Joel Makower has put out another excellent blog, this time titled "The Renaissance of Lifecycle Thinking" in which he summarizes the current flurry of action around Life Cycle Analysis.   My response:

LCA still has a long way to go, especially as an external communication tool - what metrics you look at, the assumptions you make, the value judgments built into decisions, the temptation to generate a single number - will be fodder for lots of debates and accusations.  But dialog is good.

I was hoping Makower was going to address life cycle thinking more.  That I think anyone could and should do.  LC thinking is to step back and look at the consequences - intended and unintended - upstream and downstream and sideways from you before you act.  It's looking at more than one attribute (like carbon footprint) but at broader consequences to people and the planet now and into the future.  Sustainability thinking, if you will.  Environment, health, emotional well-being.  You may not know all the questions to ask or all the answers, but you will make better decisions and you will maintain a lookout for new information and adjust your actions.  Repeat: lc thinking has to be continuous and always aware of changes in the world and your assumptions and knowledge about how to do things differently.  An lc thinker has to be willing and able to adapt.  (LCA's tend to be too static - out of date the day they are published.)

LCA tools can be useful and should continue to be developed, but they should be a supplement to life cycle thinking.
See my other blogs under Sustainability and product stewardship!

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