Piyush Dhawan, a Humboldt Fellow and German Chancellor Fellow, is the co-founder of The Circular Collective. He has worked in the field of biodiversity conservation and SDGs for over a decade, and with The Circular Collective, he wants to rethink what ‘growth’ means for India.
Climate Change is real and so is biodiversity loss. We are living in an anthropocene era where many of the places we currently live are faced with a double whammy of toxic air pollution and poisonous water. Imagine that the two things humans need for survival, air and water, are now toxic and are found in containers.
I was born in New Delhi and a couple of years ago, I was forced to move from the city owing to the rising and unbearable air pollution. The world’s 10 fastest-growing cities are in India! The economist in me says it’s a great thing and we would be the powerhouse of the world! The environmentalist in me, however, is rather sceptical. I wish to change this paradigm and hence I am on a lifelong mission to make cities liveable. Last year I was awarded the German Chancellor Fellowship on the topic of Circular Economy. I wish to make things happen in India and I strongly believe that we need to find an alternative method of growth. Mindless consumerism is not a sustainable way to live especially in cities where more than half the population of the world currently reside. We need to rethink the way we live. We take resources from the ground to make products, which we use, and, when we no longer want them, we throw them away. Take-make-waste. We call this a linear economy. We must transform all the elements of the take-make-waste system: how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving economy that can benefit everyone within the limits of our planet.
A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
A circular India can help unlock efficiencies, opening up urgent investment opportunities and delivering environmental, economic and social gains. I have recently started the The Circular Collective with the aim to facilitate, activate and enable discussions for a circular economy in India.
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