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E-M:/ McDonough on phthalates, design, and urgency

Title: McDonough on phthalates, design, and urgency
There was a nice article in the Washington Post about William McDonough -- and designing with the environment in mind.  Some great quotes from McDonough, and mention of Michigan buildings including the Rouge and Herman Miller's plant, and auto industry design.

An Environmental Problem Slipping Through the Quacks

By Linda Hales
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 27, 2005; C01

Environmental architect William McDonough made a powerful case for a "new industrial revolution" when he planted a living roof in 2002 atop Ford's sprawling, grime-choked River Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Mich. The feat of green design is said to have saved the beleaguered carmaker $35 million in environmental cleanup costs. Birds now lay eggs in the flourishing 10-acre blanket of sedum, which cleans runoff naturally.

On Wednesday, the visionary from Charlottesville made an even stronger argument for change with a little yellow rubber ducky.

In a speech to the Industrial Designers Society of America, which is meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park through Saturday, McDonough noted that in California, the $2.99 bath toy comes with a warning. Toxic chemicals in that sweet, squishy body have been known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

"What kind of society would make something like this to put in the mouths of children?" McDonough demanded. "Design is the first signal of human intention. What is your intention?"

No designer rose to defend the duck.

McDonough moved on to the usual suspects: belching smokestacks, chemical fumes in carpets, hazardous high-tech garbage. IQs are declining in industrial Ohio. A graveyard of plastics is growing in the Pacific Ocean. Acidification is turning coral, the bottom of the food chain, to jelly.

"Our current society has a strategy of tragedy," he said. "These are the things that are happening because we have no other plan."

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