I will be away for about two weeks, traveling in Europe. I will try to blog from there, but am not sure I will have access to the internet.
I am going to the 5th biennial International Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology in Lisbon, and then a side trip to visit friends in Switzerland. I have been the Executive Director of the Society since its inception and am stepping down from this position at the meeting. Industrial ecology is founded on the idea that industrial systems resemble ecosystems in terms of the flows of energy and materials from organisms (firms), but with one big difference. The material flow patterns in ecosystems are mostly closed contrasted to the open flows in industrial systems. Most everything we would call wastes in an industrial system become feedstock in a natural system. The field began with the premise that, if product and production cycles could be designed to resemble the networks in nature, the production of goods and services would reduce its damaging effects on the environment.