Waste Not, Want Not

Film Recommendation

Trashed (2012)

Something Rotten this way comes

Jeremy Irons takes us on a journey through our waste, as he investigates its impact on our world. This is a moving documentary that will hopefully encourage a greater awareness of our trash and what it does to people and wildlife around the planet. There are indeed deeply saddening examples of those afflicted, as viewers bare witness to a small dose of the tremendous burden being carried by nature and the world’s poor. The documentary is effective in highlighting the glaring deficiency in the current status quo with regards our waste and the immense opportunity for it to be improved.

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The Consequences of Rapid Consumption

Film Recommendation

True Cost (2015)

Following the Trend

This documentary investigates the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry. As described by the filmmakers, Fast Fashion has made significant gains in the garment industry, encouraging consumers to buy more and discard (click for SNL spoof commercial) what is rapidly considered outdated wear. This approach has generated enormous profits at the cost of suppressing labor wages in the developing countries that provide the manufacturing.

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Making Things with the End in Mind

Book Recommendation

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things 

by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002)

Cradle-To-Cradle-Book-Cover

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.

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