Inspiring : that’s the adjective that comes to mind as I have just finished reading Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. I had heard about that book for quite some time and I understand now why.
The book was written in 2002 –with a 2008 reedition – and is replete with enlightening examples of how we can re-imagine the way we design and produce our products, cities and way of life.
I believe Cradle to Cradle is just THE book that should be read by engineers and people working in related fields (including architects and designers)
Indeed, it provides a great overview of the madness we are currently living in as the products we use and the buildings as well as the cities we live in are just killing us and killing our common environment.
Even worse, they could just bring our downfall.
Giving an historical overview – including pre-human history – Cradle to Cradle explains how Nature creates a perfect harmony where products (here fauna and flora) are created from natural elements by just using the sun as an energy source
This is repeated millions if not billions of times, everywhere on the planet in a great effective way as there is simply no waste. Even better, waste becomes food. This is what the authors call eco-effectiveness.
This highly contrasts with what Man is currently doing on the planet : depleting resources, plundering the planet and pillaging communities.
The current linear way of doing things – where resources are used up, products created, used and then thrown away – is just leaving behind a gigantic trail of waste, sometimes very dangerous ones. This cradle to grave model is simply leading us to graves, our owns.
To avoid this, the authors advocate looking at Nature and re-thinking completely what we do to achieve a true cradle to cradle approach that looks at the disposal of the product right from the start, a model where waste becomes nutrients – food – for both our environment and our industry, a model where products and services and buildings just benefit the environment, not destroying it anymore…
Imagine if our civilization wasn’t wracking havoc at our planet anymore but repairing, even benefiting it ? While this seems totally utopian from the start, the book brings many examples of how this just can be done in many ways, for many products and even buildings.
Faced with dwindling resources and mounting pollutions and hazards, the revolution presented and advocated here must take place within the next decades if Mankind is to live on this planet. Let’s make it happen !
To conclude : Cradle to Cradle is inspiring, intelligent and well written. It brings also a few humorous notes. This is a must read for all sustainability centered minds and technical people.
Grade : 19/20.