Thursday, 21 February 2013

Serendipity and shared values

I spent today with a bunch of like-minded people exploring the barriers to a circular economy and sharing ideas for catalysing change, under the auspices of the Circular Economy Task Force convened by Green Alliance. At the moment I think it's fair to say that we have more questions than answers, but we're definitely making progress. One of the key challenges we've identified is how to incentivise the behaviours that support a circular economy, for example returning end of life products to a recycling centre. Work done for the day, I headed home and met my 12-year old son at Reading Station for an artisan ice-cream at the fabulous Tutti Frutti.

On the bus home, he told me he'd discovered his favourite place in the entire world - a city in Brazil with many green spaces, a cheap and efficient public transport system and impressively high recycling rates achieved through the issue of "green tokens" that can be exchanged for public transport tickets and fresh produce. He couldn't remember its name, but I have since found out that it's Curitiba. My son had no idea how I had spent my day, and I hadn't planned to discuss it with him, but his observation prompted a lively discussion about the merits of a circular economy. And I genuinely learned something new that is of direct relevance to my work.

I suggested, jokingly, that perhaps next time the Task Force meets, he should come with me. He was so excited by the idea that I'm beginning to think seriously about suggesting it. And not just him - perhaps a whole cohort of young people.  After all, it's their future we're trying to safeguard. And, as my son reminded me today, they might just know more than we give them credit for.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Disco for good

As disco, humour and tolerance are all high on my list of favourite things, the English Disco Lovers' mission resonates strongly with me. There's something pleasingly barmy about trying to reclaim the abbreviation EDL and dislodge a racist organisation from internet search engines through the medium of disco. Like-minded followers on Facebook have embraced the English Disco Lovers' lighthearted, pun-ridden "pro-disco, anti-racism" manifesto and responded with tweaked lyrics and puns of their own.

The aim is to attract more Facebook "likes" and Twitter followers than the English Defence League, in order to bump it off the top spot on the major search engines. The more people who visit the English Disco Lovers website - and especially link to it - the more successful the project will be. So if you, too, would like to see a world with less racism and more disco please like, tweet, +1 and blog in support of the English Disco Lovers and help bump racism out of cyberspace. Do good, have fun - and keep on dancing!