The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance


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The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance by William McDonough, Michael Braungart

From the authors of Cradle to Cradle, we learn what's next: The Upcycle

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, one of the most consequential ecological manifestoes of our time. Now, drawing on the green living lessons gained from 10 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 use or reuse and recycle resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve the natural world as we live, create, and build.
For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. 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 reimagined not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of our green future as it unfolds in front of us.
The Upcycle is 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: Instead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the environment? We can have a beneficial, sustainable footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865477483
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 542,550
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

William McDonough is an American architect and founding principal of William McDonough + Partners. Michael Braungart is a German chemist. Together they cofounded McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, and in 2002 they coauthored Cradle to Cradle.

Table of Contents

Foreword President Bill Clinton xiii

Introduction 1

1 Life Upcycles 23

2 Houston, We Have a Solution 51

3 Wind Equals Food 85

4 Soil Not Oil 121

5 Let Them Eat Caviar 143

6 The Butterfly Effect 181

7 What's Next? 209

Notes 219

Acknowledgments 225

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The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Take only pictures, leave nothing but footprints" is an established code for the wilderness hiker. Now consider a new code that says, leave only footprints and take only pictures and the trash you find in the woods. The old rule maintains the status quo, the second makes  things better. The difference is consistent with what the authors challenge us to do in "The Upcycle" - to go beyond minimizing harm to having a positive impact, to not only be "less bad" but "more good." The authors clearly want to be known as idea people and there are indeed many good ideas here. Some are concepts turned into demonstrated success stories while many other ideas are presented as "what if" visions. Dream first, the authors advise, and worry about practical details later. Some positions the authors take will be disputed. For example, in contrast to an established ecological maxim which states that no population of species can increase indefinitely (i.e. there is a limit to growth due to resource limits), the authors claim that "limits to growth" is a false concept, and that the real problem is one of design. Also likely to be challenged is the lack of metrics needed to provide clarity and substance for the goal of being "more good." "Less bad" is a goal which lends itself to quantitative measurement (fewer accidents, less waste, etc.) and appropriate metrics for "less bad" drive progress since what gets measured usually gets done. Considerable time is taken to review their previous and highly successful book, "Cradle to Cradle." So much so, however, that it sometimes sounds a bit like an advertisement. One also wonders, just what exactly is new here, given not only "Cradle to Cradle" but other background such as the principles of green chemistry and green engineering, ecological maxims, team problem solving techniques, the precautionary principle, and of course, the intent behind the concept of sustainable development and much progress toward it. Still, there is value in restating things in a different way or context. While reading "The Upcycle" it is easy to generate your own ideas on   ways to improve products or even to manage your own property in a way that eliminates waste or that will make life better for the next generation. It is that birth of ideas in the mind of the reader which makes the book worthwhile.