The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance

Overview

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, the most consequential ecological manifesto of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from ten years of putting the cradle-to-cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve them as we use them.

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Overview

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, the most consequential ecological manifesto of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from ten years of putting the cradle-to-cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve them as we use them.

For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. And they are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices—and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reinvented not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of the next industrial revolution as it unfolds in front of us.

The Upcycle is every bit as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring—but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on earth: We should not just protect the planet from ourselves but should redesign our activity to improve the planet. And that goal is well within our reach.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In their 2002 Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough and Michael Braungart (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 9780865475878, $27.50) presented a persuasive case that we should replace reductive thinking about ecology with a creativity that follows the lead of bountiful nature. In The Upcycle, these earthbound visionaries show how the proposals in their previous book have blossomed into practical designs of products, buildings, and business practices. This truly exciting book holds the potential to change the way we think about saving—and replenishing our planet. Editor's recommendation. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

From the Publisher
Praise for Cradle to Cradle

“Asking how a cherry tree would design an energy-efficient building is only one of the creative ‘practices’ that McDonough and Braungart spread before their readers. This book will give you renewed hope that, indeed, ‘it is darkest before the dawn.’” —Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club

“[McDonough and Braungart are] masters of holistic environmentalism . . . [They] have a knack for combining big ideas with commonsense practicality, which leaves readers feeling excited about the future.” —Bruce Barcott, Outside Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
Architect McDonough and chemist Braungart (co-authors: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, 2002) tender both an attitude and a strategy for a better-designed world. The authors caused a splash a decade ago with their notion of cradle to cradle: that our goods and services can be designed with the intentionality of reuse. Here, they expand on that notion, firing off examples of achieving the upcycle--"a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world with clean air, water, soil, and power, economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed"--through the proper use of design. The book is a heady engagement, a powerful to-and-fro between the authors and readers. Who would quibble that design ought to take reuse into account, that regulations are a red flag indicating the need for redesign, or that using positive ingredients to begin with is better than having to eliminate dangerous byproducts? Most interesting are the hands-on, root-to-rebirth projects they, or others, have accomplished: Their design of an experimental, high-sustaining building for NASA is a vision brought to life; infusing objects with color via reflected-light polymers rather than poisonous dyestuffs; providing plants with the specific light energy they need with solar-powered LEDs. But the authors examine wind turbines as a "pleasant visual" in one instance and a potential "blight" in another, and some readers may wonder who decides "those things we like, that are useful, pleasurable, and healthy." The authors end with a "What's Next?" section, a list of 10 points to remember, including "We Don't Have an Energy Problem. We Have a Materials-in-the-Wrong-Place Problem," "Always Be Asking What's Next" and "Add Good on Top of Subtracting Bad." Mostly stimulating and inventive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452612317
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/29/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Braungart is a chemist and the founder of the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in Hamburg, Germany.

William McDonough is an architect and the founding principal of William McDonough & Partners, Architecture and Community Design, based in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.

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