The stars were emanating a green glow at the Bently Reserve, as Susan Sarandon and Meryl Streep shared the stage to honor eco-warrior architect Bill McDonough. The occasion was the Cradle to Cradle Design Innovation award. McDonough’s big idea is that products should be designed with their purpose as well as their life cycle in mind; is that computer going into landfill, or manufactured to easily break apart and have its components reused, recycled, or refilled? McDonough pioneered this thinking in his 2008 book, “Cradle to Cradle,” coauthored with Michael Braungart, and cofounded the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Products Innovation Institute, a nonprofit for large scale transformation in the way things are made. This evening was a lovefest celebrating McDonough’s contributions to sustainability through design.  The sultry Sarandon (how CAN this woman be 66?) served as emcee of the evening, keeping the tributes moving even as the luminaries lit their soy candles of praise for McDonough. On video, artist offered up his enthusiastic affirmation along with a number of less famous but no less significant figures in their respective fields; McDonough was gently teased for his persistence and insistence, but clearly appreciated for the greater good he champions. Lifelong friend Meryl Streep was able to provide the most extensive explication of McDonough’s inspirations; the two were classmates as undergraduates at Dartmouth and then close friends as graduate students at Yale, where, she joked, “he shagged my roommate, but don’t worry, Bill, she told me everything.” On anyone else’s lips, Streep’s lengthy description of the triumphs of McDonough’s career would have dragged; her delivery, and clear affection for her fierce and effective subject made the script sound like Shakespeare. She laughed, she teased, she charmed, she explained the vicissitudes of life as an impassioned visionary with affection and intelligence. By the time McDonough appeared to accept his award, he was his own hardest act to follow. Meryl Streep had made everything, including his life’s work, sound more interesting than it could possibly be while actually living it. Fortunately for the planet, and for McDonough, Streep rocked his cradle gently and graciously, using her natural ability to convey her dear friend’s commitment to making things green and good.

 Appearing with no Reserve: Mayor Ed Lee, Christopher Bently, Gorgeous and Green’s Nadine Weil and Zem Joaquin with James Joaquin, Chris Boskin, Yves Behar, Wendy Schmidt, Liz Ogbu, Monica and Rick Rommell, Rachel, Judy and Jan Berman, just-in-from-LA Bryn Mooser and Dawn Olivieri, Dan Probst, Julian Jaeger, Fred Poust, Carolyn and Board Chair Warner Phillips, Frans Otten, Linda and Michae Fawkes, Betty Kay Kendrick, Jessica Wolfrom, Trevor Thompson, Jillian Manus, Bianca Mead, Carl Spadaro, chanteuse Mia Maestro, who entertained during dinner, Morgan and Bill Tarr, Tina Frank, Board President Bridgett Luther, Tom Darden II,  Sonja and Bill Davidow, Rui Feng, Michael Lu, Erin Schroede, Lewis Perkins, and many more who understand that being green begins in the cradle.

Too see additional images or to purchase prints: Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Gala

Jennifer Raiser
Author: Jennifer Raiser

Jennifer is the editor and co-founder of

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