by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
published by North Point Press
© 2002 by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
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Environmentalists are normally the last people to be called shortsighted,
yet that's essentially what architect McDonough and chemist Braungart
contend in this clarion call for a new kind of ecological consciousness.
The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally
sound buildings, equipment and products. They argue that conventional,
expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions
reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the
planet. Our industrial products are simply not designed with environmental
safety in mind; there's no way to reclaim the natural resources they
use or fully prevent ecosystem damage, and mitigating the damage is
at best a stop-gap measure. What the authors propose in this clear,
accessible manifesto is a new approach they've dubbed "eco-effectiveness":
designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency.
They cite examples from their own work, like rooftops covered with soil
and plants that serve as natural insulation; nontoxic dyes and fabrics;
their current overhaul of Ford's legendary River Rouge factory; and
the book itself, which will be printed on a synthetic "paper"
that doesn't use trees. Because profitability is a requirement of the
designs, the thinking goes, they appeal to business owners and obviate
the need for regulatory apparatus.
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