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One of the world’s most innovative designers in resource productivity is William McDonough, dean of the University of Virginia’s school of architecture. Inspired by the way living systems actually work, McDonough follows three simple principles when redesigning processes and products:

  1. Waste equals food. This principle encourages the elimination of the concept of waste in industrial design. We need to design every process so that the products themselves, as well as leftover chemicals, materials, and effluents, can become “food” for other processes.

  2. Rely on current solar income. This principle has two benefits: First, it diminishes, and may eventually eliminate, our reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Second, it means designing systems that sip energy instead of gulping it down.

  3. Respect diversity. We need to evaluate every design for its impact on plant, animal, and human life. For a building, this means, literally, what will the birds think of it? For a product, it means, where will it go and what will it do when it gets there? For a system, it means weighing immediate and long-term effects and deciding whether it enhances people’s identity, independence, and integrity.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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