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International

Is that compostable or recyclable?

At AlwaysOn Going Green conference in Davis tonight, that was the clarion call from environmental architect, William McDonough. He and a chemist wrote the book Cradle to Cradle.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

At AlwaysOn Going Green conference in Davis tonight, that was the clarion call from environmental architect, William McDonough. He and a chemist wrote the book

    Cradle to Cradle

. McDonough is also involved now with Vantage Point, a V.C. firm.

After that they set up a website that certifies chemicals used in homes, furniture, cloth, carpets and scores of other daily uses. It is much more complex than simply whether the materials can be re-used. Are the chemicals cancinogenic? Toxic? Polluting or dangerous to other animals? To plants? Do they cause genetic or allergenic problems?

McDonough was the keynote speaker, showing what he and his partners are doing to bring green knowledge to buildings and their materials. It's been a long, but successful road since one of his architecture professors at Yale in the 1970s told the young William, "Solar has nothing to do with architecture." Today McDonough, a widely sought architect, can look at the audience of green tech execsd and investors and say, "Growth is good, if we do it in compliance with nature's laws."

We have, he said, five to ten thousand times as much solar energy hitting earth as we need to fulfill all our energy uses. He is confident the energy needs of the future will be met. He is most concerned that we humans provide the following world for our children:

"Our goal is a delightfully diverse, healthy and just world with clean air, water, soil & power--economically, equitably and ecologically and elegantly enjoyed."

His positive message was that man can leave a positive ecological footprint on the earth. -------- McDonough was asked about China and its pollution by an audience member.

It is the seminal environmental question of our time, he said. Pointing out the pollution there is enormous and for the Olympics next year they are shutting down factories for a week to get fresh air.

To another questioner he said he would love to see massive deployment of solar generation in the U.S.

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