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Design: Cradle-to-Cradle Philosophy

William A. McDonough’s “Cradle-to-Cradle” Design Philosophy basically calling for us to start designing product, spaces, Architecture and more with the thought of how it is produced to how will it affect the environment and then how will it decompose or how will we be able to reuse it at the end of its life cycle.

William McDonough’s wrote the book “Cradle to Cradle – Remaking the Way We Make Things” with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart. Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that “takes, makes and wastes” can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.

The Philosophy starts with the following basics:

• 1. Insist on rights of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.

• 2. Recognize interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognizing even distant effects.

• 3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement including community, dwelling, industry and trade in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.

• 4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems, and their right to co-exist.

• 5. Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance of vigilant administration of potential danger due to the careless creation of products, processes or standards.

• 6. Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life-cycle of products and processes, to approach the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste.

• 7. Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative forces from perpetual solar income. Incorporate the energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.

• 8. Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not and inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.

• 9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility, and re-establish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

His book is designed to show that this process is possible. It is printed on a synthetic ‘paper,’ made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This ‘treeless’ book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles.

This philosophy is spreading in the design industry. William McDonough’s is working hard to make this a norm way of thinking. He has teaming up with two other organizations to try to make this a reality. In Sept. 2008, Material ConneXion Inc., McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) and the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) announced a groundbreaking strategic collaboration to create a global platform for developing innovative sustainable materials and products. Together, they will provide services that will help companies expand their ability to innovate and create higher quality, more sustainable products and processes, while increasing their profitability. The relationship will help to promote and disseminate Cradle to Cradle(SM) design principles by providing greater global access to Cradle to Cradle material information, certification and product development.

I recommend this book and here is a link to check out: www.materialconnexion.com

This article was written by: mayacamou

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