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Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually "downcycling," creating hybrids of biological and technical "nutrients" which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm--they're actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process. Cradle to Cradle is a refreshing change from the intractable environmental conflicts that dominate headlines. It's a handbook for 21st-century innovation and should be required reading for business hotshots and environmental activists. --Therese Littleton
Environmentalists are normally the last people to be called shortsighted, yet that's essentially what architect McDonough and chemist Braungart contend in this clarion call for a new kind of ecological consciousness. The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally sound buildings, equipment and products. They argue that conventional, expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the planet. Our industrial products are simply not designed with environmental safety in mind; there's no way to reclaim the natural resources they use or fully prevent ecosystem damage, and mitigating the damage is at best a stop-gap measure. What the authors propose in this clear, accessible manifesto is a new approach they've dubbed "eco-effectiveness": designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency. They cite examples from their own work, like rooftops covered with soil and plants that serve as natural insulation; nontoxic dyes and fabrics; their current overhaul of Ford's legendary River Rouge factory; and the book itself, which will be printed on a synthetic "paper" that doesn't use trees. Because profitability is a requirement of the designs, the thinking goes, they appeal to business owners and obviate the need for regulatory apparatus. These shimmery visions can sound too good to be true, and the book is sometimes frustratingly short on specifics, particularly when it comes to questions of public policy and the political interests that might oppose widespread implementation of these designs. Still, the authors' original concepts are an inspiring reminder that humans are capable of much more elegant environmental solutions than the ones we've settled for in the last half-century.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
brilliant book, I just bought this second copy to give as a gift. if intelligent and sustainable design floats your boat then this is a must read.Published 5 months ago by Karim
This book was one of our text books for a master course on sustainable design. It totally changed my mind about sustainability and introduced me to the wonderful philosophy of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Danny Chan
The ideas presented inform us of what is currently happening to address myriad problems across the world, but provides a starting point for new and creative thought, both as... Read morePublished on June 16 2013 by riotthill
This is an amazing and transformative book. I ordered it for my boyfriend for Christmas and when it arrived found out it was an AUDIO Book. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2012 by Bushbaby
The book is easy to read and very imformative. If manufacturers could apply this approach, the planet may actually survive the impacts of consumerism. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2009 by I. Ellis
The authors have been talking about waste=food as long as the climate change people, and once you internalize the concepts of the two you can't help but understand that yes,... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2009 by tonzito
This book is a sometimes interesting, often meandering treatise on design. The authors, and American architect and a German chemist, have a very sincere desire to realign the... Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by Amazon Customer