Sarah Saxon is a senior at Roland Park Country School working as a BJEN intern this spring. She authored this guest entry.
In 2006, a man named William McDonough came to speak at my school. I have to give some credit to him on this blog, because his speech introduced me to the world of environmentalism, and he had a very profound impact on my way of thinking.
There are two main things I remember about his speech (Besides the fact he is a very persuasive speaker):
1. “Waste is Food” – This is one point that William McDonough mentioned multiple times. He talked about the cycle of stuff. And by stuff, I literally mean stuff. McDonough talked about a circular pattern off stuff instead of the linear pattern that exists today. This is both in the technological world and the environmental world. McDonough’s idea is that we should eliminate the idea of waste all together (not just reduce it). For example, why shouldn’t we be able to use our TV until it is too old, go back to the TV supplier, turn it in, and say “I would like a new one please?” Then the supplier could use parts from the old TV for something else.
2. “All children of all species for all time” – The other thing that McDonough mentioned that really stuck with me, is that the point of making the world better isn’t just about helping humans, it’s about creating a safe place to live for “all children of all species of all time”. To me, this pretty much covers it. If we strive to make a place that is safe for all children of all species of all time, we haven’t let anyone out.
In the time since McDonough spoke at my school (3 years ago), I like the rest of the general public have become a lot more aware of the environmental issues that exist today (besides global warming and greenhouse gases). I have also become a lot more aware of the political side of “saving the environment”.
I have learned more about William McDonough and his effort to help the environment. He talks about “remaking the way we make things” (in his book Cradle to Cradle) and “the Second Industrial Revolution”. McDonough states that the first industrial revolution was what got us into this mess and second one will be about getting us out of it. Both, he claims, are simply about design.
If you don’t know or haven’t heard anything about William McDonough, I suggest looking him up. He is very insightful. You may not agree with everything he says; he is very strong willed. However, I think he has a lot of good things to say.