August 28, 2008
Michael Braungart Thinks Sustainability Is Boring
He’s not so wild about Al Gore, either.
The May issue of Abitare just hit my desk, and it includes a bizarre, confusing, and occasionally funny essay by Michael Braungart, one half of the cradle-to-cradle pioneer McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, titled “Is sustainability boring?” His answer is an unequivocal yes.
But I can tell you, sustainability is boring. It is just the minimum. Like when you were asked: “How is your relationship with your girlfriend?” What do you say? Sustainable? I’d say: “I am so sorry for you.”
Wait, there’s more.
Design is the complete opposite of sustainability. We would still live on trees if we were sustainable. Sustainability just keeps the same things over and over again. Instead we should celebrate being human beings and our creativity, which is far more important than sustainability.
This is one of his more cogent points. Earlier in the essay, Braungart takes Al Gore to task for three “really inconvenient” aspects of his environmental crusade. He writes:
The third point is the most critical one: Al Gore says overpopulation is the core problem. This basically means that as soon as you see a child, you have to think: “Oh shit, overpopulation. It would be better if you did not exist. It’d be better if I didn’t exist.”
Take that, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize! Read Braungart’s entire essay here.