Cradle to Cradle : Remaking the Way We Make Things
by McDonough, William; Braungart, Michael

Challenges the concept that industry must inevitably damage the natural environment as it argues that products should be designed so that after their useful life they provide nourishment for something else-as biological nutrients that safely reenter the environment or as technical nutrients that circulate within closed-loop industrial circles. 15,000 first printing.

William McDonough is an architect and the founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, Architecture and Community Design, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. From 1994 to 1999 he served as dean of the school of architecture at the University of Virginia. In 1999 Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet," stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world." In 1996, he received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the highest environmental honor given by United States.

Michael Braungart is a chemist and the founder of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in Hamburg, Germany. Prior to starting EPEA, he was the director of the chemistry section for Greenpeace. Since 1984 he has been lecturing at universities, businesses, and institutions around the world on critical new concepts for ecological chemistry and materials flow management. Dr. Braungart is the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and fellowships from the Heinz Endowment, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and other organizations.

In 1995 the authors created McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, a product and systems development firm assisting client companies in implementing their unique sustaining design protocol. Their clients include Ford Motor Company, Nike, Herman Miller, BASF, DesignTex, Pendleton, Volvo, and the city of Chicago.

Noted eco-designers suggest a paradigm shift in human habits of manufacture and consumption.American architect/industrial engineer McDonough and German chemist Braungart collaborated at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit on a proposal for eliminating the concept of waste in industrial design. Here, they elaborate on their theory, explaining that even environment-friendly policies such as recycling and waste-reduction still fall short of achieving for humankind the kind of balance and harmony that other living entities have employed for millennia. The authors, who now run a design consulting firm, examine reigning industrial design practices and our basic misconceptions about waste, arguing against the idea that "less bad is good" and offering several points for future thought about putting their principles of "eco-effectiveness" to work. The emphasis here is on moving beyond traditional thinking about the relationship between nature and humanity to consider instead how to make humanity itself a better-functioning natural system. Despite the awakening of environmentalism over the past three decades, McDonough and Braungart assert, we are still largely stuck with the Industrial Revolution precept of "cradle to grave" consumer goods that become waste. They offer several examples of how industrial processes and thoughtful changes in the design of habitat and work environment might create true self-nourishing systems. Environmental regulations, the authors believe, are needed stopgaps but ultimately exemplify a major design flaw in the way we think about making things. For instance, instead of a more fuel-efficient car, why not a mode of transportation that would not simply be less polluting but would actually nourish the atmosphere? Moving past both the planned obsolescence that is the cornerstone of much industry, as well as the control and command structure of environmental regulation, McDonough and Braungart encourage humanity to begin thinking of itself as a self-sustaining entity that does not necessarily need to take a toll on its surroundings.A readable, provocative treatise that "gets outside the box" in a huge way. Timely and inspiring. Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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