Green Exchange

Mixtape #16: Talking Circular Economy & Degrowth in Berlin w/ Dina Padalkina

Always question the status quo. That’s the biggest lesson we learned from Dina Padalkina in our latest mixtape. A macroeconomist for many years, Dina was always told growth brings stability and prosperity. She started asking “is that really true?”, and sparked a whole new journey into de-growth and the circular economy that has shaped her life.

Now as founder of the Circular Berlin initiative, Dina sits down with Camille to discuss bottom-up approaches to circular economy, the challenges for degrowth, the importance of self esteem and valuing your time as a change maker, and some great examples of a thriving movement in Berlin.

Dina Padalkina

Dina Padalkina focuses on the areas of Sustainable Urban Development, Resource Management, and Sustainable Business Models. She is the initiative lead of Circular Berlin, which brings together social, environmental, and economic opportunities, searching for cross-sector exchange and connectivity. She is the author of The Macroeconomics of De-growth – Can a De-growth Strategy be Stable? Developing grassroots collaborations and promoting the idea of the circular economy strategy, Dina lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Spotify Playlist

Circular Berlin

Circular Berlin Projects

Dycle Project

Thank you to HERMANN’S Berlin for sharing their space with us!

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

 

Mixtape #15: Steering Consumption & Stimulating the ‘Care’ Economy (with Álvaro Porro)

Camille sits down to talk change with Álvaro Porro, Commissioner for Social Economy, Local Development and Consumption for the City of Barcelona. With a strong background in European activism, Álvaro moved from dressing in pink and silver during anti-globalisation demonstrations, to driving key strategies and policies for environmental and social change in local government.

Álvaro shares his perspectives on the importance of municipalism and collective action for driving structural change, how much real power consumers have in driving demand, and what it takes to shape an economy that puts people at the center.

And a message to take home: there is a lot happening on the local political level across the world that will be responsible for real institutional change. If you want to get engaged, now is a good moment!

Álvaro Porro

Álvaro is responsible for Social and Solidarity Economy, Time and Care Economy policies and the area of Consumption. Member and co-founder of the Can Masdeu project. Editor and co-founder of the magazine Options. Researcher and responsible for communication of the Consumer Research and Information Center ( CRIC ). Coordinator of the Consumption and Global Change study for the Universidad Complutense Foundation. Coordinator and founder of the Estàrter training area for entrepreneurship and collective initiative within the framework of the Institute of Government and Public Policies (IGOP-UAB).

Spotify Playlist

Barcelona Elections 2015 (Ada Colau)

Video of Anti-Globalisation Protests Prague G8 2000

CanMasdeu

Opcions

 

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

 

Lab#4 w/ Jonah Chesum – Driving Change is a Marathon

Audio version of Green Exchange Lab #4. Watch the video here.

Change takes hard work, dedication, sweat and sometimes even tears. Oh, and lots of patience. Just like running a marathon. Camille spent time with one incredible marathon runner, Jonah Chesum, to find out what it takes to be the best, and what lessons we can take with us from the track to our own work in change making.

A Paralympic distance runner from Kenya, Jonah was hired as a pacesetter, and he’d never completed a marathon before. But in 2017 he sped past the top performers and won the Barcelona marathon, surprising everyone and himself. And that’s only one part of his story. We talk mental toughness, rural life, corruption in Kenya, the importance of respect, and social change.

Green Exchange Labs
We interview remarkable change makers and those who help shape our world via their art, mission, projects or enterprises. Through our discussions we study how change happens in society, talk about the future, decrypt stories and brainstorm ways we can accelerate social & environmental change.

Mixtape #14: Coffee, Smiles & Stories to Take On the Refugee Crisis, with Mads Nygaard

To change the world, all you need is people power. When 485 refugees came to a tiny town in Jutland, Denmark, it changed the way integration had to work in Denmark. So many newcomers living in Jutland yet totally disconnected from the local community – something had to be done. With one small room and one coffee machine, Mads Nygaard helped start a new nationwide movement that brings people together through story telling, connection, and crowd-sourcing. The Venligboerne movement is a collective backlash against harsh government policies and the hate that’s sprung up during the refugee crisis in Denmark, and proof that we have all the tools we need to solve the refugee crisis. It starts with one question: what can I do here?

Mads Nygaard

Mads is a Danish author and speaker, and co-founder of the Venligboerne movement: a network of volunteers and refugees that started in 2014. The initiative has gained great recognition, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

TRANSCRIPT FROM THE EPISODE

 

Coming soon.

 

Mixtape #13: Comedy, Asylum Seekers & What It Takes To Integrate (with Fairooz Tamimi)

Integration into a new country and culture is one of the biggest challenges a person can face. Fairooz Tamimi knows this first hand. Fairooz is an award winning author, columnist, and the Concept Developer of the first business accelerator targeting foreign-born entrepreneurs in Sweden. She immigrated to from Jordan to Sweden in 2013, and through her struggles to integrate, she saw how immigrants and asylum seekers are sidelined in Swedish society, and around the world. She decided to be the change.

Camille sits down with her to share her story, and discuss the barriers newcomers face when entering into business, as well as the great potential for diversity and strength when governments and business combat discrimination and begin treating immigrants as equals.

Spotify playlist

Fairooz’s Twitter

Fairooz’s Linkedin

Fairooz Tamimi

Fairooz Tamimi is a columnist, public speaker, and award winning published author. She is Concept Developer of the first business accelerator targeting the foreign-born entrepreneurs in Sweden, and founder of the Immigrants Stand Up Comedy Network Scandinavia.

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

TRANSCRIPT FROM THE EPISODE

 

Coming soon.

 

Mixtape #12: Internet Politics, Digital Commons & Changing your Mind with Mayo Fuster Morell

It’s good to change your mind sometimes. On a sunny rooftop in Barcelona, Camille Duran shares a coffee/tea with Mayo Fuster Morell, probably the most prominent social researcher focusing on sharing economy, social movements, online communities and digital Commons. They dive into a deep discussion about how we can reorganise production models and go beyond capitalism & public institutions as value creators for society. They talk about Internet politics, self-organising and activism, and how Mayo has been changing her mind over time about the best way to drive change in society.

Spotify playlist

Mayo’s personal website

Mayo’s Wikipedia page

Mayo Fuster Morell

Is a social researcher who has focused on sharing economy, social movements, online communities and digital Commons, frequently using participatory action research and method triangulation. She has been part of the most important research centres studying Internet and its social effects, including the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the MIT Center for Civic Media or the Berkeley School of Information. As an active citizen, she is the co-founder of multiple initiatives around digital Commons and Free Culture, such as the Procomuns Forum on collaborative economy.

 

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

TRANSCRIPT FROM THE EPISODE

 

Coming soon.

 

Lab#3 w/ MEP Linnéa Engström – Another Crazy Fish Story

Audio version of Green Exchange Lab #3. Watch video here.

EU Ministers forgo moral scientific and legal obligations on fisheries management – and that’s not ok. We go to Brussels to understand the problems of fish quotas AgriFish Council meetings and governance of the commons. With this simple story, we highlight a part of our EU institutions that doesn’t work and discuss what we can do about it.

#3 things you can do to help end overfishing:

1. Support NGOs working in that space (they know exactly what to do):

www.our.fish 

www.seas-at-risk.org 

www.pewtrusts.org

2. Try the fishes that are different! Reducing the demand for most popular fishes will help balance the quotas (check out www.fishisthedish.co.uk)

3. Spread fish stories: subscribe & share!

Mixtape #11: Nuclear Bombs, the 1st Email & the Power of Stories (with Brian Fitzgerald)

What are you going to do about it? This was the burning question that drove Brian to become an activist, a storyteller, and a change maker. A good story can change the world. Actually, a good story convinces us that the world can change, and inspires us to take action. In this mixtape, Brian shares his incredible journey.

Spotify playlist

Brian’s Twitter

Dancing Fox

Brian Fitzgerald

Brian is a storyteller, an activist, and a digital innovator. Co-founder of Dancing Fox and activist with Greenpeace for 35 years, he has a wealth of stories to tell about changing the world – from stopping nuclear weapons tests in the Nevada Desert, to piloting hot air balloons and hanging banners from the Statue of Liberty. Brian comes from the US, and lives in Amsterdam.

 

Produced by Camille Duran & Eleen Murphy
Published by Eleen Murphy
Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

TRANSCRIPT FROM THE EPISODE

 

Coming soon.

Quickfire #6: News & Changes for 2018

Hey guys. A quick message for the new year, with some cool news (like: we’re on Spotify!), and some changes for the future. We tell you all about it!

Oceans #7: EU Plastics Strategy – The Commission’s Legacy & What We Can Expect

The Commission has just released the first ever Europe wide strategy on plastic. This text lays out the vision for tackling plastic pollution, with its main aims to reduce disposable plastic use, limit micro-plastic use, and make manufacturing packaging fully recyclable by 2030. Big news. But is it bold and ambitious, or more politics as usual?

In this episode, we review and discuss the content of this strategy together with Coordinator of Rethink Plastic, Delphine Lévi Alvarés. Big topics on the table include: the absence of clear target for recyclable packaging, possible upcoming legislation on single-use plastics, how to prevent unintentional microplastics, possible oxoplastics ban, and the plastic tax surprise.

Check out the Oceans series page for complementary resources & bonus materials.

Produced by Camille Duran
Published by Eleen Murphy
Senior Editors Eleen Murphy & Camille Duran

Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space.

 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Camille Duran [CD]: Eleen before we start: Last time I met with Paul Rose,

Eleen Murphy [EM]: From the Guns N’ Roses?

CD: No that’s Axel Rose! Paul Rose is the National Geographic explorer & TV Presenter from the UK…

EM: Ah yes, you never know with you…. Great, what did he tell you?

CD: I asked him what’s the one plastic story that stands out for him. Have a listen.

Paul Rose: For me it’s the Arctic. I know the Arctic very well. I used to go out there, and when you’re on an Arctic beach, it’s a funny old place even in summer, because the ice – the fast ice, as they call it – is stuck to the land. But you can have a bit of trouble working out where the sea begins and the land ends and where you are on the tidal cracks, and are you going to fall in the sea and everything! And you’d never see any plastic, because the ice edge was so far out there, even when the ice is loose it creates a massive barrier around the arctic. We’d never see any plastic, because it would come up and butt against the ice edge. We didn’t know that at the time, but it was.

But now with climate change, all that ice around all those islands is gone in the summer. So the beaches are stone, pebbly and rocky beaches. And what’s on them? Plastic, of all kinds. So that’s a real shocker for me, to see that. You know, we sort of get used to seeing it on a beach in temperate zones, but to find that in the Arctic…man, that’s a killer. You know? That hurts me.

[01:36]

EM: Ouch.

CD: Yeah that’s just to remind us how big and how urgent the plastic issue really is.

EM: In case any listener is still in doubt.

CD: Direct transition: the EU Commission just released its plastic strategy, we started to talk about it in the previous episode.

EM: Anything ambitious?

CD: That’s what we are going to talk about in today’s episode: what can we expect from the EU exactly?

EM: Good question.

CD: First V.P. Timmermans and V.P. Katainen dropped in on the Parliament for the announcement and addressing a couple of questions.

EM: And?

CD: Well, I don’t think anyone expected bold moves. This Commission is entering the last part of their mandate, they say they have budget limitations and even if Timmermans’ introductory speeches show conviction & determination, we are going to need a lot more than what is outlined in the text.

But… some interesting developments!

EM: Tell me more…

CD: I unpacked the content of the plastic strategy with an organisation that is very active in this debate and which I knew would be one hundred percent aligned with the interests of the Planet and communities worldwide.

EM: Like aligned for real, you mean.

CD: Right, it’s a coalition of NGOs that is following the plastic debate at the European level. They are called Rethink Plastic and I debriefed with their Coordinator, Delphine Lévi Alvarés.

EM: Let’s hear it!

 

[03:24]

CD: Hello Delphine, are you there?

Delphine Lévi Alvarés [DLA]: Yes I’m here!

CD: Thanks for making some time. It’s an important week; we’re going to about the plastic strategy and what’s in the text. Can you first tell us about the purpose of this plastic strategy. What was expected?

DLA: So, it’s a document where the European Commission lays out their vision for tackling plastic pollution in the future. It’s an action plan more than anything else, it’s not a binding document.

CD: At Rethink Plastic, what is the overall feeling of your group after the release of this plastic strategy?

DLA: The overall feeling of our group is that it’s quite a positive strategy. It’s not complete: there are always things to improve, but it’s a good declaration of intention from the Commission, and now what we want to see is action.

CD: I bet. I suggest we just dive in: I want to talk about a few of the subtopics that the strategy covers. Do you feel that there’s one theme in particular that has been dominating the discussion, or has it been an even mix of themes – when it comes to, you know, microplastics, oxo-degradables, single use, recyclability, and so on?

DLA: I think it’s been a pretty balanced debate. A lot of topics have been discussed during the year and a half that has preceded the publication of this strategy. A lot of focus was put at the beginning on recycling, and the role of the Coalition and other environmental NGOs was really to stress the need for reduction. The topic of single use plastics in the latest month has been occupying the scene, and we are quite happy to see that the Commission is already taking a step and consulting European citizens and stakeholders on what kind of legislative measures we could implement at the E.U. or national level to reduce single-use plastic items.

[05:39]

CD: Yes and let’s start with that theme then on single use plastics. A directive that was mentioned a couple of times was the single-use plastic bag directive, which was very successful in the countries that implemented it. I think you are pushing for replicating that directive for other single-use plastic items?

DLA: Yeah, we could imagine the same kind of mechanism for other single-use plastic items like [indistinguishable], disposable cups, lids and straws, and cutlery…

CD: Service wear?

DLA: Yeah, service wear, exactly.

CD: What do you expect on the single-use plastics front in the year to come?

DLA: We expect legislative proposals to be tabled by the Commission, and discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. That should come before summer, because you probably know that it’s the last active year of this Commission, because next year we’ll have the European Elections. And we will have a new Commission taking over in September next year. So it’s the closing down of the mandate of this Commission and I think they want to finish with a solid legacy. I hope that they want to finish with a solid legacy on single-use plastics.

CD: Okay. moving to microplastics now. So, those are the pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters, I think, that are found in the environment because they were intentionally added to products, like cosmetics, detergents, or paint. Intentionally added, by opposition to the microplastics resulting from the degradation of macroplastics. So there’s this sort of intentional versus unintentional debate, which I think is interesting. What are your takeaways on this chapter?

DLA: On this chapter we are welcoming the step taken by the Commission to ban them, and to ban them for a wide variety of products – not only cosmetics, which was the low-hanging fruit in a way. So now the scope is open, and it’s going to be dealt under a very technical process called Rich (nothing to do with money). And it’s going to look at the different kind of products in which we have intentionally added microplastics.

[08:12]

CD: So it covers only intentionally added microplastics? How about the other side of the problem: the microplastics that are in tire dust, in textile microfibres and so on?

DLA: Yeah, so for these ones it’s going to be about working at the product level: how do we improve the products themselves to prevent the release of microplastics or microfibres into the environment. In the case of textiles, it could be also how do we improve the washing machine and wastewater treatment systems so that we prevent the release of these microfibres. So for all of these topics that are more recent, and for which there are no silver bullets, there are discussions amongst the stakeholders, and the Commission is planning some research on this to find appropriate measures to prevent them.

CD: Okay. Oxo-degradable plastic, which is also quite a technical area. It’s a type of plastic that is designed to break down into small pieces that most often remain in the environment later on. I think something happened there as well?

DLA: For oxo-plastics, we got a good signal from the Commission about their intention to restrict their use under the Rich process again – the same process as the one that is going to regulate microplastics. And here it’s real good news because these plastics have been seriously damaging the environment and the recycling system as well, and a ban was urgently needed. We don’t know how long it’s going to take, and we don’t know if it’s going to be a full ban or only restricting the use in certain sectors, but we’re going to engage in this process and make sure it goes in the direction that we want. That is to say, a full ban.

CD: One more thing I wanted to talk about. A few days ago, the Commissioner for Budget raised an interesting idea around an E.U. plastic tax – a European-wide plastic tax. It was a little bit of a surprise, no?

DLA: It was! It was a surprise, yeah. I think it was a surprise as much for the NGOs as it was for the people in the Commission working on the plastic strategy. And everybody asked us what our opinion was, and I think it’s a very good question. We are in general in favour of using any economic mechanisms to reduce plastics, in particular single-use plastic and over-packaging. On this tax specifically, we are cautiously optimistic. One thing is sure, that we definitely need more information about what he had in mind and how it could be turned into something operational at the E.U. level. And for us, this tax should really be designed to drive-down the use of single-use plastics and over-packaging in general, rather than being primarily a source of income for the E.U.

CD: Right. And Jyrki Katainen was asked was asked about this, after the presentation…let’s have a listen.

[11:33]

Jyrki Katainen: In a way one could say that it would be a good way to create our own resources for the E.U. because at the same time while we are taxing, it addresses our environmental objectives. But the better plastic strategy implementation we have, the less income we can collect. This is another side of the coin. Second point, I have been working with environmental taxes, and I like them if they are done well. But we have not yet found a way to introduce a European-wide plastic tax. As I said in my introductory remark, we are ready to look at fiscal means or fiscal solutions for incentivising recycling or reducing plastics, especially single-use plastics. But it’s too early to promise anything. Some of our member states have used tax measures or fiscal measures to reduce single-use plastic bags, so it has functioned well on the national level. So in this same spirit, we will look at all the opportunities, but whether we manage to find a well-functioning, European-wide tax on plastic…I have my doubts.

[13:06]

CD: So yeah, he was not super comfortable about this idea, but probably there’s some discussion going on backstage. Any closing words? What’s next for you guys?

DLA: Work, work, work. We need to ensure that everything that is in this strategy is turned into action – and action aiming at tackling plastic pollution and at operating the changes in the system we need to tackle plastic pollution in the future, in Europe and globally. So most of our key topics were addressed, and were more or less in line with what we wanted to see in the strategy, but we are aware that there are a lot more topics that need to be addressed to really tackle plastic pollution. And that some areas were not covered enough – like chemicals and toxics in plastics. This is a key area if you want to build trust in the recycled material market in the future, and make sure that we use more recycled plastics than virgin plastic. It will have to be addressed soon.

CD: Thank you for being with us!

DLA: Thank you for inviting us!

 

[14:24]

EM: Interesting. I see what you meant earlier. There seems to be a lot of “intentions to investigate”, or, “develop a measure to…” but nothing that bites hard enough.

CD: Yes I mean, it’s going in the right direction. Well hey, I hope it’s going in the right direction, right? Back to what we were saying in the previous episode about making history, the small stuff versus the real stuff, passing on the baby to the next Commission, etc. I don’t think anyone in this Commission will be remembered as someone who drastically changed the game.

EM: More like E.U. politics as usual?

CD: Yeah.

EM: Okay, what’s next?

CD: What’s next? Well we keep up the fight! the problem is not going to solve itself and every single joule of energy we can mobilise is vital. Every gram of plastic we can avoid consuming, reuse or in last resort send to recycling

EM: True recycling-

CD: -Indeed, is a step in the right direction.

EM: Yeah but who else can we mobilise? Who are the people or organisations that have real leverage in the story?

CD: Uh…industry you mean?

EM: I don’t know…. Yeah, like, a company like Procter & Gamble puts X billion products on the market everyday, what are they doing? And the oil industry? Isn’t plastic production their new brainchild now since they know that oil for fuel is going to disappear eventually?  

CD: Shhhh Eleen, be careful, you’re going to get us in trouble. We can tell the truth but not too loud. Because you’re putting your finger on the real problem here.

EM: Yeah but it feels no one wants to talk about this?!

CD: Should we?

EM: Aren’t we supposed to go to the root of the issues we investigate?

CD: Okay,, so we should go and see what industry has to say then.

EM: I think we should

CD: Can we try to do this with an open mind and no preconceived ideas?

EM: No preconceived ideas? You mean as if our industry and our societies’ economic model are not the real root cause of all this?

CD: I mean, like trying to understand how those guys are thinking, for real, without judgement. Then we let our listeners draw their own conclusions.

EM: Sure! But you’re going to need to double up on meditation.

CD: What do you mean?

EM: It’s going to be way too tempting for you to make spicy comments.

CD: No, I’ll be fine. It’s part of the game, we need to be open to all perspectives out there. We cannot say we know better why and how, just like this.

EM: Alright!

[17:31]

EM: Whew! I really feel like we’re not done solving all this.

CD: But we are patient, Eleen. Good things take time.

EM: Yes! And to all our listeners: you should know this series is going to keep unfolding during the year, sometimes other themes will be published in between,

CD: We publish when we have something solid.

EM: Yes, so stay tuned – hopefully we can help you look at all this in a new way.

CD: We’ll be back soon with more green knowledge, inspiration and hopefully less plastic. Keep up the good work in the meantime!

END