Climate 21

A Chat with Bill McDonough - How Design Can Help in the Fight Against Climate Change

April 28, 2021 Tom Raftery / Bill McDonough Season 1 Episode 22
Climate 21
A Chat with Bill McDonough - How Design Can Help in the Fight Against Climate Change
Show Notes Transcript

Over on the Climate 21 Forums I created for discussions about this podcast a user called Siobhán commented that "I would love to hear how design can help in the fight against Climate Change..."

When you think of design and sustainability one name stands out - William (Bill) McDonough. Bill is an internationally renowned architect, designer, and co-author of the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

I reached out to Bill and he graciously agreed to join me on the podcast. We had a fascinating conversation, I learned loads. I hope you enjoy it too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page, head on over to the Climate 21 Podcast Forum, or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Sustainability solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/sustainability and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Music credit - Intro and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Bill McDonough:

There's a price. At some point, you'll we'll say this is important that we do it because nature is going to have a very tough time keeping up with human emissions really does. So we got to bring every tool we have to do this exercise every single quarter.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the climate 21 podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices and climate emissions reductions. And I'm your host, global Vice President for SAP. Tom Raftery. Climate 21 is the name of an initiative by SAP to allow our customers calculate, report and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In this climate 21 podcast, I will showcase best practices and thought leadership by SAP, by our customers, by our partners and by our competitors if their game in climate emissions reductions. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the climate 21 podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me on the show today I have my special guest, Bill. Bill, would you like to introduce yourself?

Bill McDonough:

Hello, I'm William McDonough. And I'm in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I'm an architect and co author of the book Cradle to Cradle remaking the way we make things.

Tom Raftery:

Superb. Welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.Bill, One of the reasons I invited you on the show is that a number of episodes ago, somebody left a comment on my website saying it would be fantastic to have an episode around a design and how we can use design to design out carbon or carbon emissions from our supply chains from our organizations, that kind of thing. I mean, you are well known in the design space. So to my mind, you were an ideal person to have come on and speak about this. First of all, why do you think design is important? Why do you think it would be helpful to have a design component involved in our climate emissions reduction strategies?

Bill McDonough:

Well, the important thing is to remember that design is the first signal of human intention. So if you wake up in the morning and have designs on the world, you intend for something? And what if our intentions were to make the world a better place? Rather than just I don't really know what I'm doing? Or I'm just trying to make some money in Europe, just whatever. But if you actually had good intentions, what would that mean? And then we could look at it in a strange way to us. If we do things that are untoward? Do we really intend to do them without our intention to pollute water or put toxic materials into environments for children or put too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? I mean, is it. So if it's not our intention, then it's an it's not our plan, then it's actually our de facto plan, because it's the thing that's happening because we have no other plan. So what's the plan? And who hasn't? So when I see things that aren't water, I ask is this intention? No, probably not. But it's a design problem, for sure. And it's amazing how nature doesn't seem to have a design problem people do. So when we get to carbon in the atmosphere, nature knows exactly what to do. Of course it does with carbon. And we could call it living carbon. And it cycles through the atmosphere. 25 year cycle where a tree rots, carbon goes up comes back, but over the long periods of time, it's accruing. On the Earth's surface. If you go all the way back, when the earth look like Venus, you could say, oh, there's this dead rock in space with some water on it, and the sun is shining on it. And the next thing you know, physics just met chemistry. And we get biology. Whoa, and then we got life. And life is order out of chaos. You're thinking about negative entropy. Because when you burn a log, you have entropy. But the log itself was an accrual of various events like photons from the sun card for the atmosphere. So the earth is flat soil, which is humus, it's got kelp, it's got green things and those things are basis of life. And that's why we're called humans. That word comes from us. Soil people. So, for me as a designer, I just decided I was going to design buildings like trees. Why not? Why not? So why not? And it's a design question. What if you find something that accrues carbon and produces oxygen? And we think that humans made produced oxygen lately. change colors of the seasons? provide habitat for 1000s of species purify water, provide fuel, shade microclimates keep going change before cybers. And then how about self replicating? How's that? Been for you, though? Not yet. But

Tom Raftery:

I was gonna say, self replicating.

Bill McDonough:

Who knows, but the, the, what a wonderful thing to do and inspired by So that to me, it's designed, and it's exquisite level. So that's really why I think design so important. Because if we don't like what's going on, change the design.

Tom Raftery:

Super. And how, I mean, you talked about making buildings like trees. What other kind of design principles can we use to design better to make sure that we're not polluting? We, I mean, the big one to my mind is is the climate emissions, the co2, the meat, they in a wax all these, but in general, if we want to design pollution out of our products out of our services, how do we go about doing that?

Bill McDonough:

Well, pollutants, or toxin is a material in the wrong place, at the wrong dose in the wrong duration. And so by project principle, we could design out things like that when we realize that that's in the mix here. So yeah, for example, water is highly toxic. If I surround you with every six minutes, you'll drown. And if I if you jump out of an airplane and hit the water terminal velocity, you know, it's a very short duration, but a very big dose.

Tom Raftery:

And so I remember one of my lectures in universities saying that toxicity is, to your point, it's all about dosage. And his point was a an egg cup full of salt is a lethal dose.

Bill McDonough:

Right? Right, exactly. But on the other hand, we have context, we live in this world and, and so from a design perspective, we could look at carbon emissions, and that are in excess of healthy levels as a toxin in the environment, because it's toxifying the hemisphere. So So I think, when we look at principles, one of the first Cradle to Cradle principles, there are three fundamentals. One is waste equals food. So in nature, when things waste in other things, food, so when you talk about pollution, pollution is liability. And why would I want to make that and so waste equals food. So that would then bring us to the the notion of designing things so that they have an x use if it's for the technosphere. So we design things in the biosphere, which means it goes back to nature, safely. We call those products of consumption, you can actually consultant and they go back toothpaste. And then we have products as a service, which is a television set, what you want is to watch TV, you don't want to buy 4360 chemicals, some of which are toxic, put in your house and encourage your children to play with it. You know, that's not the agenda, right? You want to watch TV? So why can't we design things like cars and televisions and microphones and computers to go back to technical cycles safely, so that we can use them over and over again, that's circular economy. And that's how we got a lot of traction there. Because the idea that we could design safe, healthy things designed for disassembly and reuse. So we don't design for end of life, which is basically lifecycle design. And it's a scientific process that looks at source to disposition. But so that's very important. But we use the human projection, and call it life. So we say end of life for the product, but it's not a living thing. So it's kind of silly, really. So we say end of use, together was the same for our use, right? And then if you design for end of use instead of end of life, you don't say Oh, and it ends up in landfill and then my life cycle. You say, Well, what's the next use? Don't you do that he walked into the circular because now we decided for next year. So in nature, you know, it's celebrates this idea of waste. I mean, think about a cherry tree in the spring, like we see out here now. I said tastic, like, what happens if this explosions 10s of 1000s of blossoms just in case one of them, you know, happens to be lucky. And, you know, they're not very efficient. But boy, is it effective? Is it beautiful? And when those blossoms get back on the ground A few days later, how long are they there, you haven't noticed that? over the three days. They're gonna go right back to the soil, what a beautiful thing. So waste equals four. So you're eliminating the concept of waste. That's the first. The second is we use current solar income, just like nature, we power it with renewables 100%. So as we do our design, that's we're looking for, why not course. And then the third is celebrate diversity. Because nature loves diversity. Biology loves diversity. And, you know, it's, it's obviously critical to any bias here. And then, but in the technosphere, we call it you know, you want to really be coherency. It's not easy by the biosphere to be as a designer, because it's very complex. And, you know, it's like, remember, Charles de Gaulle was asked what it was like to be President of France. And he said, What do you think it's like trying to run a country with 200 types of keys? And, you know, we want diversity and friendship. My first thing birds, of course, but do we want diversity and plastics? Do we want 249 kinds of French plastic? You know, what we really want, if we can get them coherent, so that we can realize them, and then put systems, but we don't want to start spreading stuff all over the nature with diverse inputs that have no defined pathway, you know, except the rescale. So it really is important that we have these three principles. Waste equals food, is current solar income, celebrate diversity.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. How, though? I mean, it sounds very challenging to design, to your point, a TV set that becomes food. How does that work?

Bill McDonough:

Well, it becomes food for other TVs? Yes, the point it's actually the, it's the technical nutrition, we can't have that industry. Right. So. So if you look at the work that various companies are doing in this space, you'll see all kinds of people adopting this strategy. I mean, Apple is fully aware that the aluminum cases are reusable material, and they understand that. And they're understanding how to take apart an iPhone to recover materials. We have systems today that can take circuit boards, telephones, and shred them. And then using various techniques to separate out the materials for reuse. Sure, we can do this. So we design for disassembly, we design for next use. And we and we get back clever, humans are clever. And in this context, you know, I call this hope, and creativity are the two powers that humans have to move beyond the impossible. Nice. Nice. So, you know, I hope we can do this. And let's get creative. Because it sounds impossible. And maybe it is, so maybe you should go get some help and strike up else if it isn't possible. But until then, let's just keep at it. Now, for designers, if it's possible, it already exists for us, right, so our job is naked exists. So for other people, they go, Oh, this is possible. So when I design buildings that produce more electricity, and they require to operate from renewables, you know, 20 years later, they end up at the top of the list have an idea of a netzero building. Okay, that's nice. When I did it, solar collectors for 20 times, it's more expensive. But we were positing it, it's possible. Someday these will be cost effective. Someday we got to find out how, when who, so we can do it. And then people can say, Oh, look, it's possible. Another way question is, what's the cost and how are you going to figure it out? And sure enough, here we are, and we got renewables there. We're looking at one asset kilowatt hour, the deserts right now. So unbelievable. Yeah,

Tom Raftery:

so, so a net zero house, given the economics of the time of the 80s 90s was an absolutely ridiculously crazy idea. Whereas now, it's entirely possible, what other crazy ideas are out there that, you know, could be made possible with economies of scale. And in advanced technologies?

Bill McDonough:

Well, I think our idea of a product as a service, when we first positive, we said, you know, you really want on a washing machine what you want it's clean clothes, and, you know, you're gonna go buy some rubber and glass and chromium, steel and aluminum, and you're gonna put your house and, and then a number of years later, you're gonna want to get rid of it, and it's gonna go to some dump somewhere. Meantime, you have to have a service and expensive to get people to come and fix things. You know, the anode side, cold plate is so they corrode and, you know, it's gonna have a useful period of whatever the company thinks, is okay, you know, he's six years or something. On the other hand, if we saw a washing machine as a service, when I was clean clothes, and what I want to do is spend as little as possible on getting those clean clothes, and at the same time, have the highest level of performance, which makes total sense, cost performance, the SEC, what if I can effectively lease the machine, so when the supplier sells it to me, or at least whatever the transaction is, doesn't really matter. When I have that washing machine? What if the company is aware of the rubber the class, the lower of the steel? These are the technical nutrients of their industry? There it is. And they can afford to go play piano, it's because they don't want it to break down. Because you're getting in as a service, you're looking for 3000 washes. So they and you're paying per wash less than you would if you own the thing, so on. So everybody's winning on this, but they still have an object on their raw materials. Wow. So when you think about that, it's quite astonishing. We do light fixtures, indium and gallium, you don't want indium and gallium your house, you don't care. You want light. So what if you saw the light service and Philips wants the fixture back? That's what we do. So when we first proposed these things, people said, Oh, you're communists? You don't believe in ownership or something? You know, it's like, No, no, no, no, no. We want to say I'd make perpetual assets instead of all these contingent liabilities. So if it literally is the lease, you know, then the company didn't keep the materials on their books. Right? What does that like? You're not even depreciating it. You're keeping commodities in flow. That's amazing. Yeah. Whereas otherwise, she's selling the washing machine, a wave goodbye to what the customer, the materials, he just waved goodbye, and everything's Goodbye, all money talks. But just keep saying goodbye. So hello, again, and again. And again. Welcome to circular economy. So that's another big idea that we put out there. And it took a while. But now it's like an understood thing. And it makes

Tom Raftery:

a lot of sense. I was I was looking at this recently for the mobility space for cars, because the the shift to the electrification of transportation is well underway. And currently, the batteries that go into those cars have a useful lifetime of somewhere between three and 500,000 kilometers, which is you're talking

Bill McDonough:

about a use period, not a lifetime use period, use period. Okay.

Tom Raftery:

Whereas the new the new batteries that Tesla announced that their battery day last September, have a use time of about 3.6 million kilometers, which is 10 times the useful life of a car in the EU. today. So right there, you could see a shift to product as a service where the battery is brought back after x 100,000 kilometer, absolutely. A new body is put on and it's sent back. Sure.

Bill McDonough:

Absolutely. And you said what, you know, it's use life cycles, but it's really use periods. So yeah, so this, this has a use period that extends beyond the body, the life of the body of the frame, if you want to use life. Right, thank you. Yeah. So sure those things are important, but also designed protects us, the batteries will be recyclable. As we figure out how to do that. It's coming in very quickly. It just is part of the design assignment at this point. So this is exciting. And I think the the issue here I mobility is, obviously and you can see it in the marketplace, that one of the first places to electrify immediately would be the transportation sector, especially light transportation. And so obvious, I mean, you have to almost be an idiot to buy an internal combustion engine at this point. You can't do math. For example, You know, and you like to have maintenance, you'd like spreading oil around and you like having to look for power in special places where people are dangerous materials. They're spraying around without control. I mean, my goodness, really? So I think the electric car went right past my sense in terms of parody in the marketplace, turned value for dollar, probably four years, five years ago. And here we are. So yeah, it's it's a great, big one.

Tom Raftery:

When one of my followers on LinkedIn had a great question, for me to ask you, he wanted to know, what are the skills that designers and he said, all types from material to service designers need going forward art should be taught now.

Bill McDonough:

I think that always makes me come back to the fundamental question of, are we doing the right thing? And are we doing it the right way? So those are the two questions right thing right way. And if you think about engineers, and you know, where the devils in the details, you, you often see people trying to make sure they're doing it the right way, most efficiently. And then they bring their tools like six sigma. And now they do it superficially. But what if you're doing the wrong thing? Well, now you're just speaking perfectly wrong. Say. So I think that's value, you're looking at number and statistical significance. So it's important, obviously, that's how we got to keep doing our stuff, because it's affected that way. But the real thing, I think, is the effective questions. So I would say to the designers, the great gift that we have as designers, is that we can start with our values. We don't start with number. So what is the right and the wrong? What is the good and the bad? What is the moral the immoral? What is the ethical, the unethical start there? Those are your values. What is beautiful? What is the ugly? So Wow, this is Plato. And then when you think about a student, Aristotle, who called what he did practical wisdom, you start with that wisdom, see? So be wise, then be smart. I prefer wise to Smart Start. So you start with wisdom. What have you learned? And then from there, you go from your values in mind, I always start projects by asking, How do I love all the children of all species for all time. So to see what happens, quite something. So anyway, you start with your values, now you go to principles. And those are your bedrock, that's your fulcrum for your leaves of change. So those are the things that don't move those your principles. For us. That's Cradle to Cradle, based, he goes through his current solar cell principles, and then you bring all these leavers. But the thing that doesn't move you need because I think Archimedes was once quoted, as having said, Give me a lever and a place to stand up to get to raise the earth. He got the fulcrum. I mean, if you don't have a thing that doesn't move, then you can't do anything, push the earth off a cliff, and you put all that but you're not gonna lift it. So. So that's your fulcrum. And a designer needs a fulcrum. This is what you do what you want, then there's, you go from the principles to your visions. That's, that's what architects are. We're professional visionaries. That's all we do. So then you go patients, and then you do goals, like a building, like a tree. Wow, I mean, things they don't want. And then you go to strategies, like, wow, you know, I'll face I'll do this somewhere. Find solar collectors, then you go to tactics, which are short term strategies, change lightbulbs, change, furniture, whatever you're gonna do, right away. And then finally, you got to value and you say, Look, my diet is better. And you notice that if you start with value, she can get to that point. And that's what we do. Otherwise, you couldn't keep doing it. I work in commerce. And if I don't produce value, I don't get to do it again. But I start with my values, and that's what designers get to do. And then for engineers, we often start with number, statistical significance. Because what Aristotle is looking for is truth in number and truth in science. So you want to combine truth and beauty, with truth in number and science. That's practical wisdom. But if you start with the value in the numbers, all you can do is move on Two strategies to get the goals. You set goals and then you're benchmarking. So you're always in number world, you never get to your values from there, you only get the lesson more. You never got to good and bad. And that's why we have this weird anomaly in the world, that people think that being less bad is being good. Which is crazy, because less is in America relationship. That is a human value. So they don't go that way. less bad is still bad, by definition, just less. See. So it's funny the other day somebody said, Bill, I love the way you phrase this. That's bad. It's not good. So isn't it interesting that when you see a double positive, if a double negative is a positive thing, Julian's positive a double positive? I've never heard anybody say a double positive, that's negative. My answer to that was Yeah, right. So I think keep it clear, given values and value to both to both all the time.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Okay. And I should I should credit the LinkedIn follower who put who gave me that question. His name is Sergei, Isa cough, I hope I pronounced his name correctly. But a few years ago, you posited what's been called a new language for carbon in an article in science in nature, entitled carbon is not the enemy. Or why do you think we need to reconsider the words we use when we speak of carbon?

Bill McDonough:

Well, I became a bit sad. When everybody keeps saying carbon is the enemy, you know, we need a carbon war room, I was part of that meeting. And warm room. And that carbon is the enemy and carbon is bad. And the poor element carbon, I mean, horrible way to think about we are carbon. If you have carbon is the enemy, then you're your own enemy, because your living thing as carbon. So current, we have to love carbon, we just have to stop putting the wrong place. So I thought it would be good, especially for the children, not to keep saying carbon is bad. So I decided, wouldn't it be nice if we could characterize carbon speak for what it what we do with it? And how we can celebrate that. So I thought, what if we spoke of living carbon? That would be essentially, you know, green carbon, that's carbon from the atmosphere, through photosynthesis, and suddenly becoming the verge of the world that supports us is awesome. All that. So living carp, wonderful. And then so if we produce more living carbon than our carbon positive behavior, it's carbon positive behavior. The more the merrier, regenerative agriculture, go for it. And then then there's durable carbon. Now, durable carbon is that which we can use generations or sits still a limestone mountain, sitting still durable carbon. But so as a plastic bottle, or packaged as reusable being reused, it's durable, and we're using it over and over again. So staying in the technosphere not going future by us. So that's why we're upset about single use plastics, because they're not durable. They go and get fugitive on us. Right. So durables. A wouldn't be even a building will be a durable carbon, you know, in a building for 1000 years. And then we could put it back in soil if you haven't talked about it, but lead paint or something, but can stay in use. So durable. And then there's fugitive carbon. And that's the big ups. That's when we let it loose and just goes wherever a fugitive sort of implies low criminality escape system. And so the stuff that we send to the atmosphere today is the toxin. So okay, fugitive in the atmosphere, whoops. No, that's not good behavior. So we could call that carbon negative behavior. But I get really confused that children have a tough time with this, too. When you hear people say I'm going to be carbon negative. You'll hear that now because they'll say I'm going to take carbon out of the atmosphere. Great idea. Really important. Got to do lots of that. But carbon negative. Yeah. Okay. So I feel like we should say, that's, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna behave, that's a negative behavior. Is the carbon in the atmosphere yet? It's double negatives are tricky. So I think Gears of karma we got to stop and there's fugitive durable carbon. Plastic Bottle floating in the ocean. Is fugitive, durable, right? So there's your language right there. So no more fuse. With that, we're not doing that. Or if it is going to go a few weeks, it might well, then let's design it to be safe in nature, just like the cherry blossom. So we're gonna have small form factor packaging, and, and we can't collect it because it's just too small or whatever, that should absolutely be a cherry blossom. You know, and if it finds itself in the natural world, it's just right in the oceans, it doesn't produce microplastics those things and like, so it's a design assignment all the way from ephemeral, to highly durable things. Okay. And the entire spectrum in between. and

Tom Raftery:

carbon negative is the wrong terminology to use, what would be the right terminology to use for people taking carbon back out of the atmosphere?

Bill McDonough:

Well, the terms of art that are out there now are things like carbon removal, or carbon capture. Those are terms that are specific to that kind of agenda. We can use nature based solutions to sequester carbon. So it can be in soil and in roots, and in verger, mangroves are amazing, and so on. So, but the idea of saying that mangrove is carbon negative, it doesn't really give the joy and spirit on what's going on here. So yeah, I would just be more specific and say, we are sequestering if you're putting it into some durable state, whether it's in a forest, and it's for a period of time, and that's part of the cycle, or you put it back underground, which is something we should, you know, we took it from the geo strobe, put it back, you know, okay, that doesn't, that's not crazy idea. It's the problem with things like that, it's often they're, they're not cost effective, because you're not producing value, per se with it. But we will see that coming because the value will be recognized that there is a price on a piece of carpet. And at some point, you'll we'll say this is important that we do it because nature is going to have a very tough time keeping up with human emissions. Yeah, it really does. So we got to bring every tool we have to the to this exercise every single one, including carbon capture. So yeah. But it's carbon positive behavior. It's like good behavior with carbon. Yes, I love that. So you can tell the kids say, you share a little carbon positive bracelet. And it tells the story. Yeah, life, more life, less, less death.

Tom Raftery:

And the circular carbon economy. Just to bring everything back to circularity. Again. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Bill McDonough:

Yeah, happy to. I was in Davos, a year plus ago, where I had been the chair of the Council on circular economy, for the World Economic Forum. And so we really are vigorously engaged this circular economy concept. And a lot of it's based on Cradle to Cradle because some of the more some of the more important players in this have adopted our biological technical cycle concept, and a kind of butterfly diagram, things like that. And so, you know, so I'm, we're known for that. But for soccer COMM And I worked with a Chinese and ammonius circular economy, way back then. So that, but then all of a sudden, there has to consider the role of carbon in Singapore, specifically. And what I realized is I did want to talk about because carbon in the circular economy is both a material and a fuel. It's very unusual. So in the circular economy, we want to reuse things. But in the circular economy, if we start just measuring our missions, and we try to reduce them, try to do less all the time. So we thought about the climate, well, if we do more efficiently, or I can use an engine block again, instead of waiting to metal and making more cast iron, but then you stop and think well, wait a minute, what am I doing make a Cast Iron Age? or using it again? What am I want to perpetuate the internal combustion engine? Is that the concept like all of a sudden you a windmill, it's ironic. I can use the material again, but oh, I'm perpetuating a system that man petrochemicals to run it. Is that intelligent or should I be focusing on electric cars? Yeah, very interesting. So I thought, Well, yeah, let's take a look at carbon as a material and fuel and see what its role is and it's quite phenomenal, really, how special it is when you stop and characterize it on its own. Because it's the thing Unlike the circular economy, not that we just want to reuse it, of course you do. But we want to remove it. Remove it. Isn't that interesting. So we don't necessarily say we want to remove things in a circular economy, we want to reuse things. Here's one, we actually got to go get it and remove it. So that's why we did that for the G 20. presidency last year, working with various other agencies and parties, and created a guide for the circular carbon economy, which is essentially, from the fuel side, it's just reducing emissions dramatically. So we made Paris goals. So we mapped it against Paris goals, right. And then, on the other hand, you see it as a material is domestic viable. So you have both conditions. So as we remove it, we can also use it, we use it and not make a future again. So all of a sudden, we start to imagine, in 2050, for example, I don't know that we'll need any petrochemicals or hydrocarbons for plastics. My guess is they'll be semi plastics in the world, that we'll be putting them through chemical recycling, and it's all there. And so, you know, do we really, you know, what is the future of all this. And so that'd be part of it. And then we'd also want to stop emitting carbon in the atmosphere by 2050, assists zero emissions is the goal. And let's all have that goal, including Saudi Arabia, let's have that goal. And that's what we did. So so it is useful to look at the carbon on its own terms, as part of the circular economies, it's not a replacement, or just simply a focus on that material within old systems. And you end up these very beautiful diagrams that everyone can share. And you can find your way to do it, zero emissions, figure out your way, what works for you where you are with your people. And for me, the main goal of all this is to understand energy and then provide as much affordable energy is possible, of the safest possible kind to the largest number of people. And that's really, I think, why hydrocarbons are so are so common, is because they provide inexpensive energy to large numbers of people. Well, we don't lose that. We just want to lose the admission space. Sure, Bill,

Tom Raftery:

are you considering all the topics we've discussed? And the the issues that still remain? Are you are you optimistic for our future?

Bill McDonough:

Well, yes, because designers are inherently optimistic. It's part of our nature, we wake up in the morning, we will make the world better. Right? So how do you do that if you're not optimistic? Also, I think somebody wants characterize me and they said, you know, some people think they see glass. And they characterize if they're pessimists, this is half empty. It's a mistake characterize this awful. But for me, I think the glass is always full of water, and air. So if you want more water, you need a bigger glass. Right? Because as the Tao says, if you if you tell you a cup to the brim, it will overflow. So if you want more to share, which is what I'm looking for, with each other, we need bigger glass. So how do we make more clean water so that all children have it every day? So I guess it makes me an optimist. Super, super.

Tom Raftery:

We're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, Bill. Is there any question I haven't asked you that you wish I had, or any topic we've not discussed that you think it's important that people are aware of?

Bill McDonough:

I one of the great privileges of getting to work with companies and countries and people in this way, is the joy of seeing humans rise to this occasion. And so I think that one thing I'd recommend everybody do is just look, look at what people are doing. And let's understand our legacies, but not in terms of just how miserable we are. From whenever we did a stop and reflect like, let's not do that again. Right? So stop, say that's our legacy. But we did in the energy space, we did provide affordable energy to people we did provide health care of chi, we did help with poverty, we did help with child mortality centers. I mean, there's those things but it's not what we're looking for, as you call it, ecologically minded people. But it certainly is through your own personal ecology. Your life is you're still here. Right, medieval time, you wouldn't be here either. So whatever. But so I think we should celebrate our legacies and say we learn from them. And then, and then we look at our current situation and say, what are we doing today that we need to scale? What are we doing today that we need to scale? So solar, guess what we did it? I mean, yes. And so now we can be at one and a half cents a kilowatt hour in the deserts. My goodness, that means we make hydrogen. That means. That means we can do all kinds of things that we couldn't do before. So this idea of electrifying, the whole system is really great. And the great thing about renewables is they can make electricity, you know, affordably wind, solar, and so on. So yes, now we need to get into new kinds of wiring to be able to move large amounts around, we need to be able to export renewable power around the world to each other. If you haven't had before, we just saw for shipments, it's just a prototype of the shipment of hydrogen in from ammonia, from Saudi Arabia to Japan. Now that was blue hydrogen, so it was created from natural gas. And it's sequestered carbon. So it's just a harbinger of an ocean. But the idea that you could move hydrogen from the Red Sea to Japan, side of the world is a first large scale shipment of renewable power over huge distances, the other side of the planet. So all of a sudden, you know, if we're going to ship around volatile liquids, when we ship hydrogen, to, you know, people when I need it, because they don't have the space for an oval, so they don't have access to that. So I've suddenly start to see optimized systems for me, that's pretty great. So those are things that are going on now that we want to scale as long as you're careful. And we don't trash the join with solar collectors when we need biodiversity. And then the third would be what new ideas are coming and celebrate them and look for principled ideas. The ones that actually are based on principles. So that's the that's the real excitement to me. And the companies that are doing they take a look at young labor's I'm on their sustainable living Plan Board. Take a look at Unilever's new conference. It's so it's so amazing to see companies rise into this kitchen. And obviously, they're not alone. There's so many people now rising to the occasion. Right? celebrate them. Super celebrate yourself. Yeah.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, Billy, if people want to know more about yourself, or about the circular economy economy, our white carpet is not the enemy or any of the things we discussed in the broadcast today. Where would you have me direct them?

Bill McDonough:

It's just my website. Yes, all their mc DONOH.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, see wherever I put that link in the show notes. And if you've anything else you want me to link to in the show notes. Just send it through and I'll put them in the show notes and everyone will see them there. So that's been fantastic. Bill. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Bill McDonough:

My pleasure.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about climate 21 Feel free to drop me an email to Tom Raftery at SAP comm or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you'd like to show please don't forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.