Tuesday 12 February 2008

A Design Problem?

Saw a video of architect designer William McDonough, author of "Cradle to Cradle". It is kind of long, about 45 minutes, but well worth the time. He was introduced as :” a ground breaking educator, former dean of architecture at the University of Virginia, a professor there, founder of the Institute of Sustainable Design and Commerce, Professor at large at Cornell, Chairman of Second Nature, bringing sustainability curricula to universities, authored the Hanover Principles on Sustainable Design. Received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, Zero Population Leadership Award, and Time magazine named him a Hero of the Planet.”

He had some nice comments about Thomas Jefferson, perhaps as a result of McDonough having been a Dean the University of Va. and living in a home Jefferson designed. He talked about Jefferson’s tombstone, shown above,which Jefferson designed. Note that he omitted being President of the United States.

McDonough points out that Jefferson talks about his legacy, what he left behind, not what he did while he was here.

I'm a teacher, as some of you know, and I kept wondering as I listened, If education was really designed to be about what we leave behind, rather than what we are doing while we are here, would we do it this way? Somehow, I doubted we would.

He had some great thoughts about intention, and the rather pointed quip that, “planning is most effective when it is practiced in advance.” For me, I guess the most important question he asked, was “When do we all become indigenous people?” If we are planning to stay here, on THIS earth, we better PLAN to stay here.

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