Reinvention for Sustainability

Jesse Hogan writes in The Age about his interview with Michael Braungart, who runs the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency and is the co-developer of the Cradle to Cradle system.

Braungart provides a very radical (but needed) view:

Michael Braungart…describes the theory of rationing harmful emissions to protect the environment as “like saying you’ll protect your child by beating them a little less”.

“We are far too many people on this planet to (just) be less bad,” he says at his office in Hamburg in Germany. Professor Braungart contests Al Gore’s contention in An Inconvenient Truth that environment problems are linked to overpopulation. He says the weight of all the world’s ants is more than four times the weight of all humans, yet their calorie consumption is the equivalent to that of 30 million humans.

“The question is if we can organise our material flows differently, because we are only a problem because we make waste.”

The agency creates two types of products: biological nutrients, which disintegrate after use, and technical nutrients, which can be reused in future products.

Professor Braungart, a member of the German Government’s committee for environmental innovation, says working with large companies does not inevitably compromise green ideals.

“It needs protest on one side but on the other side you need also to reinvent things to be beneficial,” he says.


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