Media and Technology Pioneers Arianna Huffington and Wendy & Eric Schmidt Honored for Environmental Leadership

NRDC Holds 13th Annual "Forces for Nature" Benefit

NEW YORK (November 14, 2011) – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today will honor Wendy and Eric Schmidt, of the 11th Hour Project and Google, Inc., respectively, and Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post Media Group President and Editor-in-Chief, for their trailblazing environmental efforts in media and technology at the 13th Annual “Forces for Nature” benefit. Their work will be celebrated this evening at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

“Wendy, Eric and Arianna are pioneers in using technology and media to spotlight important issues and facilitate the sharing of knowledge. In doing so, they have also given us something even more powerful: the ability to connect with each other and the world around us,” said NRDC President Frances Beinecke. “Today, no matter where we live, we can feel part of the larger fabric that ties us all together. And we can also more easily draw the links between the natural world’s health and our own.”

Wendy and Eric have each worked to transform global environmental and energy practices. Wendy, an NRDC trustee since 2005, founded The 11th Hour Project and Climate Central, to break new ground in communications about our climate and the interconnectedness of living systems. She recently awarded a $1.4M X Prize Challenge to the winners of a year long, worldwide competition to significantly improve the industry response to cleaning up oil spills from the waters where they occur. Together, Wendy and Eric have launched The Schmidt Ocean Institute, to provide state of the art ocean-going vessels for vital research in marine environments and to map the ocean floor. As Executive Chairman of Google, Eric has spearheaded the company’s bold efforts to improve energy efficiency and expand the deployment of renewable energy technology.

“In today’s vastly interconnected world of communications technology and media, we experience what it is to be part of a vital network,” said Wendy Schmidt. “We can also see, as never before, our dependence on the living systems that sustain us, and begin to use our ability to gather all the world’s information to make wiser choices for our future use of energy and natural resources.”

Hailed as one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine in 2006 and 2011, Arianna Huffington is the President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Arianna has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to spotlighting environmental news and green solutions, including the launch of a dedicated section, HuffPost Green, which has become one of the most visited web destinations covering these topics. Arianna also co-founded the Detroit Project, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at connecting the dots between our destructive and shortsighted dependence on oil and its effects on our national security, as well as our environment.

“The NRDC’s vital work has now a new urgency,” said Arianna Huffington. “So I’m very grateful for this honor -- both because I share a long history with NRDC and because this is really a recognition of the priority The Huffington Post has placed on covering both environmental crises and innovative solutions around the world, as well as igniting citizen engagement around an issue that unites us all.”

The gala event celebrates those who have made significant strides for environmental issues in their respective industries. In years past, NRDC has honored such notables as Fashion Designer Stella McCartney, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Robert Redford, Chef Alice Waters, producer Laurie David and former NRDC President John Adams.

Each year, the NRDC strives to make the event as green as possible. In keeping with that tradition, the NRDC has taken the following steps:

  • The menu features seasonal, organically-grown and sustainably harvested ingredients and following the “100-mile diet” philosophy.
  • Dry erase boards, bell jars and magnifying glasses used in this evening’s décor will be listed on, an organization that facilitates donations of gently used items to New York City Public Schools.
  • Centerpiece cacti have been locally sourced and will be replanted following the event, centerpiece feathers are cruelty-free, centerpiece paper butterflies have been printed on 100% recycled paper and centerpiece keyboard keys and cooper wire will be returned to WeRecvcle post event for recycling.
  • The stage backdrop and step and repeat have been printed without the use of solvent inks and are made from fabric containing 60% recycled fibers.
  • Dining table overlays have been printed on recyclable fabric.
  • The stage backdrop, step and repeat and dining table overlays will be repurposed into tote bags, made by a local vendor in New York City, post event.
  • Paint used in this evening’s décor does not contain volatile organic compounds.
  • Invitations and programs for the evening are all produced with 100% Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled paper, processed chlorine-free using 100% wind power and vegetable-based inks.
  • No disposable utensils, plates, or cups have been used.
  • No plastic bottled water will be served.