All human-made circular economies mimic the natural circular economies that I blog about here. Insofar as they are able to create an unbroken circle, they are sustainable. Any break in the circle is a drain that eventually causes failure.
Market economies have so many breaks that they are endless ups and downs. The downs are where integral parts of the economy fall out and they drop away. Coming back up entails inputting new outside sources to create a new up. It requires new players.
Example: my property in Texas was part of a cotton boom that busted when the soil was depleted and no longer grew cotton. The cotton boom moved away and the land and people were discarded. The land owner tried to join the cattle boom. The soil was so poor that few cattle could be grazed on it and they were not healthy. Veterinary bills and supplements took any thought of profits away.
Arsenic used on cotton fields poisoned both cattle and wildlife. Arsenic shipped in and spilled at the railroad station poisoned about a third of the town’s population and those who didn’t die are on government disability. The profit boom received by BigAg (manufacturers took most) is still being paid for in human illness and missing wildlife. All those cotton jobs moved on.
The area is on the toxic cleanup list for the Federal Government (taxpayers) to replace the soil. Has been on the list for decades. One problem with that style of cleanup is the deep (15′ at my property) vertisol clay soil. Its natural expansion and contraction mixes that 15′ layer and you cannot pull 6 inches off and be done with it. I used arsenic accumulator plants that will pull the arsenic out of the soil. When mature, it is cut, burned, and barreled so it can be sent to a factory and reduced to arsenic again. Arsenic that will be used to destroy another place.
The cost of this destruction was never charged back against those who spread arsenic over millions of acres or profited from it. Plant remediation takes years, and the land is unproductive the whole time. If the cost were paid by the profiteer, arsenic for cotton plant defoliation would never have happened. No money in it.
Corporate desire to make profits by having others pay the costs involved is called “Externalizing Costs” in business textbooks and it is taught in Universities as optimal business practice.
Environmentalists fight a losing battle against these obvious and well known practices because those hurt the most need the jobs and vote for destruction.
All three groups are correct in their assertions: 1) businesses cannot make massive profits unless they push the cost onto someone else; 2) people need jobs in order to meet all their needs in a market economy; and 3) environmentalists see the damage and say it must stop.
Without a solution for the people trapped in a market economy predicated on Externalizing Costs, people vote against environmentalists.
What is the solution? The 6th Extinction.
An extinction event that has mass human die off solves the problem one way. I prefer working for a different solution. I cannot control 7 billion people; however many of those people are adding their amazingly creative solutions.
So many natural circular economies have been broken worldwide that we are in a Sixth Extinction, like it or not. What does that mean for me? Probably the death of myself, my son, his wife, and my two grandchildren.
What can I do about it? Not fix the whole thing, for sure. Big fixes will not come from corporations that profit from Externalizing Costs, nor those government officials that are paid to keep it going as long as possible for those corporations. Status quo is comfortable for profiteers and change is not.
Thousands of small businesses are started every day. Many are committed to circular economies in their hometowns that are sustainable. It matters to them that they defy the Externalizing Costs model in their hometowns and be part of the community.
People though… each of us can make changes that make a difference. 7 billion changes make a bigger difference than government or corporations can stop.
This blog is about my changes. I can sign petitions and vote, but more importantly I can take my money from the market economy and add it to my energy in order to strengthen the natural circular economy I live in today.
I am learning to use what is available and not throw money on all problems. By making simple changes over several decades, my need for market economy money is one-third what it was ten years ago.
It started decades ago in a large city where I planted forest guilds and by feeding myself, my family, and supplementing other families’ food, I reduced global shipping by a good amount. By encouraging others to food garden, I spread that massive gain. The loss to corporate monoculture reduces the poisons spewed into the environment, forces chemical companies to look elsewhere, reduces reliance on oil, and so on. Amazing how subversive growing a garden can be Add native food plants, improve your soil, use tree guilds, permaculture processes, and you are putting a ding in the Sixth Extinction.
I ramped it up by adding chickens, and rabbits will come soon. Both can be grown in town gardens, my son’s neighbors in Seattle are already adding gardens, chickens, and rabbits. Even better, they are trading back and forth.
I have five acres of Not Farmland. I am encouraging my Food Forest, which is a natural circular economy; and I have an organic garden close to my house. Together, they will feed me. They already feed multitudes of wildlife. The small things feed the peak animals like bear, wolf, coyote, puma, bobcat.
I do other things: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Buying American has already pushed a few global megacorporations to bring a small amount of manufacturing back to the US.
You will not see this on mainstream media but it is on blogs, other media, and in your neighborhood. It takes a bit more effort to find it, but do take the effort. It is heartening to read and may inspire a small change in your relationship to our world.
I have been amazed at the number of people who want to buy produce from me. Eggs too. Am I a farmer? Not at all. I come from a strong hunter gatherer background. I am a polyculturalist and if I have another 4 square feet of garden, I will plant something that fills a hole in my diet and nutrition instead of extra tomatoes for you.
If you have a huge patch of inedible grass I might give you a free fruit tree and help you plant it. I might give you a couple herb plants to tuck into your flower border. Giving trees away is how I earned the name Treeseed. I am not Fannie Farmer.
Will creating circular economies in manufacturing make a difference? Of course.
Tending our personal space and creating natural circular economies will sustain us in a more powerful way because when manufacturing fails us (proven by continual busts for hundreds of years), our natural circular economies keep us fed. Our Sixth Extinction shows how far we have moved away from our natural circular economies that can sustain us even if all manufacturing disappears. If our natural home dissapears, manufacturing cannot sustain us.
Adding a blueberry bush and apple tree in Seattle… a prickly pear and apricot tree in Albuquerque, a raspberry bush and plum tree in Dallas, all together makes a huge difference to us and wildlife.
Add one edible perennial plant each summer and see your garden grow.