Tag Archives: bill mcdonough

Look to Nature to Solve our Design Challenges

Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart

Janine Benyus

How does a river filter fresh water? How does a spider manufacture resilient fiber? These are the questions that biologist Janine Benyus are asking, along with architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, to make products safer and more environmentally friendly. The fact is that nature has already given them a head start.

Viewing nature as a source of ideas, rather than merely a source of goods, goes way back in history among indigenous people; however, Western industrial culture has mostly dismissed the idea to academic research.  Thanks to work of Benyus, Braungart, and McDonough, such ideas are starting to become a reality. From oil-repellent coating inspired by water bugs, to using prairies as
 a model to grow food sustainably,
 to observing how chimps cope with illness, the possibilities of learning from our planet’s unexplored sources of intelligence are endless.

Read more about the work of McDonough, Braungart and Benyus in making the world a more sustainable place in this article in Christian Science Monitor.

Images: CNN, GreenatWork

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Meryl Streep and Her Cradle to Cradle Inspiration

British Prime Minister, iconic chef, nun, magazine editor, therapist. Meryl Streep has played many roles in her acting career, but in her spare time, she is adding environmental activist to her list. As the special guest at the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute Gala during Greenbuild earlier this month, she shared how friend and Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute founder Bill McDonough inspires her to be more environmentally conscience. She talked with Fresh Dialogues about how she stays ‘green’:

The 2012 Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute Gala with Bill McDonough, Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep

Why should we care for the environment?
“We’re all part of the ecosystem. We’re all connected. You can’t go around in a bubble…”

On why Bill McDonough inspires her:
“Unlike so many environmental messages which are negative: “don’t this…don’t that!” Bill approaches things in a positive, restorative, beneficial way…with a focus on abundance. His mantra is a beautiful thing: “Designing a safe, healthy and delightful world for the love of all children, for all species, for all time. He’s a fervent optimist. His cup is never half empty or even half full. It’s always full of water and air. We were both profoundly affected by similar things: Silent Spring (the book by Rachel Carson) and concern for the impact of toxins on children. He’s the consummate multi-tasker. He leaves me breathless.”

On the roots of her environmental consciousness:
“It all goes back to being a mother. That’s the most invested relationship. You pay attention, perhaps for the first time. What is going in your child’s mouth? What’s her environment like? What will the future be?”

On how playing acclaimed chef, Julia Child influenced her green journey:
“We need to think about the provenance of our food. Where does it come from? Is it produced locally and with concern for the environment?”

Yves Behar of Fuseproject, Meryl Streep and Paul Murray, vice president of sustainability at Shaw Industries. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography, Claudine Gossett For Drew Altize / SF

During her Gala speech, Streep also praised the work being done by Brad Pitt, William McDonough and Tom Darden through the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans (an organization of which Shaw is a strong supporter of).

Streep also shows her support to the environment by helping raise awareness of toxins in food and the environment in her work with the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition.

Image: Susan Sarandon Twitter

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