- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (August 11, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400157617
- ISBN-13: 978-1400157617
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,329,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things MP3 - Unabridged CD Edition
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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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., and from 1994 to 1999 was dean of the University of Virginia's School of Architecture. Braungart is a German chemist who for several years headed the chemistry section of Greenpeace.
This book is superb and should be read by those familiar with the issues of environmental design and those completely new to the topic. It draws on themes common in a long list of books ranging from "Ishmael," by Daniel Quinn to "Natural Capitalism," by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. But McDonough and Braungart make no acknowledgements of any such influences and present themselves (just as these other authors have) as the vanguard of a change as radical as the industrial revolution.
Their idea is incredibly important and well stated, but it's not the clear break from current environmental (or for that matter industrial or "Third Way") thinking that they maintain - and for students of evolution why should it need to be, what's wrong with evolving our thinking a helpful bit further, as they have done? What McD and B propose as revolutionary is -- instead of reducing pollution and consumption and having fewer children -- making increased economic activity actually beneficial to the planet.
Three comments. First, this book does not suggest any radical change in behavior for the typical reader. (Have lots of kids, drive lots of cars, buy lots of stuff - what a break through!) This book is, rather, advice for architects, corporations, and municipalities. It is intended to free the typical reader of guilt. I think it should do something else as well, namely urge us to political action, to demanding of our democratically elected representatives that the earth-saving innovations described in the book be taken advantage of. All the descriptions in this book of common household objects, such as sofas, "off-gasing" toxic particles makes me want to take action to change things or at least buy a mask, not go shopping.
Second, the examples of new materials and building and product designs described in the book all build on the environmental thinking that McD and B so loudly reject. Reducing pollution to zero is not a "new paradigm" from reducing pollution to a teeny bit - it's just better.
Third, the vision of rendering mad self-indulgence completely beneficial to all other species is far from a reality, and even the dream described by McD and B would not, in any way that I can imagine, make it possible to place an unlimited number of humans on the planet without hurting anything - more humans than under current practices, yes -- an infinite number, no. But let's remember that most of the people now on the planet do not do nearly as much damage as we do in this country. How many billion Americans the Earth can hold has not been answered.
There is also a disturbing thread of anti-government corporatism in the book. Ford and Nike and other corporations for which the authors have worked are described as heroes for their positive efforts, while their destructive practices are passed over. The authors repeat a distinction (citing Jane Jacobs' "Systems of Survival") between Guardians and Commerce, i.e. paternalistic government and noble corporate heroes:
"Commerce is quick, highly creative, inventive, constantly seeking short- and long-term advantage, and inherently honest: you can't do business with people if they aren't trustworthy."
Is this a joke? Do these guys believe press releases they read from, say, Enron? (Apparently so, because later in the book they write: "...the summer of 2001, when unusually high energy demand in California led to rolling blackouts, skyrocketing prices, even accusations of profiteering...." Accusations! High demand or restrained supply? What rock have these intelligent authors been naturally cooling themselves under? Well, at least they recognize the concept of profiteering, even though it fits poorly with the inherent honesty of commerce.)
Immediately following the "inherently honest" comment (page 60) Mc D and B go on to equate regulation with partial pollution reduction, and to conclude that because complete pollution reduction is desirable and possible, regulation is bad. Instead they should conclude that rather than allowing limited pollution, regulators should ban it entirely (through whatever stages of phasing in that policy prove feasible).
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. They have the ear of such companies as Ford and Nike, and their book is a primer on how they would like to see manufacturing work in the future to take part in natural cycles having little effect on the overall ecology of the earth. It is a rather thrilling little manifesto, by two obviously bright guys who don't let their optimism get in the way of bringing in real results. The idea is for products and processes not to be "less bad," but like ants or trees, to be positively good for the environment. "Waste is food" is the principle. Making products that can be composted, or can be used again without degrading them or the environment can be done, and it is no dream. Much of the book shows how the authors, as consultants, have put such principles into action.
It can be done. The words of the authors, clearly concerned about the future of the planet, are enthusiastic and convincing, and given the examples in this surprising book, it is clear that we will be seeing more design of products and processes that are incorporated into natural cycles. Given the example of the book itself, a good looking product on its own, the advantages are clear. And if that isn't enough, the book can be read without risk in the bathtub, as it is entirely waterproof.