I’ve been doing some reading and research on the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ philosophy proposed by American designer William McDonough and German materials scientist Michael Braungart in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things in which they argue for a radically new approach to manufacturing in which products are designed to be safe, non-toxic, can be reused for other purposes after they have lost their usefulness, and eventually become completely biodgradeable.
After writing the book McDonough and Braungart founded the The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organization which “administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard. It was created to bring about a new industrial revolution that turns the making of things into a positive force for society, economy, and the planet.”
Manufacturers can apply to have products rated in terms of their environmental and social benefits. There is a five-level scale (basic, bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and products given ratings in the categories of material health, material reutilization, renewable energy & carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness.
In a speech at the University of California in 2009 (I think), McDonough explained the mission of his organization.
“Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power — economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed.”
Clean energy features strongly in the Cradle to Cradle philosophy. In that talk Bill McDonough said he was not in favor of tradition nuclear power, but that “I’m interested in nuclear power in a certain way, specifically I’m interested in nuclear fusion. I think we should spend trillions of dollars capturing the effects of nuclear fusion immediately, and I’m delighted to know that our nuclear reactor is exactly where we need it — 93 million miles away. It’s 8 minutes, and it’s wireless — what is our problem?”
As we have mentioned here before, William McDonough is a friend and collaborator with Cherokee Investment Partners CEO Tom Darden, and Darden is a board member of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute — so it would seem they share a similar philosophy regarding responsible and environmentally and socially friendly manufacturing and business practices.
A reader of the Journal of Nuclear Physics (probably picking up on the above connections) asked Andrea Rossi whether the E-Cat would be a cradle to cradle product. At first he did not understand the question, but later wrote:
As you explained in an email sent to me privately, “from cradle to cradle product” means essentially a product wasteless during the production, the working life and the dismission: in this case, yes, the E-Cat is a cradle to cradle product. All the components are recyclable and the “wastes” are recyclable metals.
Thank you for the interesting question.
If Cherokee really is the E-Cat partner, it’s not to difficult to see why. The E-Cat being clean, green and reclyclable fits nicely into the Cradle to Cradle philosopy. We may well find that people like McDonough and Braungart are some of the strongest proponents of E-Cat energy, and with the many connections they have in business, industry and politics they might prove to have a lot of influence in fostering its adoption.