Thursday, October 15, 2009

Putting Eco-Effectiveness into Practice

This chapter in Cradle to Cradle was very interesting to me- both because of the Five Steps to Eco-Effectiveness as well as the two examples used- Ford and a dinner party menu. I can appreciate what Ford did and is doing to enhance the work experience of its employees, as well as prevent the land that the plant stand on from becoming an industrial waste zone, but does anyone see the irony in the fact that this happened at a place that produces automobiles? Even though there are also aspects of the plant that do dis-assembly and re-use the materials in old cars, the fact that cars are still being produced as they are appears to be a greater problem than the eco-effectiveness of the place in which they are produced. This is why I also have a problem with the dinner party menu example; not only is this a greatly simplified example that is borerline insulting, but I don't think it really works long term with this idea of eco-effectiveness- even if you change the entire menu, you are still producing the same result of dinner, or the same result of a car. In order to be 'eco-effective', there needs to be a fundamental change in the way things are done. I know that the book alludes to this, and says that the company should be using some of its resources to create an innovative car, one of the future that is actually more sustainable; however, the authors' reasoning behind this is that if they don't, their competitors will, and ten years down the line they will no longer be at the top of the market. There are a lot of good ideas in this book, but it is increasingly bothersome to me that all of the ideas still fall within the framework of the old model of industrial production and profit margins. If this book is indeed supposed to be revolutionary, why did the authors fall short of creating a new framework through which we could start to implement these ideas? Or, not even that extensive, why place all of their ideas within the old framework, rather than just put them out there? I realize that having a context is important, but it is contradictory of them to denounce the current system and then place all of their ideas within it.

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