Making Things with the End in Mind
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002)
Written by an architect and a chemist, this book looks at a new way of approaching how things are made. As explained by the authors, the current (conventional) way of making things has simply perpetuated from the days of the Industrial Revolution, and has not yet adapted to the natural environment. In nature there is no waste. Rather, there exists a redistribution of energy and elements from one form to another. In sustainability discussions, this is referred to as adopting the circular economy, (see What is the Circular Economy? ). This alternative business model, so predominant in nature, is absolutely possible!
Accordingly, we can model and manufacture with the application of a greater conscience to the product life-cycle. In so doing, we can adjust the way waste is perceived and utilized. Products should not be simply designed for a temporary service before they end up in a landfill, rather they can re-conceived so as to break away from the prevalent system of cradle to grave (end of life) and achieve a methodology of cradle to cradle.
As described by the authors, their “goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power -economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed.”
McDonough and Braungart did a great job of conveying this message and offering examples for change. It was a fun an informative read, with many moments of realization!
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