Circular Economy

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As part of my virtual study abroad program, I have the opportunity to hear lectures from around the world about different topics. This week we had the privilege to hear a lecture from Marion Brown of Ostrero. Ostrero is working to make a circular economy in Scotland and discussed the many things they are doing and why it is so important.

Before this lecture I had no notion of what a circular economy was or that we are currently living a linear economy. A linear economy basically means that we buy things, we use them,and then immediately throw them away. Recycling is a great way to subdue some of the items, but Marion Brown brought up the idea of what happens after that. We can only recycle things for so long before it ends up in landfills, and she goes on to discuss how the circular economy takes that into consideration and tries to eliminate waste in general. The idea is that if you buy something, you keep it as long as possible, while maintaining the object and reducing overall waste.

An example of this was to lease cars. She brought up a great idea that cars should not be owned but leased. And it would be the dealerships’ responsibility to maintain these cars. That way companies can save on manufacturing costs and people can use the cars when needed.

Her ideas were very innovative and intriguing. She discusses how bad landfills are and the plastics in the oceans. It painted a very bleak and realistic picture of what the future holds. Usually when hearing about these topics there is a sense of loss on what to do, but Marion Brown’s ideas and those of Ostrero are to make sure to minimize the damage as much as we can. To try to undo the work by renovating the economy and how we use objects on a day to day basis.

This lecture really did not focus much on my museum studies field, but it was just as important to learn about. We were questioned about how we could implement this circular economy aspect in our daily lives, and even our future workplace. The lecture encourages us to speak up and try to do small changes if we can and to bring these notions up with other people, something I will definitely be doing in the future. It really made me think about what I am doing in the present and what I hope to establish in the future.