This evening, Woodbury hosted a lecture by the quite brilliant William McDonough. He was incredibly informative; my first-thought description of him is that he has delusions of grandeur, only he isn't delusional. His ecological design ideas make sense, nothing seemed half-baked. China has adopted his book Cradle to Cradle as national policy and the work he is doing in China is nothing short of revolutionary. Did you know it is now illegal to build with brick in China?
Mr. McDonough seemed to have a thoughtful solution to every question given to him in the hour long post-lecture Q&A. Many of the questions were on the topic of New Orleans, and what do we do now. An area the size of Colorado is toxified; should we rebuild. He admitted that he hadn't had much time to think about the New Orleans problems, but then spoke for 15 minutes, in that very intriguing manner of someone who is figuring things out in their head as they are saying them. He proposed to rebuild the areas that had meaningful memories, "Imagine not having Jazz". He had a plan for the areas that are uninhabitable though I couldn't get it down in my notes quick enough. He seemed to have very little faith in the current administration, and mentioned that the people of New Orleans should consider rebuilding the communities themselves, to strengthen community bonds in the ravaged city.
In a certain area of the pacific, there is now more plastic than plankton. Something, something, something (again, bad note taking, my apologies) we are completely losing our coral reefs and large amounts of crustaceans, the bottom rung of the food chain. Ponder that one. He referred to this as a giant toilet that doesn't flush. And again in the Q&A rattled off his response on how to fix this problem. I'm paraphrasing to the best of my memory:
"we could have several square miles of a floating grid with windmills at each intersection that could be a giant floating wind farm. Below each windmill there could be a 3 foot net that collects all of the plastics to be recycled into polymer."
He also mentioned something about fantastic fishing.
One of the most fascinating parts of his work are his buildings that produce more power than they use, and distill water no less.
I will try to get my hands on some of the images he showed in his slide show, there were some great ones. It began with an image of a childs rubber ducky and then showed the label warning that the materials used to produce the ducky are known by the state of California to cause cancer:
"What species would make something like this and then give it to children?"