Cradle to Cradle

My thoughts on this past week’s lectures are that we are kind of talking about the same things, sustainability, and how to be sustainable in our everyday lives. However, the difference is that, yes, we are talking about the same things over and over again, but there are so many different aspects that we are going to cover. This past week we have discussed how we need to be able to find, use, and develop items that we can use from ‘”Cradle to Cradle”, meaning that they are made used to their full ability, then broken down and made into something completely different, and this cycle starts over again. During our lecture, we watched a TedTalk by Michael Pawlyn and he was discussing how he and a couple colleagues were able to created packing corners out of mushrooms. This is a prime example of Cradle to Cradle. He stated that they grow the mushrooms, then the mushrooms are broken down and compressed into these packing corners and then when the pack corners make it to the consumer, and they are thrown away they will be able to fully decompose in the landfill or wherever they may end up. The use of Pawlyns packing corners is an example of many of the tenents discusses in our reading, Industrial Ecology. The main three that really stuck to me when watching his TedTalk was: Adapting to Changing Conditions, Using Life-Friendly Chemistry, and Be Resources Efficient. The connection I made to adapt to changing conditions is that climate change is becoming a very dominant topic in every day life. And as the future generation of the world, we need to be very responsive to this and need to find was to counteract the climate change, and if we cant reverse it then we need to find ways to sustain it, so we don’t make it any worse, therefore, using the compressed mushroom substance as a packing product, therefore lowering the about of plastics that are being produced and being put into our oceans and landfills. The next tenet and was that we need to be using life-friendly chemistry. There are many chemicals that are being created and used that are very harmful and dangerous not only to humans but to wildlife and nature itself. If we aren’t careful, we will soon pollute all our waters and then we will in-toe pollute all the land. This falls in Pawlyns talk again, when we mentioned that the reason he developed this product was because the packing Styrofoam packing peanuts and packing corners that are used now, will never decompose. So instead of leaving these “immortal” packing peanuts to pollute the world forever, why not make a packing product that decomposes within day’s of being outside. The last tenet that really grabbed my attention is we need to be resource efficient. The mushrooms that are being used to make these are readily available. One can look at in a forest and there will be a plethora of mushrooms, and one can remove them and a new one will be sprouting the next day. So instead of creating new chemicals and new products every time we “need” them, we should just look around at what nature is providing for us.

My current Reduce/Reuse/Recycle habits aren’t the best. I will say that this class has opened my eyes to how I don’t do as much as I could. I will say that I thought I was a decent “recycler”, however when I learned the true definition, I found out that I am a “reuser”. I down-cycle a lot the items I own. I turn a lot of things into rags when I am done. Which does keep the out of a landfill for a little bit, but it doesn’t solve the whole problem.

As for the Cradle to Cradle activity that we did, I was shocked as to how much I though I knew, that I really didn’t, this is very similar to my though processes about recycling. I knew what Cradle to Cradle meant, and that was about it. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about what all went into it. The process of breaking it down, to make new products and making them into new owns is far over my head, unless is possible though nature. In my own opinion, I the process of breaking it down to make new products is the most tedious cycle of them all. One has to take into consideration how can they do this in the most natural way, and without harming the environment, and if they cant do that, then what is the point?


During this week, it was very eye opening to how much I didn’t know. I knew I wasn’t the best human to this planet, but I definitely didn’t think I was as bad as I am. Now with this new knowledge, I am hoping that I will become more conscience of my decisions and how they affect the earth and the future population on this earth.


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