Cowboy Economy - Chasing the Dollar

Working Together for a Green Future

See the college level version of this post.

How Teens Can Help Create a Circular Economy

When I was in college, the art and science departments wanted to join forces. But the creative artists and data-focused scientists struggled to get along. It showed why different fields need to work together if we want a sustainable world. The two departments didn’t merge, which was a bummer. But it taught an important lesson – we need teamwork!

What’s the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is about making stuff in eco-friendly ways. It looks at design differently, focusing on durable, repairable things that avoid waste. It combines ideas from science, art, engineering, and business to reimagine products and systems. The idea goes back to 1966, when Kenneth Boulding wrote about sustainable practices for our “spaceship Earth(1) with limited resources. We can’t keep using up resources and trashing waste like in the “cowboy economy” of the past.

Working Across Different Subjects

In the past, subjects like architecture, engineering, and biology were separate. Now, mixing different fields is seen as crucial. When students blend knowledge from diverse areas, they can create more sustainable solutions. Circular design thrives on teamwork, communication, and openness to new concepts. Avoiding closed-off proprietary methods reduces wasted work.

Benefits of Cross-Subject Collaboration

  1. Considering ethics: Combining environment, business, and tech promotes ethical choices.
  2. Managing resources: Drawing from different fields helps reduce waste and use materials responsibly.
  3. Innovation: By mixing insights from diverse areas, we can find new solutions.

Working across subjects, collaborating, and staying open to new ideas are key for tomorrow’s sustainable design leaders. By encouraging teamwork and different viewpoints, students can pioneer innovative solutions for design and the economy.

It’s important for teens to know that ethics and business can align when sustainability comes first. Benefiting the environment and society matters most, even if it means less profit for a greedy few. Sustainable practices bring long-term gains for communities and the planet. Let’s empower future leaders to advocate for ethical practices that help people and the planet!

I’m Just a Teenager. What Can I Do?

More than you know! You’re already thinking about it, so that gives you the long-term planning advantage. If you’re a teen thinking about going to college and you’re interested in a career in design, product development, or community improvement, consider taking courses across different disciplines. Look for classes that include zero waste principles, environmental ethics, and sustainability. Collaborate across fields! The more perspectives you can bring to your work, the better equipped you’ll be to create innovative and eco-friendly solutions. A cross-disciplinary education with a focus on sustainability will empower you to become a leader advocating for positive change. The future needs forward-thinking individuals who can work collaboratively to make business and design choices that benefit people, communities, and the planet.

(1) Source: The Economics of Spaceship Earth – Kenneth E. Boulding

Featured image is “Cowboy Economists Chasing the Dollar”, a tribute to Kenneth Boulding’s 1966 paper and presentation.

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