The problems of climate change, contaminated air and water, and waste management have all been made worse by consumerism fed by a “take-make-waste” production model. How can improvements in quality of life and economic development be decoupled from the consumption of limited resources? The concepts of “circular economy'' address this question by taking inspiration from nature as a regenerative system (renews, restores, and grows on its own) with no concept of waste. The circular economy provides us with a conceptual framework to design our production and consumption systems to focus on the value provided while moving towards “zero waste” as key outcome. Assets are designed to provide service that can be shared, reused, and renewed with as little material and energy lost as possible. This system is how many societies have functioned in the past and even the present (e.g., repairing and reusing goods so they can continue to provide value to users) and includes aspects of the sharing economy.

In this webinar, two international environmental experts will demystify the concept of the circular economy to show how it directly addresses the major environmental challenges we face, ways to advance it through education, and how it can strengthen STEM teaching.

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