Environmental Education: Circular Economy
Learn about the dangers of the linear economic model and benefits of the circular model with this free online course.Publisher: EcoEd4All
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Environmental Education: Circular Economy is a free online introductory course that looks at two mutually incompatible economic systems. First, we look at the attractions of the present popular model known as the Linear Economy which is associated with a consumer society characterised by modernity, globalisation, scientific and technological innovation, mass production and the attainment of comfortable lifestyles. It has allowed ordinary people to enjoy and experience things that were once the preserve of a small privileged elite. Consumerism is reflected in the wide range of modern products, devices and lifestyle choices ranging from clothes, to mobile phones to foreign holidays that are available at affordable prices to the ordinary person. It has brought countries and large sections of their populations out of poverty and helped save so much of the natural world from ruination with its development of man-made materials such as plastic as alternatives to finite resources such as wood and metal.
Following this, we review the inherent flaws of the Linear Economy that is built around an unsustainable process of ‘take, make and waste’. Much of the raw resources used are extracted from the earth with little thought given to the destruction inflicted to the environment of land, water and air; where the primary labour force and their communities can too often live below the poverty line; and where the use of fossil fuels in the production and transportation of food, manufactured goods, communication systems and energy supplies leads to high levels of pollution, non-recyclable even toxic waste and is the primary cause of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and biodiversity loss. There is a focus on one fashionable device which can be said to epitomise the Linear Economy. The smartphone is the most popular consumer product ever made and has provided enormous benefits and opportunities at so many levels to individuals and humankind. But its usage, manufacture, promotion, distribution and end-of-life status has done enormous damage to the health of the planet.
Finally, we look at the possibilities of developing an economic Circular model in the modern era that is aligned with the rest of nature, where waste becomes a reusable resource, priority is given to sourcing local materials, reusable energies are the norm, soils are nurtured and biodiversity is enhanced. We review where elements of such societies existed in the past, exist today, and where the legal groundwork is being laid for a sustainable future to put an end to the linear degenerative economics that runs contrary to the cycles of the living world.Start Course Now
After completing this course, you will be able to:
- Describe how the present global economic and social system relies on consumerism
- Identify the attractions of a consumerism culture that is based on a linear economic model
- Discuss what is involved in the manufacture of one popular consumer product
- Recognise elements of non-consumerism societies, past and present
- Compare the elements of the linear and circular economic models
- Explain what a Circular Economy means and its associations with sustainability, environmental protection, waste as a resource and social justice
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