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Re-Designing Molecules, Materials, and Markets for the Anthropocene (The Millenium Cafe Series)

I am speaking at The Millenium Cafe series this week (Tuesday) are invited. This is a really interesting effort by Josh Stapleton and others at the Materials Research Institute to foment cross-disciplinary conversations. Dan Guide, Smeal Chaired Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management, is also speaking as part of this "Designing for Sustainability" Series.

Humans are having an impact on our planet’s life-support systems - from the climate and oceans to land itself. The magnitude is such that scientists have claimed we are in a new geologic epoch—the Anthropocene—the age of the humans. This represents a pivotal time in both planetary and human history. In response, we must evolve our thinking and designing of industrial production-consumption systems.

The most consequential shift is to what is being called the “circular economy”: biomimetic materials and processes that feed either technical or biological nutrient loops. These aren’t “zero waste” systems but rather perpetually value-adding “nutrient management systems.” This talk will introduce the audience to the “circular economy” and closed-loop systems with key insights from business research, explore a current business example/case study, and offer thoughts on opportunities to be addressed.

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