Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cradle to Cradle

I just finished reading Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, which discusses the way we make things. Instead of doing less bad, actually looking back at the re-design of a product. The first interesting thing about this "book" is not really a book, or should I say tree. It is not made of paper, but instead printed on synthetic paper and bound into a book-like format. This makes it durable and even water proof (great for the swimmer!) For someone who loves the way books smell and feel it was a little hard to get used to it, but after a couple of pages I got over it. Other cool highlights I enjoyed about this book:
  • Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than humans. Ants have been incredibly industrius for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for a little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn't have the a design problem. People do.
  • The average lawn is an interesting beast: people plant it, then douse it with artificial fertilizers and dangerous pesticides to make it grow and to keep it uniform - all so that they can hack and mow what they encourage to grow. And woe to the small yellow flower that rears it head!
The author's also included steps to retool their thinking and their actions in service to an eco-effective vision:
  1. Get "free of" known culprits.
  2. Follow informed personal preferences. Prefer ecological intelligence. Prefer respect. Prefer delight, celebration, and fun.
  3. Creating a "passive positive" list. The X list. The gray list. The P list.
  4. Activate the positive (P) list.
  5. Reinvent! Single your intention. Restore. Be ready to innovate further. Understand and prepare for the learning curve. Exert intergenerational responsibility.
Another highlight (and shameless plug) about this book is that my boss is featured in it with her work with Nike and their steps to becoming more eco-effective.

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