Reviewing Cradle to Cradle

I just finished reading Cradle to Cradle by W. McDonough & M. Braungart.  It’s an interesting book, big on ideas sadly short on details. The book is about changing how things are designed in our world today. Most designers approach their project as a cradle to grave affair. Create a product that will breakdown after X years and then have the consumer throw it away. They advocate a paradigm shift of creating products that when disposed of can be upcycled instead of downcycled (recycled) or when thrown away give something back to environment. They list a couple of projects that they’ve worked on that did just that or at least started down that road.  They don’t acknowledge though the enormous difficulty in restructuring an entire economic system, especially one in which billions of people and trillions of dollars are heavily invested.

There’s nothing to disagree with in the book because of its abstraction.  There isn’t anything here to attack because everything is only intellectual. The only complaint that can be leveled against them is their lack of concrete details. There isn’t any plan here to get done what they want to get done. It’s easily to build castles in the clouds, it doesn’t take anything to do so. The difficulties arise when you start devising a plan, a plan that not everyone is going to agree with. A plan that some are goingto vehemently oppose. No one, no one wants to destroy the planet. Everyone agrees it should be cherished and protected. Say when you say that you’re preaching to the choir. When it comes to the “how” that is where the trouble starts. McDonough and Braungart don’t offer any hows though so their book ultimately goes no-where and does nothing…

Author: Jonathon

Would rather be out swimming, running, or camping. Works in state government. Spent a youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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