Great Minds: Bill McDonough’s riveting insight on sustainable design

William (Bill) McDonough is a brilliant architect and designer focused on making sustainable buildings and products that plan for the well-being of “all children, all species, for all time.”

In this Ted Talk, McDonough shares some inspiring examples of his work, including the awesome, closed-system, sustainable cities he helped design in China.

Take a look:

You  might read the transcript after you watch the video. He really packs a punch in 20 minutes.

This is a more in-depth look into McDonough’s sustainable design concepts, shared at the Bioneers conference in 2000.

McDonough’s insight about native people’s planning seven generations down the line was particularly striking. In our fast-paced, modern society, we often barely manage a five-year plan, let alone take into account seven generations.

McDonough reminds us that if we don’t collectively establish our agenda for sustainable, long-term prosperity for ourselves and the earth, we will likely just keep going down the de facto path of overusing resources and destroying the planet’s ecosystems.

He invites us to imagine how we can live luxuriously while also deeply caring for our planet and future generations.

In both talks, McDonough shares very intriguing philosophy and ideology, and brings the concepts to bear with incredible examples of real buildings and products that he and his team helped design.

Examples include Nike shoes with soles that are good for the earth, shower gels that “make the fish happy,” and the Gap corporate campus so inviting to wildlife that birds nest there.

Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, clean water, soil and power — economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed, period.” -William McDonough, TED


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