UCLA Extension: Cradle to Cradle


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This is one in a series of documents that follow my UCLA winter 2010 course titled Cradle to Cradle: Closed Loop Systems. This interdisciplinary course contributes to the school's Certificate of Global Sustainability.

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UCLA Extension: Cradle to Cradle

  1. 1. UCLA Extension - C2C 1 UCLA Extension: Cradle to Cradle Schools and institutions around the country are beginning to develop sustainability programs in response to rapidly increasing interest in how environmental issues will effect various industries. Generally speaking, most programs are partial programs meant to either supplement other majors or stand alone as additional credentials, professional development, or continuing education credits for those already out of school. The movement hasn’t reached any kind of critical mass as yet, and it’s still just a sprinkling of colleges, but some big names are starting to initiate significant programs. University of California Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, is one of those schools. They offer a Certificate in Global Sustainability through their Extension program. To receive the certificate, students must take three core courses - Principles of Sustainability I, II, and III. These classes cover the basics and count for twelve of a total thirty-six learning units required. Another twenty-four learning units of elective courses in five areas of concentration - Design, Energy and Technology, Business Strategy, Environmental Law and Policy, and General Studies - are also necessary. This coming winter quarter I’ll be teaching a class entitled Cradle to Cradle: Closed Loop Systems within the design concentration as part of that certificate program. I’ve been developing the course over the summer. Others that seem interesting are Organizational Change for Sustainability, Global Business Practices in Sustainability, Integrating a Green Business Strategy, Renewable Energy Technologies, Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure, and Sustainable Social Media. I would love to enroll in this last one. The seminar I’m creating will focus on developing closed loop systems thinking and challenge students to view everything before them - processes, organizations, materials, buildings, transportation vehicles, and more - from a cradle to cradle perspective. Nature needs no landfills because everything it creates has a continuous purpose, living, dying, and becoming nutrients for something else. Most of us have little knowledge of all the materials, part, components, and processes required to make everything in our lives. The physical environments and objects we design must perform in the same way if we’re to move away from destructive processes of industrial age systems. Students will perform four projects during the quarter - a product disassembly and three research profiles about people & companies, materials & products, and certifications & labels. To get a better understanding of how complex the average household product is, www.threadcollaborative.com ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  2. 2. UCLA Extension - C2C 2 students will select one, disassemble it, trace each part back to it’s material extraction origin, and imagine a second or future life for every component. Representatives with industry giants such as InterfaceFLOR, Steelcase, and several others still to be confirmed will showcase their sustainability initiatives and give students insight into their design processes. It's one thing to write blogs or magazine articles, or deliver lectures at conferences about sustainable issues, but another thing entirely to offer your thoughts and ideas to students for their consumption on a weekly basis. I've taught short seminars and design studios at architecture schools, but this will be my first classroom experience. I'm interested to see how students react to my material. It'll be a real test of whether my sustainable strategies will resonate with people looking for ways to connect sustainability directly to what they do everyday. In the next two weeks we’ll be launching a separate page on this site to track the class and student work. Please return to see where it leads. www.threadcollaborative.com ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601