Green figures: discovering the closed-loop economy at the WA Greens state conference

The phrase I dislike the most is “don’t be a statistic,” because no matter what you do you will always be in someone’s spreadsheet: the only thing that varies is the column in which you get placed. Roughly this time last year, having followed along on Twitter as the Senate passed the first batch of national security legislation on 25 September, I finally decided I needed to take some control over where I was counted – so I joined the Greens.

I haven’t been a very active member, but I’ve been to a few meetings and met some energising people along the way. I’ve been surprised at how much healthier the decision-making processes in the party are compared to many other organisations I’ve been involved with in the past – and that’s not to say the others necessarily had anything wrong with them, but it does rather flip you into a new paradigm when your work is consensus-driven and rests on the four key pillars (ie. memes, fair trade lattes, SmartRiders and First Dog On The Moon comics).

So it’s getting close to my first anniversary as a Green (greeniversary? there has to be an existing portmanteau, surely?), and as it happens this weekend was the WA Greens conference. This is where members and supporters come together to discuss grassroots campaigning and policy-making, with updates from state and federal politicians and some poetry performances also thrown in. In addition to being volunteered for a few things (and who doesn’t like the sense of purpose you get from that?), I found myself inexplicably interested in the Green Economy- section of the WA 2.0 plan (‘inexplicably’, because the economy is a machine of inequality and I’m a nice, artsy person, right?). I wasn’t the only one feeling such unfamiliar stirrings: the economy talk was packed. Senators-sitting-on-the-floor- packed.

At the core of Green Economy is the need to recognise the economy is something that serves society and the environment, rather than the other way around. Where this gets really interesting is in trying to develop a closed-loop (or circular/regenerative) economy:  here the idea of ‘waste’ becomes redundant, because the outputs of, for example, a manufacturing process are fed back into the environment or used in further technological development. It’s biomimicry in economics, which I didn’t even realise was a thing two days ago – yet here I am at midnight, wading through things like the Manifesto and Recommendations for a Resource-Efficient Europe and “Measuring China’s Circular Economy”. I may be shifting into another column again.

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By the by(-election), if you live in Canning, remember to vote for Vanessa Rauland on September 19.

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