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The main problem in the way we treat our resources is a paradigm called Cradle-to-grave, which goes like this: we get some raw materials (metals, petroleum, wood, water, whatever); we use them to produce things we need; we use the things, whose lifetimes are typically a day to a few years; and we throw them "away".

There are two predictable results:

  1. we're running out of resources (raw materials);
  2. we're running out of places where we can throw them.

The clear solution is a paradigm shift: we must close all the loops that were open before. The commercial part of this paradigm, called Cradle-to-cradle manufacturing, will eventually be the obvious best choice. In fact, some of its better-known adjuncts have been in place for years:

The remaining piece is more controversial in the Western world, though not in the third world, where it has been sustainably practiced for millenia:

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