31 December 2010

Cradle to Cradle - favorite read of 2010

"Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" by (architect) William McDonough and (chemist) Michael Braungart, was published in 2002 but new to me this year. Recommended at a sustainability event held by Foresight Design Initiative, Chicago, it's a great and highly readable read not only for designers, but also for everyone interested in a sustainable future for our world. The authors point out, for example, that when we recycle materials like used soda bottles in manufacturing clothing, while we extend the usable life of those bottles, the garments created ultimately wear out, arrive in the landfill, and may contain toxic or glacially-slow-to-disintegrate components. Our job in part is to design with the successive lives of our products in mind, and, more, to rethink the need for the product itself (is their a better way to accomplish the same purpose?). Quoting McDonough's site: "Part social history, part green business primer, part design manual, the book makes plain that the re-invention of human industry is not only within our grasp, it is our best hope for a future of sustaining prosperity." http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm

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