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Learning together in the circular transition

A circular economy by 2050. So reads the well-known collective dot on the horizon. As clear and familiar as this goal is, the route to it is unknown and uncertain. The fact that we cannot simply map out this route leads to much uncertainty, chaos and fear; because who is going to ensure that we achieve this goal and what needs to be phased out and built up to achieve it?

During Circular Economy Week, the Circular Skills Meetup joined hands to get a handle on the transition and the skills it requires. Those involved from education, government and business learned together about the transition. Because a systemic change can only be brought about if we look together at what is needed for this.

The day was kicked off by Carien van der Have, from DRIFT for Transitions. She taught us that transitions are usually the result of an untenable situation. Chaos ensues and shock-wise we try to change, taking into account structures, cultures and ways of working. Along the way, we encounter persistent problems and must be willing to pause for deliberate dismantling to create space for building new things. The chaos in transitions is exciting, but putting ourselves and others in the power of their roles moves us forward. Central to this are resilience, skills, connection and autonomy.

With the knowledge of transition thinking under our belt, we thought about what a circular society in 2050 should look like. In this way, we created a shared picture of the future and found out what we can dismantle, rebuild and build in the process. Examples that surfaced in this are dismantling (financially) short-term thinking; an economy that takes little account of external effects; repeating the same lessons and forms of work, rebuilding qualification dossiers; a curriculum in which sustainability is integrally embedded; and building co-creation with the environment; learning communities; and training for multiple value creation (people, planet, profit).

In the practical work on this theme, we regularly encounter situations where there is friction. The trick is to transform this frustration into an opportunity, in order to accelerate to the next transition phase. Therefore, we actively sought out the friction within education, government, business and especially in the cooperation between these. For example, the fear of change was mentioned: everyone wants to do something with circularity, but the uncertainty causes a certain reticence which slows down the transition. How can we turn this into an opportunity? There are several knobs we can turn to move forward in the transition, such as new legislation; harnessing the tension for social attention; and cooperative working around manageable and clear issues in the transition. Thinking and working in "islands" can also cause chafing. There are many initiatives around the theme, but how do we ensure connection? Also discussed was a possible role of education in teaching young people how to deal with the circular, as well as other, transitions. For example, listening to each other, understanding the obstacles of the other, reflecting on your own behavior

A circular economy in 2050. The dot on the horizon still as clear, the route to it still as unknown. One conclusion of the day is that we cannot remove this uncertainty. It is part and parcel of a transition. This day has brought fresh energy to work together. To work with deliberate dismantling, experimenting with new ideas and developing the necessary skills. This on the basis of love, trust and a forward-looking outlook. Together we will look at what the world needs and how you can use your role to prepare the learning generation for tomorrow's future. Then in 2050 we will surely come together in a circular society to work on the next goal!

Tekening meetup

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