Circular Humansphere

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The aim of the Circular Humansphere is to improve our decisions-making process aiming at preserving the ‘Life Equation’ on Earth. This Life Equation is based on 4 strategies and 3 set of priorities as described below.

The Circular Humansphere helps us focus on addressing human needs thanks to system circularity with the aim of guaranteeing well-being for all. If there is a next economy following Natural cycles, we need to ensure it is designed for all of us so that we all thrive within it.

To achieve this the suggestion is to insert a Circular Humansphere:

- within a Circular Economy framework to reward all abundances and preserves what is scarce;

- within Sustainable Development Goals action plan since a Circular Humansphere designs - not only waste and pollution - but also inequalities, poverty and greed out of human systems;

- within Amartya Sen's Human Development concept as preserving quality of our stocks and - at the same level of urgency - its equitable access to all can help strengthen community capabilities and choices;

- lastly, next to the Doughnut Economy as the Circular Humansphere - within a circular economy - could be considered as a tool to reach out to the "Safe and Just Space for Humanity" faster.

Alexandre Lemille:

"In the perspective of applying “circular thinking” to humans, they could play two new major roles in the reconstruction of our biosphere and in the revalorisation of our technosphere.

The Circular Humansphere completes the symbiotic vision of all our stocks and our available flows. It gives us additional choices in our truly innovative decisions to put in place.

Examining biological and human stocks initially would alleviate the pressures on the technical and therefore limited." (


Humansphere Strategies

Alexandre Lemille:

Based on these two new roles — “we are Nature” and “we are Energy” — four strategies can be identified connecting us with the other two spheres identified as circulars.

The first two strategies focus on our ability to change and therefore to adapt in depth to the two spheres to be preserved:

  • Adaptation and Valuation Strategies (behavioral change strategies). They consist in understanding our future roles in an economy of system context where humans will play several key roles in the preservation of the two spheres evolving under its impacts, positive or negative.
  • Evolution and Advancement3 Strategies (distance to circularity and to well-being strategies). They aim to measure our impacts in order to understand the return loops from biological (adaptation to ecosystems guaranteeing well-being) and technical spheres (advances in human well-being) over human one. They consist in evaluating the remaining distance to be traveled towards a circular and equitable world.

Adaptation Strategy (‘we are Nature’):

Here, we will seek to understand how humans will adapt to the growth of the biosphere, the only beneficial growth approach since desired. We could be inspired by the model of ants: they weigh more than all 7.6 billion people on the planet, yet rebuild our ecosystem every day. How could we develop a similar strategy merging ourselves to the biological world?

They could of course be the obvious massive collective actions (such as reforestation/ afforestation, regenerative agriculture, urban forests, reconstitution of wetlands and mangroves), but let us think further. And why not study our capacity to replace the disappearing environmental functions (human-assisted pollination, soil regeneration via humusation) until they reappear, and/or the development of new sciences reinforcing the ‘link with life’ by biomimetic (imitation of Natural cycles) and homomimetic (imitation of human cycles) approaches where humans could reconnect with Nature in order to rebuild it daily.

Valorisation Strategy (‘we are Energy’):

In this approach, energies from the biosphere and / or humans are favored. Indeed, to look at it, the renewable energies available also come from humans. Once we eat and sleep, we are energy available, distributed and working at ambient temperature acceptable to the biosphere. In approaches contrary to the productive-based principles of the past, these sources of biological or human energies will be favored in an economy focused on the reduction, repair, maintenance or reconstruction of the components involved in economic processes. A more balanced approach taking into account the human component is preferable to a binary approach between the biological and the technical. It would provide a third source of innovation, but also reduce the pressures on the two circular spheres identified so far, while increasing the resilience of long-term systems in a model that aims to be economically stationary (Bourg, Ansperger, 2016).

The following two strategies measure humanity’s advances towards the preservation of life on Earth on the basis of our deep enough adaptation (Evolution) while ensuring that system circularity aims to optimally respond to real human needs.

Evolution Strategy:

This strategy is intended to help us understand how to maintain “connection with life” on Earth. It represents the feedback loop of the effects we exert on the biological sphere and beyond. Obviously, this is more of a scientific slider on the state of the planet and adaptations to take into account in the preservation of conditions conducive to the lives of all its inhabitants.

We will need to develop and maintain the knowledge necessary for global circularity as well as estimating the distance between our current linear situation and the level of circularity to be achieved in an environmentally secure and socially just world.

Advancement3 Strategy (well-being = adaptation + valorisation):

This strategy consists of measuring the advances of humanity in three dimensions: creating an economic model that generates the well-being of all for all (our unifying global project) through our adaptation to the biosphere sufficiently deep (Adaptation Strategy) plus our ability to protect human value as an essential component to the preservation of the technosphere (valuing humans as available energy). Obviously, to be able to measure positive change across these three dimensions, we will have to change our legislation, our understanding of value, our behavior and decision-making on what will now be vital, the structuring of the costs to be taken into account in order to give preference to what is desired (namely the abundant resources and infinite energies available) and what is to be protected (limited or even endangered resources) or to be avoided (resources or energies putting humanity at risk)." (

Priorities of the future economic model.

Alexandre Lemille:

"This model will need to integrate all environmental, social and economic dimensions into a comprehensive symbiotic approach to regenerate, restore and protect. The first priority is to respond to all human needs through the circularity of systems in a model that eradicates all negative externalities step by step, while avoiding the rebound of consumption thanks to intergenerational governance.

Priority 1: The economy is a “tool” with the sole purpose of meeting the needs of people

... not imposing its economic goals on people (K. Polanyi, 1946). Such an economy must be designed in a symbiotic way to meet the needs of all human societies, thanks to the circularity of our systems. This circularity becomes here the means to achieve it, and not an end in itself.

Priority 2: access to services has the advantage over the ownership of objects

In an economic model where access to services has the advantage over the ownership of objects, the versatility and flexibility of these services would reduce economic barriers in order to integrate the one billion people who are not currently part of our economic system. It is in the very nature of a service that it is not only adaptable to the needs identified but also affordable, as versatile (compared to an economy based on standardized products, and therefore not flexible).

As Kate Pickett & Richard G. Wilkinson’s book “The Spirit Level” shows, businesses are doing better in more equitable societies.

Priority 3: The insertion of the human dimension into the circularity model

... now allows us to be an integral part of the “equation of life on Earth”, as a vital component of adaptation to the two circular spheres (Figure 2). This vision in complete symbiosis could allow us to evolve towards new perceptions and innovations in our ability to adapt to the ecosystem." ((

In conclusion

Alexandre Lemille:

"Such a perception of the world we depend on would also lead us to implement strategies that avoid a potential rebound in consumption. Changes in intrinsic behaviors could occur more quickly by integrating the human component into this new paradigm. An avoidance of such a rebound would be by decisions taken over the very-long-term based on the emerging science of “decentering” or “decentration”, as applied by the original tribes of the American continent ever since. “Decentration” is the ability to think of the place of future generations that are not yet born, to preserve life on Earth by deciding as if we were “these generations”.

To date, we have not been able to decide on the survival of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, both in our individual and collective decision making. Developing new capacities for decentralized collective governance that allows the survival of future generations would help us preserve life on this planet. Decentration, as described below, is a key component of an empathy-based model of governance where decisions taken will have to take place in a redefined space time allowing us to eliminate the human invented concept of greed (avoiding any consumption rebound appearing with any new economic revolution).

Such an equitable and circular economic model is built on the recognition that waste, pollution of the environmental dimension, and hence, their equivalents of the social dimension, namely, poverty, greed and inequities, exist only in human societies. They were created on a wrong conception of human life on Earth. This design needs to be readjusted.

According to the NASA-funded model HANDY (2014), humanity will only survive if it resolves two of its major problems: deep social inequality and poor resource management.

By integrating a Humansphere, an equitable circular economy could be one of the tools for reaching this environmentally safe and socially just space for human societies proposed by Dr. Kate Raworth, in Doughnut Economics.

Building an economy that is both “equitable” and “circular” seems like a wise choice, especially since equity makes business sense in a truly circular and therefore collaborative future economy.

And all this is achievable.


The Circular Humansphere applied to Circular Economy The Circular Humansphere and it 4 Strategies

The Circular Humansphere applied to Sustainable Development Goals A Symbiotic Approach to all 17 SDGs

The Circular Humansphere applied to Human Development The Circular Humansphere nurturing Human Development objectives

The Circular Humansphere as a strategy to reach out to the Doughnut Economy faster The Circular Humansphere as a strategy to the Doughnut Economy

More information

More information on this model: Alexandre Lemille website

The Circular Humansphere in video (You Tube): Storytelling about our Third Stock: Humans (Video)

The Circular Economy 2.0 (2014): Ensuring that Circular Economy is designed for all.

Safe & Just Circular Principles (2016): The link between the Doughnut Economy & the Circular Economy 2.0

Inclusive Circular Models (2016): Using the “Circular Thinking” to lower economic barriers

Circular Human Flows (2017): Enhancing Humans as an integral part of Circular Economic Flows

Understanding the principles of the Circular Economy with Alexandre Lemille (The Beam Magazine, 2017)

Optimising Circular Value (OCV) to Benefit People & the Environment (Circular Economy Club, 2017)

Optimizing Circular Value (OCV, 2017)

5 Guiding Principles for an Inclusive Circular Economy (Circle Economy, 2017)

Circular Economy — the Social Imperative (CWS Australia, 2017)

Replacing Energy by Countless Jobs or Activities (2018): from endless growth to endless jobs

Recycling is not Circular (2018): The harsh reality of recycling: it slows down genuine innovations

What if Karl Polanyi was right? (2018): Addressing societal needs thanks to material circularity as-a-tool

Building equitable circular societies (The Beam Magazine, 2018): Applying human-centred circular principles, tax shifts and crypto-currencies to better design our societies

Interview: Meeting Human needs thanks to material circularity (Circular Conversations, 2018)

The Circular Humansphere (2019 update)

Avoid Collapse: We know enough to design an equitable circular system that preserves humanity (Renewable Matter Magazine, 2019)

Moving Away from a Waste-based Model (UNIDO, 2019)

Roubaix, a City of Riches (The Beam Magazine, 2019): the link between Zero Waste and Poverty (Not published yet)

Making the Circular Economy works for Human Development (Elsevier Academic Journal, 2019) (Not published yet)

Empathy for the Future (The Beam Magazine, 2019): Building resilient societies on empathy to preserve humanity (Not published yet)

Give us the Proof of your Circularity - Systemic indicators embedding a Humansphere (not published yet)