Remaking the way we make things – Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
This is one of the better examples as to what I am referring to:
“The well-intended, creative use of recycled materials for new products can be misguided. For example, people may feel that they are making an ecologically sound choice by buying and wearing clothing made of fibers from recycled plastic bottles. But the fibers from plastic bottles were not specifically designed to be next to human skin. Blindly adopting superficial “environmental” approaches without fully understanding their effects can be no better than doing nothing.”
The world will not evolve past is current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation. Albert Einstein
This Book is not a Tree.
“First look at that comfortable chair you are sitting on. Did you know that the fabric contains mutagenic materials, heavy metals, dangerous chemicals, and dyes that are often labeled hazardous materials by regulators – except when they are presented and sold to a customer.” Page3
This book is not a tree it’s printed on synthetic paper and bound into a book format. This material is waterproof it can be remade as paper or other products.
Chapter one a question of Design: The industrial revolution started a system for the efficiency and production of today. Moore’s Law is where the processing speed of the computer chips roughly doubles every eighteen months.
Early industries relied on a seamlessly endless supply of natural “capital.”Ore, timber, water, grain, cattle, coal, land – these were the raw materials for the production of systems that made goods for the masses, and they still are today. Page 24
There are a number of positive social changes from the industrial revolution with higher standards of living came better medical and health, education, electricity and products increase comfort and technological advancement brought an increase in the productivity of agriculture land.
From cradle to grave: Resources are extracted, shaped into products, sold, and eventually disposed of in a ‘grave’ of some kind, usually a landfill or incinerator. P27
According to some accounts more than 90% of materials of extracted to make durable goods in the US became waste almost immediately.
In fact, many products are designed with ‘built-in obsolescence’ to last for a certain period of time, to allow – to encourage – the customer to get rid of the thing and buy a new model. P26
The product itself contains on average only 5% of the raw materials involved in the process of making and delivering it.
One size fits all. Architecture is just often placed on and with no though to where the natural light comes in, what rainfall is around.
Brute force – The Industrial Revolution’s motto would be “If brute force doesn’t work you’re not using enough of it.” P30
A culture of Monoculture
‘Brute force and universal design approaches to typical development tend to overwhelm (and ignore) natural and cultural diversity, resulting in less variety and greater homogeneity.’ P 33
Conventional agriculture tends to work along the same lines. The goal of Midwestern commercial corn operations is to produce as much corn as possible with the least amount of trouble, time, and expense – the Industrial Revolution’s first goal of maximum efficiency. Page 34
Elements that are removed form the ecosystem to make the operation yield more grain more quickly (that is to make it more efficient) would otherwise actually improve provide benefits to farming. Pesticides, as typically designed, are a perennial cost both to farmers and to the environment and represent a less than mindful use of chemical brute force.
Soil is depleted of nutrients and saturated with chemicals. Rather than being an aesthetic and cultural delight, modern architecture becomes a terror and a fright…
The single-minded cultivation of one species drastically reduces the rich network of ‘services’ and side effects in which the entire ecosystem originally engaged. Today modern agriculture is, ‘a simplifier of ecosystems, replacing relatively complex natural biological communities with relatively simple manmade ones based on a few strain of crops.’ These systems can not survive on their own. P35
Activity equals prosperity- The GDP takes only one measure of progress activity. Economic activity. P36
Crude Products: ‘Products that are not designed for human and ecological health are unintelligent and inelegant – what we call crude products.’ Since 1987 it has been found ordinary products like computers an CD players during use all off gassed teratogenic and/or carcinogenic compounds causing birth defects and cancer.
How do crude products affect you? They produce poor indoor air quality for one thing. Making the indoor air quality more contaminated than the outdoor.
A strategy of tragedy, or a Strategy of Change – At some point the manufacture decides, ‘We can’t keep doing this. We can’t keep supporting and maintain this system.’ P43
Chapter two Why being ‘less bad’ is no good- Eco-efficiency is doing more with less. Eco-efficiency makes the old destructive system a little less so.
Efficient – At what? But by reducing air-exchange rates, efficient home owners are actually strengthening the concentration of indoor air pollution from poorly designed materials and products in the home. If indoor air quality is poor because of crude products and building materials, then people require more fresh air to circulate through the building, not less.
Chapter three Eco – Effectiveness
Beyond Control – ‘It’s not the solution itself that is necessarily radical but the shift in perspective with which we begin, from the old view of nature as something to be controlled to a stance of engagement.’ P84
The new design assignment:
Buildings that, like trees produce more energy than they consume and purifying their own waste water
Factories that produce effluents that are drinking water..
Products that when their useful life is over do not become useless waste but can be tossed onto the ground to decompose and become food for plants and animals and nutrients for soil or alternately that can be returned to industrial cycles to supply high quality raw materials for new products
Billions, even trillions of dollars worth of materials accrued and natural purposes and humans each year
Transportation that improves the quality of life while delivering goods and services
A world of abundance, not one of limits, pollution and waste p91
Chapter Four Waste Equals Food: ‘From our perspective, these two things kinds of material flows on the planet are just biological and technical nutrients.’
‘Early agricultural communities continued to return biological wastes to the soil, replacing nutrients. Farmers rotated crops, letting fields lie fallow in turn until nature made them fertile again.’
The biological Metabolism
A biological nutrient is a material or product that is designed to return to the biological lifecycle- it is literally consumed by microorganisms in the soil and by other animals. p105
Most packaging (50% of solid waste) can be designed as products of consumption.
Product service Instead of assuming that all products are to be brought, owned and displaced of by “consumers” products containing valuable technical nutrients – cars, televisions, carpeting, computers and refrigerators for example – would be reconceived as services people want to enjoy. p111 They need to be designed to be disassembled.
Chapter Five Respect Diversity p118
We see this as de evolution – simplification on a mass scale – and not limited to ecology p119 Growing one type of lawn, only one type of animal survives city environment and spreads, rats, mice etc
‘diversity makes an ecosystem more resilient and able to respond successfully to change.
Eco-effective design demands a coherent set of principals based on nature’s laws ant the opportunity for constant diversity of expression.
Diversity enriches the quality of life in another way: the furious clash of cultural diversity can broaden perspective and inspire creative change. P144
We need to stop looking backwards to assess previous failures and successes, broadening up input and ask ourselves what will work in the future.
Conventional design criteria area cost, atheistic and performance. Industrial Re-Evolution
Chapter Six Putting Eco-Effectiveness into practice.
Redesign of Ford Factory making it greener and using more natural daylight.
Step 1 Get “free of” known culprits. Turn away from harmful substances and materials.
Step 2 Follow informed personal preferences
‘The truth is, we are standing in the middle of an enormous market place filled with ingredients that are largely undefined: we know little about what they are made of, and how.
Prefer Ecological Intelligence: p172-173
Prefer respect. Respect for the people making the product and those who live near it, for those who handle and transport it and the customer.
Prefer delight, celebration and fun express the best of design creativity adding pleasure and delight to life.
Step 3 Creating a ‘Passive positive’ list going beyond existing, readily available information as to the contents of a give product – what are the problematic substances. The X list- most problematic substances; the grey list – problematic substances that aren’t urgently in need for a phase out or replacement (to be sold desirably as a service)
Step 4 Activate the positive List – start figuring out how to be good – you have thrown the recipe out the window and are starting from scratch.
Step 5 Reinvent. – don’t just reinvent the recipe reinvent the menu.