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We all experience more than a touch of both scorn and envy when it comes to fame. But travel with me to L.A for an evening that benefited one of the best and bravest organizations, a non-profit that’s figured out how to put all that celebrity status to good use.
CHEC, the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition, is a world leader in protecting children from environmental toxins. It was founded more than a decade ago by Jim and Nancy Chuda following the tragic loss of their daughter, Colette, to a rare form of non-hereditary cancer, CHEC’S mission is to educate parents and all those concerned with the welfare of children about preventable health and developmental problems caused by exposures to toxic substances in homes, schools and communities.
On Thursday night, CHEC pulled off a 450-person sit-down dinner at the palatial home of Jena & Michael King (think King Features) that was thick with stars and Hollywood celebs. Dining on fresh salmon flown in from Alaska (on a private hybrid jet to ensure that there were no CO2 emissions created by this extravagance), this was the next step in a relationship with CHEC that will soon be generating more buzz in Tinseltown than a gigantic swarm of wild African bees. (You can find some pictures from the event here and here and here.)
A few highlights… Yes, I now have Brooke Shield's home address but only for the purpose of sending her some diapers. I also have the addresses of countless other people that I am not at liberty to mention. I sat next to Anna Getty and Shiva Rose McDermott, Dylan McDermott wife. Quincy Jones was at the next table, Diane Keaton was nearby and more other stars than I can remember though I did try to keep track with notes on my napkin to tell my kids.
The high point of the evening for me was an award given to Dr. Phil Landrigan, Chair of Community and Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Phil Landrigan is a pioneer in the very best sense of the word. The world is a better and safer place as a result of his amazing efforts. He is an expert on environmental health and pediatrics who has worked to translate science into public policy and to introduce children's environmental health into mainstream medical education. Landrigan chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children at the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. Their report provided the impetus for provisions in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 that require the EPA to consider the special vulnerabilities of children in setting standards for pesticide exposure.
Next year, Seventh Generation should be there in force because I am way to shy to do this alone.
By 11:55pm - (2:55 am according to my internal East Coast clock) I was headed home safe and sound and arrived back in Burlington in time for a walk in the woods as part of our biomimicry product innovation charrette.