The circular economy, where profitable business growth is created by reusing materials and keeping manufactured products working as long as possible to conserve resources, is beginning to taking shape. Nike, for example, reuses materials from 30 million shoes that have been returned to them by customers after use, turning these worn out products into luxury goods. The pressure to reduce consumption of natural resources and the amount of garbage produced is driving innovations in manufacturing, design and business models.
People are developing creative ways to reuse, reimagine, and reinvent products and the materials we use to make them. As we become more skilled and more comfortable with these innovations, we could see radical changes to the good we buy, and the ways we dispose of our waste. We may even find ourselves eating insects, as our new, sustainable source of protein.
We may become more actively involved in the repurposing, recycling, and disposal of our waste.
Insects and lab-grown meats may become primary sources of protein in our diets, since these are more sustainable than current production systems for meats and fish.
Kids may help lead efforts towards more sustainable use of materials, because of their creativity and different perspectives.
How new is this trend?
This is just developing, but change happens fast. If you pay attention to the media, you may see stories about this now.
What's driving these trends?
Drivers are forces that create change. These can be things like shifting populations and demographics of an area, or cultural movements and stories that we rely on to shape how we believe. Drivers are often the “causes” behind the trends and signals we observe through our scan.
Global and local climates are changing, resulting in unpredictable weather patterns and an increased incidence of extreme weather and natural disasters. Droughts, hurricanes, and floods are all examples of extreme weather that put strain on human and natural systems.
Increasing Population Density
Increasing population density, particularly in cities around the world, is driving many trends, both social and environmental. The growing concentration of people in many places can create resource scarcity, competition and conflict, and contribute to increased pollution levels. It can also lead to positive social outcomes and more robust economies.
Social inequity and the increased acknowledgement of discrimination against different groups of people is a strong driver in our present day. Inequity in Canada impacts politics, communities, health, and education.
Acknowledgement of Interconnectedness
As our world becomes increasingly complex and global, we have become more aware of the ways in which humans are interconnected with each other, plants, animals, and other elements of the natural world. This awareness is driving change in policy, societal values, and behaviours.
Mechanistic to Holistic Thinking
Since the Industrial Revolution, Western society has embraced a mechanistic view of organizations and communities, breaking systems down and defining a system by its specific parts. A shift is occurring towards holistic thinking, which addresses the complexity, ambiguity and connections between elements within a system. This shift is changing the ways we understand and approach the world around us.