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Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to CradleI have just finished a review for William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s book entitled Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and wanted to share my thoughts and get some feedback! The main tenet of this book is that Waste=Food. That being said, I focused more on the argument they made in regards to the idea of eco-efficiency as a means of working toward a ‘greener’ society. The authors’ main goal is not only to create products themselves that are environmentally sustainable and have as close to a ‘zero impact’ as possible, but also to convince others that this is the way of the future.

McDonough and Braungart explore the idea that the way products are made now include toxic chemicals that are harmful to people (and most of the time we don’t even know it) and that most things are made to last a certain period of time and that’s it. They plead with the reader to change this destructive process and suggest fairly straightforward methods for doing so.

I found this book to be very insightful in that it proposed a very out-of-the-box point of view for looking at the production of environmentally sustainable products. McDonough is an architect and therefore gives many examples from his field of helping to design “green” buildings and so forth. Braungart is a chemist whose understanding of chemicals and their effects is useful in opening your eyes to all the small, complicated workings of industrial production.

This book was very reader-friendly, not difficult to get through, but really refreshing in its unorthodox views and innovative suggestions. While the authors suggest a movement toward creating products that embrace a cradle to cradle cycle instead of a traditional cradle to grave life cycle, it is hard to know whether something like this will ever catch on with the general public.

To learn more about these two brilliant men, follow the respective links below:

William McDonough- http://www.mcdonough.com/ and http://www.mcdonoughpartners.com/

Michael Braungart- http://www.braungart.com/indexEN.html

2 Responses

  1. I thing this methodology (Cradle to Cradle) helps industries to start designing products for the environment. I really like the idea of being aware of the type of chemicals that the producers are using in order to demand as society better products.

    • Yes, Judith. I agree. I think it’s a good start because consumers should know what their purchases are made of and how they are produced. This is not only important to know for the sake of knowing, but it’s important to know because then we understand how these products effect us and demand more safely and sustainably made items. It’s great too, because the authors argue that there are already a substantial number of substitutes for the harmful chemicals currently being used. If we can implement the use of these instead of harmful substances we are that much closer to moving in the right direction. Much more research and development is needed but again, if consumer demand it, you would think companies would attempt to meet that demand and try to find alternative substances to use to produce their products so they can appease their customers.

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