Circular Economy Reading Willbrand

A circular economy is an economy that works to reduce waste to the smallest amount possible because everything is continually reused to the best of the firm’s ability and stops the linear reduce-reuse-recycle pattern that inevitably creates more waste. The linear economy does not work because when a product’s life cycle ends so abruptly, it makes waste pile up. Unfortunately, people do not recycle as much as they should, and even if a product is recycled, it usually loosed much of its functionality and only goes through one recycling cycle. A circular economy solves this and is heralded as the best solution for the environment from an economic and supply chain lens as it gives as many pieces of an item a reusable and life functional life for as long as possible.

These kinds of economies work very simply. According to the reading, there are three simple steps: designing out waste, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating living systems. Firms that employ this method live by these steps to make things as sustainable as they can. Designing out waste essentially means that all portions of a product have been engineered not to harm the human experience in any way. This includes the emission of unnecessary greenhouse gases and traffic congestion. This could look like a company utilizing electric cars to get materials from one place to another or not using plastic in packaging but opting for something else. The second step is really just about encouraging as many reusable parts of products as possible to give these materials a long and useful life. The third step is really about focusing on using renewable resources and not squandering the limited supply of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources.

This economy goes hand in hand with the concept of cradle-to-cradle business models. It essentially seems like a different name for a circular economy but on a smaller scale within a firm. The amount of businesses, especially within the European Union, working towards a cradle-to-cradle approach is incredibly promising and inspiring. Getting to read business plans gave me a new level of respect for companies that make this a main aim.

At the end of the day, society needs to realize that recycling is not working. SO few things actually get recycled. effectively ad it is a pointless and fruitless system. Slowly transitioning over to a circular economy is the only chance at rea hope society has to beat the climate crisis and start rehabilitating our planet to a point where wildfires are not globally catastrophic anymore.

Speakers Willbrand

I really enjoyed getting to hear from both the speaker at the embassy and the speaker from the ACG office of sustainability. All of these women were incredibly insightful and opened up so many new perspectives to me.

I loved hearing what the sustainability office is doing and how they are incorporating so many wonderful ideas into the college as a whole. What really interested me about her presentation was when she talked about implementing the ability to bring reusable plates and cups to university dining and how students ( I believe) could get a discount on food if they brought their own materials. I really resonated with her talking about how nobody pays attention to flyers or posters on campus, and really, the only way to spread this kind of information is through word of mouth and such. Having an on-campus position at CofC, I have experienced much of the same frustration. Speaking of CofC, I believe if we implemented some of her policies, I think there would be a decent amount of people who take advantage of these policies.

Speaking of policy, when she spoke about the fundraising team’s reluctance to accept donations from questionable companies, it reminded me of a paper I wrote for my Arts Policy class about gift acceptance policies and how important these types of policies are for an organization. Setting boundaries with donors is an incredibly important- and sustainable- practice that needs to be utilized more in the nonprofit field as a whole. I also found it really interesting when she spoke about how the university tries to follow best practices of US schools and how that plays into what they program.

As for the embassy speaker, I loved her talking about the office of commerce positions that are available and how that ties into business. If I ever decide to move abroad, I could see myself potentially doing something similar. It seems to be a really fulfilling position where you get to make an actual change. I loved her talking about how she works with the film agencies to get different films authorized and produced here in Greece. Also, the way she acts as a liaison between different countries and their marketing teams. That office seems like a real asset, and I am incredibly glad that I know about it now; in the case, I am ever part of a firm that wants to expand overseas, I can reach out to them in the case of need.

US Embassy/ACG Office of Sustainability Speaker

Both of the guest speakers that came into our Supply Chain Management class brought insightful information on the topic of sustainability in Greece as well as the US embassy. The guest speaker regarding sustainability at the American College of Greece was super passionate about the topic and provided good insight into how the college has been changing its campus. She explained how they have a sustainability club on campus, which encourages everybody to join in keeping the sustainability conversation relevant. Also, the guest speaker mentioned how the college is fighting for the usual renewable water bottle on campus, as she mentioned it is more common for students from the United States to carry reusable water bottles around. She said that plastic water bottles are very popular in their culture. However, this is obviously very detrimental to the environment. She explained how the campus will have to build water stations, which can be costly, so that is their current hurdle. It was amazing to hear how passionate the speaker was about this topic and how she knows there is a lot of work to be done on campus.

I found the guest speakers from the US Embassy incredibly fascinating, and I was so excited to hear everything they had to say about their lines of work. The lady was explaining how she had to intention of working for the government during or even after college, but as she gained her experience, she realized it might be something she’d be interested in. She explained the application process to the Embassy and how she got rejected several times but had to work with the system in order to eventually become accepted. She provided helpful advice regarding applying for jobs, and I admired her dedication and focus. She went on to describe the lifestyle of the employees in the Embassy, and I was completely shocked by how much traveling and moving it requires. She told us that employees are required to move every 4 years, around the world, to various locations. She explained that when you have a family, it is obviously more challenging however the Embassy provides great accommodations for a family. For example, the government will pay for the children to go to school, so the kids end up going to prestigious private schools. She also explained how the government pays for various expenses such as housing, travel, and education, so the job comes with many perks. Hearing her story taught me that it takes a specific person to do this occupation, and even though the pay might not be the best, the benefits that come with traveling around the world are worth it.


Hydra Island towards Sustainability – Sydney Larsen

Hydra was my favorite island when we visited this trip. I thought it was quiet, clean, and so beautiful, some of that had to be due to the island’s sustainability practices. The first things you notice about the island are the lack of crowds, and abundance of boats and donkeys. 

There are only three forms of transportation on the island. Those include garbage trucks, donkeys and water taxis. There are no airports and no large hotel chains, creating a destination that doesn’t attract masses of tourists. For those that do know about the island and make the trip by ferry, such as myself, you’re so lucky to experience the change of pace. The island is divided into two sides, one is the business community. The business community consists of visitors and residents. The other side is those that make up the environmentalists. Those that fear that visitors and holiday houses will affect their minimalist lifestyle. I can understand both sides. There needs to be some form of economic activity but if that increases too much it takes away from the charm of the island. I do not think the island needs to build an airport, the tourist activity can come from those that choose to seek it out. Hydra is a hidden gem and those that find it will find the trip worth it. That handful of people will bring in revenue to keep the business afloat. Although I was unaware that there is still a risk the visit can be dangerous, even though the island feels safer then more popular ones – such as Mykonos or Santorini. I felt very safe during my afternoon in Hydra, however we can not turn a blind eye to the incidents that do take place. The article mentioned that there has been sexual assaults involving female tourists, and even gang activity. I’m not surprised because these events are so common these days, but I felt safe there as I do on Nantucket so that made it a little shocking. The security and police presence in Greece seems to be lacking. Not only on Hydra but also in Athens you never saw any police in public. It was a little scary to know that if you called for help it’s likely there would be no immediate response. 

Overall although Hydra is lacking infrastructure, they live a simpler lifestyle. There are future plans to raise awareness to locals of all the possibilities to the island. The plan would focus on water supply and energy, as well as basic education and waste management. Hydra is just looking to update with the rest of society.

Hydra Island towards Sustainability- Julia Skladzinski

At first glance Hydra seems like paradise, it is a small beautiful island that has no cars, no airport, and all the restaurants and hotels are small businesses that are often family owned. So obviously my first impression of Hydra was that it was the perfect place as it was so beautiful and sustainable, but unfortunately after reading the article on Hydra I was wrong. I was stunned to learn that they burn all of their garbage, and these fires from summer can be seen until november. All the wastewater is dumped into the ocean at night, which pollutes the beautiful blue waters. 

As I mentioned Hydra is a gorgeous island with its natural beauty so it obviously attracts many tourists like myself but unfortunately the massive amounts of tourists are corrosive and destructive. Hydra is not sustainable and it promotes the island to its advantage at the price of the island’s sustainability. As a result of this only a small population benefits and gets wealthy while the other half is harmed because of tourism. The main employment relies on tourism which unfortunately pays low and is a seasonal occupation, other jobs on the island that have a low economic benefit such as fishing and agriculture are crashing because of the touristic jobs. Although tourism brings money most of it does not actually stay where it is generated. As this small island gets more popular there are plans to expand its ports and coastlines to bring in bigger cruise ships which will just cause more damage to the island, you can see how in Mykonos and Santonrini thousands of tourists flock the island everyday and prices increase and the authenticity of the island diminishes. 

As these issues rise the younger generations of Hydra can not see a future for themselves on the island but instead a place for the older folks to retire and live on. Unfortunately Hydra can not rely on the higher ups such as the government to come save the island from simply becoming economic profit but instead it needs help from the bottom up, of the people living there that want and need changes. 

As a tourist I loved visiting Hydra and appreciated it more than Mykonos as it was smaller, less touristy, and more authentic. I would love to visit Hydra again in the future and I do not want it to change and become more commercialized because I believe this will ruin the island and what many love about it.