Reduce, reuse, recycle’ urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart point out in this provocative, visionary book, this approach only perpetuates the one-way, ‘cradle to grave’ manufacturing model, dating to the Industrial Revolution, that creates such fantastic amounts of waste and pollution in the first place. Why not challenge the belief that human industry must damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model for making things? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we consider its abundance not wasteful but safe, beautiful and highly effective.
Waste equals food.
Guided by this principle, McDonough and Braungart explain how products can be designed from the outset so that, after their useful lives, they will provide nourishment for something new – continually circulating as pure and viable materials within a ‘cradle to cradle’ model. Drawing on their experience in redesigning everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, McDonough and Braungart make an exciting and viable case for putting eco-effectiveness into practice, and show how anyone involved in making anything can begin to do so as well.
“The best argument for good design is that it lasts. The best argument for good science is that it deplores waste. I’m bored with guilty and technologically illiterate environmental Luddites describing a future of guilt and privation led in caves. There’s an alternative responsible future persuasively offered by Braungart and McDonough. The survival of the planet can be re-stated in terms of stimulus, opportunity, challenge and reward. Works for me.” (Stephen Bayley)
“Already embraced by far-thinking manufacturers and governments.” (Food Ethics Magazine)
“It’s one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read” (Ellen Macarthur Daily Express)
“Environmentalists too rarely apply the ecological wisdom of life to our problems. Asking how a cherry tree would design an energy efficient building is only one of the creative ‘practices’ that McDonough and Braungart spread, like a field of wild flowers, before their readers. This book will give you renewed hope that, indeed, ‘it is darkest before the dawn'” (Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club)
“Achieving the great economic transition to more equitable, ecologically sustainable societies requires nothing less than a design revolution – beyond today’s fossilized industrialism. This enlightened and enlightening book shows us how – and indeed, that ‘God is in the details.’ A must for every library and every concerned citizen” (Hazel Henderson, author of “Building a Win-Win World and Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy”)