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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Paperback – April 22, 2002
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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
From Publishers Weekly
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The design of the book is making a point also made in the text of the book: the current state of recycling generally turns higher quality products into lower quality ones useful only for purposes other than the original product, and then eventually discards them. This is not recycling; it's slow motion waste.
"Cradle to Cradle," the object, is intended to be easily and completely recyclable into a new book of the same quality.
"Cradle to cradle," the phrase, is contrasted to "cradle to grave."
"Cradle to Cradle," the text, argues in favor of making all human productions either recyclable in the way this book is or completely biodegradable so that they can be used as fertilizer.
In the future envisioned and partially created and described by this pair of authors, packaging will be tossed on the ground in response to signs reading "Please litter!" Appliances will be leased and returned to manufacturers to be completely recycled. Objects that must contain both biodegradable and inorganic recyclable elements will be easily separable into those respective parts: you'll toss the soles of your shoes into the garden and give the uppers back to the shoemaker. And the water coming out of factories will be cleaner than what came in, motivating the factory owners to reuse it and eliminating the need for the government to test its toxicity.
These authors teemed up on the 1991 Hannover Principles to guide the design of the 2000 World's Fair. McDonough has an architecture firm in Charlottesville, Va.Read more ›
The authors, one an architect and one a chemist, created McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry in 1995, to consult with companies about designing sustaining products and factories.Read more ›
McDonough and Braungart's vision of "Remaking the Way We Make Things" goes way beyond books. Why not buildings that produce more energy than they consume? Or "green" roofs that give off oxygen while cooling the occupants? How about factories that produce drinkable effluent? or products that when their useful life is over can be used as nutrients for soil? What sounds like science fiction is convincingly shown to be quite feasible by the authors. They offer numerous examples to prove it.
"We see a world of abundance, not limits" they say. As an architect (McDonough) and chemist (Braungart) they don't have any special qualifications for this re-thinking and re-doing. What they simply have done is re-imagine the whole manufacturing process beginning with the design elements. Sometimes it's simply a matter of asking the right questions and looking at things differently. They are not talking about smaller-scale industry or limiting themselves to the "four R's" of traditional environmentalism - reuse, recycle, reduce, and regulate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Braungart & McDonough's beautiful rendition of the way my father wanted the world to work: renewably, collaboratively, intellectually honestly. Read morePublished 16 hours ago by John Cirigliano
Hello, i can't ask question so i put a review, its fake sorry for posting here but i have to ask for my proyect.. Can i buy the e-book in spanish? Read morePublished 10 days ago by Matias
It is a cool book and its not printed on paper. Thats the problem right there even though you can comfortably read this book in the shower, in a rain forest or while scuba diving... Read morePublished 23 days ago by M. D. Rezaiekhaligh
This book is a classic for interior design students where I went to school. It is very interesting and easy to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lmw43
This book has so many original ideas and will make you think about sustainability from a new perspective.. Great read.Published 2 months ago by SESHA SAI T V
I'm a believer in taking care of our planet and our future. This book was exactly what I was looking for and has great ideas!Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
The book is focused on negative sides of progress and exaggerates consequencesPublished 5 months ago by Helen D. Feygin