TED talks: paper beats plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore: Leyla Acaroglu

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With a rising global population, greater demand in consumerism and many tightly-held green myths, ecological systems are expected to face grave pressures in the coming decades. Leyla Acaroglu, designer and sustainability strategist, discusses how we can rethink environmental folklore in this week’s featured TED talk.

“Everything at some point comes from nature and it’s how you use the material that dictates the environmental impact”, says Acaroglu.

She describes “Environmental folklore [… as] that little voice at the back of your head, or that gut feeling you get when you’ve done the right thing”

“Environmental folklore is a really important thing, because we’re trying to do the right thing. But how do we know if we’re actually reducing the net environmental impacts that our actions as individuals and as professionals and as a society are actually having on the natural environment?”

She describes the “complex systems” in which we live – the human system, which consists of our interactions and societal structures, the industrial system, which represents the whole of the economy, and most importantly, the ecological system – the planet – in which the former two must operate.

We have to find ways if we’re actually going to address sustainability of interlocking those complex systems and making better choices that result in net environmental gains. What we need learn is how to do more with less”.