Monday, January 7, 2008


My New Year’s resolution this year is not all that original but hopefully will lead to me to some heightened understanding, opportunity and change. Like much of the rest of the world right now, (thankfully), I want to become more informed about the environment, particularly in connection to aspects of design and architecture whether in landscapes, buildings or objects- and to understand more their function and purpose and how they can be better designed in order to truly be something sustainable and beneficial—not just trendy yoga pants with recycled cans as a fiber. It’s always been an interest and informed choice to try and do things more eco, but over the holidays I read an inspiring and well-written book titled “Cradle to Cradle” by William McDonough, an architect, and Michael Braungart, an environmental chemist. These two have been collaborating together for awhile with the premise of redirecting our entire market-driven society to focus on products with a cradle to cradle life span, i.e. from its inception to it’s final use the product can give something back to the world (or at least not pollute it further), rather then the now concept of cradle to grave whereby manufacturers create products with built-in obsolescence— a product with an intended short life span which was created little thought to the pollutants that fill the air at its inception, and no thought to a funeral but just toss it in the dump. The problem is of course, while it simmers in the dump it emits pollutants and takes up space. Is there anyone else who has to buy a new cell phone every year or year and a half because theirs gets old and breaks down? Think of all those phones added up together. It’s an environmental disaster. Built-in obsolescence was a smart gimmick by CEOs to generate more sales but it’s time to rethink this method, without perhaps loosing sales and/or hurting the economy and this is exactly what the books discusses. It’s simple and revolutionary. The consulting firm for the two authors is and there is also a great website with detailed info about the book,

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