Simplifying systems for sustainability

Netherlands (Amsterdam)

From companies to supply chains, and urban to agricultural areas, we live in a world of complex systems designed centuries ago. Many are so ingrained into the fabric of our society that we might not consider questioning their effectiveness. But, when confronted by escalating production and transportation costs, outdated systems threaten the environment, our wallets and, more critically, pose an urgent sustainability crisis.

In 2012, New York City-native Eva Gladek founded Metabolic to engineer a more resilient and holistic society. As an action agency for agriculture transformation, Metabolic advises companies and governments on how more effective working models, transforming outdated systems with the most innovative technology available. Projects include a recycled, self-sustaining house boat community in a previously derelict shipyard (Amsterdam Noord).

As a molecular biologist and industrial ecologist, Gladek envisiones a brighter future: “We designed a lot of the technology we’re using right now when there seemed to be infinite resources available, but now it’s clear that this isn’t the case. We don’t have infinite resources, so need to extract value from everything we use”’ she said. “Based on an understanding of how these systems work, we must develop strategies, forecasts, and design interventions for change.”

Metabolic was mapped by Alastair Parvin, co-founder of WikiHouse in his AtlasChart Top 5. Read his full FutureHero interview here.

Written by

Natasha Drewnicki (30 July 2015)


Natasha has rendered her insatiable nosiness into a career in journalism and PR. When not juggling projects in Barcelona, she'll be surfing in North Spain or Cornwall.

Project leader

Eva Gladek, CEO

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