Reading: Hydra Island towards Sustainability- Keira Young

After learning about sustainability and visiting hydra I would never have guessed that they face sustainability problems. They don’t really use any cars besides a few garbage trucks, everything is really walkable, they use donkeys as transportation, and everything seems so simple and clean there. However there does seem to be some sustainability issues after all. I think it is amazing that they want to improve this island! 

The island of Hydra only economic activity occurs from tourists. Which means most occupations revolve around tourists activity as well. Unfortunately there has been a significant decline in visitors over the years. Some issues they face is that there is a scarcity for water where water comes from a water boat that transports water from the mainland. A solution that they are aiming for is to switch to wind power to generate electricity and pump water to the reservoir. They are also investigating the possibility of collecting rainwater. Their power and energy source is also unsustainable since it is lignite fuelled power stations. A possible solution is wind and solar power or wave power. Solar panels are actually banned on the island due to it being historic. Hydra’s waste is another main concern as it is all dumped in one area then set on fire creating hazardous waste leakage in the sea and soil. An approach to fix this is to reduce plastic and other waste. There is a need to manage land usage due to unoccupied second homes and abandoned properties. The land could be better used to plant making it more self-sufficient. They are planning to create a survey to explore the island’s education and employment. There is a need for more job opportunities for soon graduates. A major issue on the island is transportation. Even though without automobiles the island is more sustainable, it is not ideal for the island. Without any airport or access to helicopters the only access to the island is the sea and their main ferry Hellenic Seaways. Fixing these problems will make the island so much more sustainable and improve the island overall. This is important for future generations and respecting the environment of the whole community. Thankfully since this research has been created in the past 10 years sustainability has become a priority for the island.

Circular economy-Keira Young

According to the reading a circular economy is “an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design.” Due to all of the waste recycling is no longer enough, and having a circular economy is the best solution. Our currency industrial economy uses the linear process. This means that instead the end of a product cycle leads to becoming waste or “thrown away.” The great amount of emissions and waste the linear process creates is extremely harmful to our environment.  However using a circular economy would mean that minimal material becomes waste and instead is reused and becomes raw materials to become something new. A circular economy eliminates waste and pollution and anything that has a negative impact on human health and natural systems. It avoids the use of fossil fuels and non-renewable resources by only using renewable resources. The circular economy was designed and refined by a mixed group of academics and not given credit to one person in particular. The circular economy also follows the “cradle to cradle” approach in the idea that nothing is wasted, everything is transformed into something new. The aim of the circular economy is to reduce waste and emissions while improving the environment. Regeneration constantly occurs as products get renewed and replenished by going through a new lifecycle. This regeneration will help improve the stability of scarce resources being used. The circular economy ensures that we will respect our finite resources while still having enough food, water, shelter, heating and so much more! The reason why the circular economy isn’t that well known and used is because it requires a lot of changes and causes a lot of obstacles for companies to overcome. There is a lack of awareness, economic viability, policies, and technology to implement a circular economy. Some materials are not able to be recycled indefinitely as well. 

It definitely seems like a lot of hard work to reconstruct a business to make it more sustainable, but Dr. Daan Elffers came up with four simple steps to begin! The first step or phase is to set goals and create an action plan. During this phase you will be able to align your goal and circular economy with your company’s core values. Next step is educating and activating your organization. This occurs by providing training to motivate employees to achieve your goals. The next phase is to innovate and optimize by analyzing the materials and see if they need to be improved. Lastly, you have to engage and share ambitions with everyone inside and outside of the company.