needs, economic realities, technologies, legislation, interest groups, political pressures, and yet more are going through a raging process of adaptation and change, which is often proving quite painful. If we put it all together we can see that this is a sector and a time in which the term “creative destruction” has real meaning.
Circular Economy: The Future of Business
Symposium of 23 June 2017 – https://goo.gl/af5oEU
École des Ponts Business School
Closing commentary, Eric Britton.
Professor. Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy.
Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris
email@example.com | Twitter @ericbritton | Skype newmobility
INTRODUCTION: I was invited by the Dean and faculty of the Ecole des Ponts Business School to participate in a full day Symposium on the Circular Economy at their campus on 23 June 2017,. The objective of the event was to introduce and invite peer comments on a new program of graduate seminars and faculty research exploring the boundaries and potential of this relatively new, environmentally sensitive planning and process technique, which takes as its starting point to scrutinize and reorganize productive units to eradicate waste systematically, throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components. I was invited to provide a brief closing summary of what I had observed and heard over the day, with a certain number of recommendations if that should prove useful. My closing remarks are summarized below. For background on the program click to https://lineupr.com/ecole-des-ponts-business-school/circular-economy.
To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time – the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.
And if one concludes that this was more or less what was going on in other parts of Europe and North America, you would be right. And a bit wrong. The Dutch were digging deeper. At least this part of Dutch society was.