Sustainability in less than an hour…kinda

By Travis on June 22, 2009

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As I’m sure you’re aware the word “Sustainability” is certainly a buzz word today. Whether you support or object to the notion of climate change, there’s a lot to be said about implementing ideas of sustainability in day to day life. Now..don’t go thinking this means you have to hug a tree…although..hey…if that’s your thing…you go for it. Sustainability in it’s very essence is the yearning to minimize the downgrading of an objects materials. To better explain let’s use the example of recycling. When most products are recycled the resulting product is typically of a lesser value. The overall quality of the recycled product is usually diluted to where the resulting product that is created is simply a step down from the overall initial purpose of the recycled product. As a product continues in it’s life of recycling it is actually just taking a slower journey to non usability…or basically a point where no other value can be attained from a further recycling of that said product. While there are obviously some exceptions to that example, most items when recycled are just being thrown away slower. This is valuable don’t get me wrong, but wouldn’t it make more sense to build a product with it’s demise in mind? Enable the product to be designed for deconstruction and concentrate the “leftover” elements of that product into a similar product with the same amount of value, if not more.

If this idea tickles your fancy, you are not alone. Several months ago I read an interesting book that discusses that sustainability principle called “Cradle to Cradle“.  It’s a fascinating read about two men who do exactly what the title dictates, design products from shoes to buildings to ensure that the end product does not live off a “cradle to grave” philosophy but a “cradle to cradle” philosophy instead. If perhaps you aren’t overly keen on reading, set aside a little over 45 minutes and watch the following documentary “Waste=Food” This documentary is an expansion on the book “Cradle to Cradle”. It truly has the ability to make you rethink your day to day life, and does an amazing job of explaining the idea behind sustainability.

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