26 March 2021 | 4 minutes.

Circular perspectives for linear mindsets: Interview with Doryn Negesa

China implemented policies through its reform plans making China a frontrunner in circular economy legislation.

Photo: Andreas Felske, Unsplash


Doryn Negesa
PhD Researcher

Doryn Negesa, PhD Researcher

How did linear thinking succeed in dominating our mental infrastructure? What can be done to change the linear mind-set of corporate and political leaders, and what should consumers do if they want to move away from a linear culture, linear products and a linear lifestyle?

REVOLVE Circular spoke with four innovative thinkers from India, Switzerland, Uganda and the USA to hear their circular views. Doryn Negesa is a Ugandan Doctoral Researcher at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Her focus is on the sustainable development of eco-industrial parks in Africa. She believes that sustainability and a circular economy are the key to redefining Africa’s economic development.

Please allow us to start with a big question, or rather two: What is wrong with the linear economy? Since when?

The linear economy undermines biodiversity. There is a take-make-dispose mentality where the linear economy assumes a constant supply of natural resources. The linear way fuels a culture of excessive consumption and creates more waste than is sustainable in the long-term. The biggest problem with the linear economy is on ecology and the economy; the ecological downside is that the production of goods is at the expense of the sustainability of the ecosystem, and the economic downside is on the prices of raw materials as they fluctuate due to scarce materials and geopolitical dependence on different materials. In 1976, Walter Stahel published the research report “The Potential for Substituting Manpower for Energy” in which he outlined a vision for a closed-loop economy, the cradle to cradle. The concept is to create industrial systems that are not efficient, but also waste-free. With the circular economy, the by-product of one species can easily provide the feedstock for another, leading to resource efficiency.