Sunday, October 18, 2009
cradle to cradle comments
I want to respond to the idea that McDononugh and Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle is too apocalyptic. I can see why people have this reaction because they do focus on current environmental problems and how they will increase without changes. This is most likely true if nothing is done, so why not say so? It could motivate people to change, even if change is difficult. I find their proposals for change fairly reasonable, for example the five steps to eco effectiveness. They talk about identifying harmful materials or chemicals, making lists of more or less harmful substances. They say we should use “ecological intelligence” to make choices, including inventing better products and systems. They seem very aware of how complicated this process is, because they keep mentioning the ironies. You can fix one problem and just create others, the same way their book is recyclable, but may use more fuel to transport. But they think we have to educate ourselves and make the best possible choices based on what we know, and continue to research more. I also think their use of real case studies and examples are good to help us visualize real problems and possible solutions. Once example is the Ford Motor company trying to redesign their plant, making River Rouge a place to experiment and to try to find new ways of doing things that are more ecologically sound. I do think that they come across as biased in favor of how well their own ideas could work. Someone else writing about the same examples might see it differently. River Rouge might not turn out to be as positive for the environment as McDononough and Braungart think.