Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things was recommended by John Morrison

As part of the Ragged Library, John Morrison, Lecturer in Digital Media and Interactive Design at Edinburgh Napier University recommended ′Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough…

This is in my top 5 favourite books! I came across it while studying product design in Glasgow. The book is jointly authored by an architect and a chemist. However is very accessible, a kind of manifesto for a radically different philosophy, I found reading it revolutionised my thinking in many areas. The authors proffers a paradigm shift from what we take for granted in our every day lives, suggesting the next major revolution should be a green one.

Cradle to Cradle

Using nature as a model it highlights how ecologically intelligent design can have a huge impact on the way make things. Instead of being more efficient with the status quo, we need to be more effective by design, nurturing our environment with things we produce. I can think of a recent example where Coke Asia has released a set of attachments for giving new life to empty coke bottles:
On the surface its sounds like a forward thinking idea, giving coke some eco brownie points with consumers. However, intelligent design would ask why are you making something designed to be consumed in one day out of a material that takes 100s years to breakdown in the environment!? Filling landfills, floating in oceans or at best down-cycled in an toxic energy / chemical hungry process into a less versatile material.
Instead why not invest some of your HUGE marketing budget / profits on developing a suitable biodegradable material for your bottles and then embed a seed in each one so when it is disposed of, the bottle naturally decomposes, nurturing the environment and the fledgling seed.

They highlight that termites represent a larger biomass than humans on the planet and yet live in complete harmony with their environment. Surely we should be doing the same!