cradle to cradle william mcdonough michael braungart sustainable jewellery

How to adopt a ‘Cradle to Cradle’ mentality?

By tracy sweeney

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We are halfway through this great read: ‘The Upcycle’ about creative design & how if we re-imagine the objects we surround ourselves with, we can slowly change society & allow for abundance rather than the constant rant of governments in relation to sustainability & our guilty emissions etc. Why be pessimistic about the planet when in actual fact a shift in thought pattern & design is all we need to actually have a lasting influence on the environment. This is not a moaning, groaning treatise on the environment (thank Christ because we are bombarded & overwhelmed with guilt & fear as it stands, which is wholly unhealthy & unproductive.)

According to William McDonough & Michael Braungart, we have for too long adopted a ‘Cradle to Grave’ approach, that this years fashion ends up in next years landfill or incinerator. Creative design should allow for durability, to pass on to the next generation; i.e. ‘Cradle to Cradle’ or to add benefit to the biosphere after the products ‘death’.

“As modern engineers and designers commonly create a product now, the item is designed only for its first use, not its potential next uses after it breaks, or goes threadbare, or goes out of fashion, or crumbles. The item works its way from one downwards cycle to another. We believe there is a different perspective. The problem is not with humans per se, but with what they have in the last 5,000 years & especially in the last 150 years, fashioned”

The book goes on to dismantle old viewpoints & optimistically think outside the box in relation to product design & its benefits.

As jewellery designers & makers we are tired of seeing clients appear at our door: ‘Oh we got this ring in Dubai for a fraction of the cost of buying it here, but look all the stones are loose & I’m worried I might lose a diamond’. Boo Hoo, how sad! Our strategy for ‘Cradle to Cradle’ craftsmanship is simply this: make a well-designed fabulous ring, where the claws won’t snag on your clothes, the diamonds remain in place & the ring can be worn comfortably everyday. The diamonds are handpicked, so the colour & clarity jump out at you & shine brightly forever. You can remodel & upcyle old jewellery to create something amazing, that doesn’t come from an Indonesian factory. And when you’ve worn your ring for a hundred years, you can pass it to your heirs & it will still stand the test of time, still shine brightly, still continue to delight.

Don’t skimp on design folks, it will come back to bite you in the ass! Fantastic website: Cradle2Cradle with interesting sections for design, fashion & students. Really liking!

Thanks for pointing out a great read!

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