William McDonough is an architect who believes environmental sustainability doesn’t mean slowing growth, but simply designing better.
“How wonderful it would be if we could design things where we celebrate the abundance of human design,” he explains, “instead of worrying about the fact that we have conspicuous consumption and the fact that we’re destroying the planet to celebrate various kinds of commercial abundance”.
McDonough poses the question “What would it mean for growth to be good? and begins his answer by looking at E=mc2 as a poem. “E is really physics and the sun. It’s this nuclear reactor that we have, it’s 93 million miles away, it’s 8 minutes and it’s wireless. What is our problem? In 8 minutes we get thousands of times more energy than we need to operate human systems and yet we insist on burning ancient sunlight and causing climate change.”
In this speech, McDonough, co-creator of the Cradle to Cradle design concept and certification process, talks about how we can design a better world- buildings, cars, products, etc- without producing any waste. In part two of his talk, McDonough talks about how the world is meant to be growing, but we just need to find a new direction for our growth.