Now it’s a new moment…
Nearly twenty years ago a work friend dropped two books on my desk: Cradle to Cradle and Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. I can still remember how my heart leapt out of my chest as I read both, deeply relieved and inspired that there was an elegant solution to balancing human and environmental needs: nature would show us the way.
I went on to become the executive director for both organizations, unquestionably two of the greatest honors of my life. C2C continues to be largely unmatched in terms of rigor of understanding what is in a product and the Biomimicry Institute is reaching a million people each year to share with them the “biological blueprints” all around and the many brilliant new companies that are following nature’s innovative lead. Our team has advanced AskNature, doing exactly what Buckminster Fuller instructed: “Give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
Together, we have transformed what good design means. As Janine says, “Life creates conditions conducive to life.”
Now it’s a new moment, and my heart is pulling me to act in a new capacity so I am stepping down as Executive Director and leaving this role in the capable hands of our staff and board. My future work, to be shared soon, will be focused on the immediacy of certain problems that require systemic solutions. In the interim, I am staying on to support a smooth transition for TBI as the organization embraces this opportunity to begin a new moment of its own. So let’s find a tremendous new ED!
After so many years of developing proof points for sustainability/circularity/regeneration what I can say is this: it is real. The large CPGs are being disrupted, “unintended consequences” are now both knowable and avoidable, and waste management professionals are about to be the heroes of our supply chain as we realize that decomposition—the biggest manufacturing force on the planet—has been totally missing from the planning process of industry.
The intersection of social and environmental justice, green chemistry, and bioinspired design is a busy one. This is what we gardeners call a sleep-creep-leap moment: it looks like nothing is happening for a loooooooong time and then overnight there is full, blossoming emergence. It’s not magic, it’s years of mycelium growth below the surface. It’s time to tend our roots, figurative and literal, and watch with joy at what rises up.
Learn more about the Executive Director position here.
Beth Rattner has been the Biomimicry Institute’s Executive Director since 2012, leading its strategic direction in being the bridge between biology and design as it manifests in education and innovation. In 2020 she co-launched the Design for Decomposition initiative for the Institute to demonstrate a biomimetic systems view of transforming used garments into new, biocompatible materials. Prior to her work with Biomimicry Institute she was the executive director and vice president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit she co-founded. Beth has been speaking and writing about nature-based paradigms for reconceiving industry since 2005.
Beth’s background, however, was not on the non-profit side, but rather working in the tech sector — AOL, a Kleiner Perkins start-up, and Hewlett Packard — then with Fortune 500 companies as a sustainability management consultant. At HP, Beth helped establish the Emerging Market Solutions group, providing technology-based microfinance opportunities for those who earn less than $2 a day, specifically women, in India and South Africa.
Beth is a California attorney, creative writer, student of permaculture and herbalism, and advocate for the rights of nature.