Cradle to Cradle Remaking the Way We Make Things

William McDonough and Michael Braungart

North Point Press

0865475873

9780865475878

Trade Paperback

208 Pages

$27.50

CAD31.50

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"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 argue in this provocative, visionary book, such an approach only perpetuates the one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates 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.

Hence, "waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth. 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. They can be conceived as "biological nutrients" that will easily re-enter the water or soil without depositing synthetic materials and toxins. Or they can be "technical nutrients" that will continually circulate as pure and valuable materials within closed-loop industrial cycles, rather than being "recycled"—really, downcyled— into low-grade materials and uses.

Drawing on their experience in (re)designing everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, McDonough and Braungart make an exciting and viable case for change, and for putting eco-effectiveness into practice. And they show how anyone involved with making anything can begin to do so as well.

REVIEWS

Praise for Cradle to Cradle

"Our planet is alive and the wondrous web of biodiversity provides us with all we need—clean air, water, soil, and energy, as well as food, medicine, resources. Whatever we do, that's what should be the highest priority for protection and we have to adapt everything else to that end. With this book, McDonough and Braungart open our eyes to the way to genuine sustainability by the study of nature and mimicking her ways. This is a groundbreaking book that should be the Bible for the Second Industrial Revolution."—Dr. David Suzuki, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia, and author of Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet and The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

"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

"Cradle to Cradle is not only a book of hope based on the power of will and imagination, it is a book of practical actions and solutions. Creativity unites with desire in the minds of William McDonough and Michael Braungart. We see how innovative design can restore not only the planet's integrity, but our own. We can begin to live differently. The goal of sustainability is replaced with organic rejuvenation. These revolutionaries, an architect and a chemist, have drawn us a map for our future using the tools of ecological intelligence and joy. No room for gloom and doom, here—instead, insert delight, celebration, and respect, when rethinking our relationship to a new world that 'honors the children of all species for all time.' This is a brilliant embrace of life."—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Leap and Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

"Cradle to Cradle challenges society to redesign the materials we use and to revolutionize the manner in which we make them. McDonough and Braungart believe that by respecting diversity, mimicking nature, and implementing eco-effective practices, we can design a 'world of prosperity and health in the future.' Such considerations are key to the development of a sustainable society, and this book articulates a vision for redesigning the materials, systems, and services society depends upon every day."—Mary Kirchhoff, assistant director of the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute, Chemical and Engineering News

"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

"[McDonough and Braungart's] ideas are bold, imaginative, and deserving of serious attention."—Ben Ehrenreich, Mother Jones

"[A] clear, accessible manifesto . . . 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."—Publishers Weekly

"A readable provocative treatise that 'gets outside the box' in a huge way. Timely and inspiring."—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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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
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MEDIA

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  • William McDonough TED Talk

    Watch this video to hear author and designer William McDonough speak on the wisdom of designing from Cradle to Cradle at a TED Conference. Green-minded architect and designer McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account "all children, all species, for all time."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • William McDonough and Michael Braungart

  • 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. The company's Web site can be found at www.mbdc.com.
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    William McDonough

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