Exponential Change

 

Say there's a piece of algae that doubles in size every day. Let's say in 30 days that algae grows to cover the entire surface of a pond. Which day of the month was half of the pond covered by algae? 

If today were day 30, half the pond was covered just yesterday, on day 29. Why? Exponential growth. Some of the most basic organisms on earth live by this. Given, infinite resources and left to their own devices, they'll ramp up. 

NASA published some jaw dropping data recently. It shows that February 2016 was the hottest month on record, beating January 2016 (the previous record holder) by an equally alarming margin. What's worrisome is that most models follow these same exponential curves as the algae in pond. Massive change comes seemingly overnight. Our earth is a biological system and will behave as such. 

Last year alone, we gorged ourselves on the equivalent of 1.5x worth of earth's biocapacity. Assuming the current trajectory, by 2050 we'll be consuming 3x worth of earth's capacity annually.   

The really good news is we absolutely have the capacity to fix this by taking a systems based approach to designing sustainable, regenerative solutions to this environmental emergency. 

Subscription box services, like the one here at Cozey 7 exemplify one such solution. The diagram below explains it as "Netlfix of Clothing" which is rather accurate. 

Children's clothing represents a disproportionate amount of waste contributed to our landfills annually because of children's growth rates. Having the ability to more effectively loop these garments and increase their total lifecycle will have profound effects. By looping one of our garments through the system just one additional time will reduce the environmental impact by 50%. Having three successful loops reduces the impact of that one garment by 75%.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimated the value of an "advanced" circular economy scenario – the basis for our business model. Their detailed product-level modelling showed that for fast-moving consumer goods (e.g. food & beverages, clothing and packaging), the economic opportunity was estimated at more than USD $700 billion annually on a global scale, or materials savings of roughly 20% by 2020.  

Simple systems based approaches to the way we use our resources can make a profound impact on the world we live in. Better understanding the way exponential growth works offers a compelling argument to make seemingly minor, better decisions profoundly powerful.

 

 

Effects of Nature on Children

When I was 3yrs old, I wanted to be a garbage man. Tuesday mornings, as my mom drew a hot bath, I sat outside naked on the front steps waiting for a beautiful machine to rumble around the corner – the giant green garbage truck. I was absolutely enamored by this achievement of humanity. Listening to the humming, spitting, clunking, whizzing, spooling up and down. Watching it lurch forward, swaying gently side to side, powerfully swinging hundreds of pounds of trash skyward into its stomach. It was a fabulous, energizing sight to behold. 

I imagined myself as one of the giant's caretakers. Suited in a yellow vest, with crisp white gloves like a bellman, gently feeding it, making sure it got every ounce of nourishment from the street. It was my dream job!

As quickly as it came, the giant and its keepers swept around the next corner.  "Can't wait for next week." I always thought. 

My attention would open, and shift instead to my best friend who I always sat with. His name was "Roly Poly." To this day, I have had no more reliable friend than him. Tuesday mornings, or 4th of July evening, he was always happy to play. Even better, he always brought friends. Tons of them. What I loved, perhaps even more than my future dream job, was that Roly Poly came around whenever I wanted. Not just at one scheduled time and place. He was literally everywhere, always. With just a little looking, I'd find him with his pals in tow waiting for me – under rocks mostly, but sometimes strolling in the sun, or adventuring through the grass near a drainage ditch. A loyal, devoted friend indeed.

Sometimes my other friend came around too, Chris Alley. We did business together. Marching around, we'd look for the best rocks we could find. Gathering them, always in the presence of Roly Poly, taking great care not to stomp on him, and we'd pile our incredible finds in the front yard. Then, we'd grab my favorite water color set, and slather them in the most beautiful color palates we could think of. 

Rock was a great canvas. So many nooks, crannies, variations in color and texture. Painting rocks really tested our skills to create scenic Serengeti landscapes, purple tailed comets, or lovely abstracts. 

Together, we'd them put them on display for all the world to see, and sell them to esteemed clients for top dollar. Usually fetching $0.01-$0.05 per piece. Sometimes we felt philanthropic, and donated them to Roly Poly. Outside in my front yard we were the richest, most powerful, creative men the world had seen. I hadn't even become a garbage man yet.

 

I write this story, in conjunction with that video to illustrate how wonderful it is to be a child playing outside. Limitless imagination and creative execution provides abundance and fulfillment beyond comprehension.  

My goal with Cozey 7, is to help ensure that as many kids as possible, get the same opportunity to dream like I did. Regularly bathed in sunshine and fresh air, I give more credit to where I am now, to my adventures in the front yard than anything else I've yet experienced. 

Why Our Subscription Service Matters: The Circular Economy

As it stands, our economy is linear. We take resources, make them into a product, sell that to our customer, who then disposes of it. To do that again, we must start the process again from the beginning. 

Let’s think for a moment what that process means. At scale, in order for that linear “take, make, and dispose” system to be effective, it relies on large quantities of easily accessible resources and energy, and as such is increasingly reaching its physical limits on earth. 

What if we could bend that line process, instead connecting the two end points to make a circle? It’s called a circular economy. Pioneered by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, they provide essential framework foundations for an effective transition from our current linear extractive (take, make, and dispose) economy into a regenerative circular economy. 

Three principles encapsulate this new economy.

  • Preserve and enhance natural capital
  • Optimize resource yields by circulating products
  • Foster system effectiveness by revealing and designing out negative externalities.

 

At Cozey 7, we internalized this circular value system – and we’re implementing it through our subscription box service. 

Instead of purchasing a new garment each time our garments no longer fit, we'll take the garment back (sending a new one back that fits, of course) clean & sanitize without using water (thanks to our friends at Tersus), and send the garment out to another family for use. Treating clothing as a long term asset allows for looping, extending the lifetime through multiple cycles. This is a fundamental change to the way the vast majority of apparel companies treat their products. Look towards "fast fashion" as an example at the opposite end of the spectrum. 

Our subscription service is a manifestation of deploying a solution that embraces circular economic values, delivering customers improved value and service while simultaneously using fewer resources than ever before. 

We hope our vision is compelling for anyone concerned with the current trajectory of the global economy and the limited amount of time we have to make significant changes and augment that path towards a robust environmentally regenerative system for our children.