Synopses & Reviews
"Reduce, reuse, recycle," urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their provocative, visionary book, however, this approach perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? they ask.
In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, "waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new—either as "biological nutrients" that safely re-enter the environment or as "technical nutrients" that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles without being "downcycled" into low-grade uses (as most "recyclables" now are).
Elaborating their principles from experience redesigning everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, the authors make an exciting and viable case for change.
"Enlightened and enlightening…. A must for every…concerned citizen." ---Hazel Henderson, author of Beyond Globalization: Shaping a Sustainable Global Economy
William McDonough and Michael Braungart present a manifesto for a radically different philosophy and practice of manufacture and environmentalism.
About the Author
William McDonough is an architect and the founding principal of William McDonough and Partners, Architecture and Community Design, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. From 1994 to 1999, he served as dean of the school of architecture at the University of Virginia. In 1999 Time magazine recognized him as a Hero for the Planet, stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world." In 1996, he received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the highest environmental honor given by the United States. Michael Braungart is a chemist and the founder of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in Hamburg, Germany. Prior to starting the EPEA, he was the director of the chemistry section for Greenpeace. Since 1984 he has been lecturing at universities, businesses, and institutions around the world on critical new concepts for ecological chemistry and materials flow management. Dr. Braungart is the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and fellowships from the Heinz Endowment, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and other organizations. Stephen Hoye has won thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards, including one for the New York Times bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. A graduate of London's Guildhall and a veteran of London's West End, Stephen has recorded many other notable titles, such as Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong and The Google Story by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.