Elizabeth Thompson
Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director, Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Elizabeth Thompson is the Executive Director of Buckminster Fuller Challenge program, which awards a $100,000 prize annually to a proposal for a likely solution to a major global issue. The program is unique in that it presents a large-scale award annually without specifically denoting a given issue that needs solving. Applicants for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge must demonstrate a compelling argument that the problem they are addressing is a major leverage point in our global systems. Issues span the gamut of social and environmental change, from restoring the world’s soils and investing in women’s income, to designing new urban transportation systems and more. “In other words,” Thompson explains, “if this particular problem is solved in a comprehensive way, it will have the effect of solving many other symptomatic issues at the same time. It’s a comprehensive approach — solving multiple problems simultaneously — that we’re really championing. We’re not interested in solving the symptoms, we’re interested in solving the root causes.”
George Black
George Black, Executive Editor, 'OnEarth'
George Black is the Executive Editor of the NRDC’s OnEarth magazine, a quarterly publication that examines critical environmental issues worldwide. Paramount in the magazine’s focus is climate change and its globe-spanning implications. Black claims that climate change perceptions are different throughout the world, with some countries — including the U.S. — still burdened with climate deniers, while other, advanced countries are far along in employing renewable technologies. “We’re at an interesting moment right now where we’ve done a great deal to convey the severity of the human drama of how people are impacted [by climate change],” Black says. “I think we’re now necessarily moving toward the [next] stage, which is to take the best initiatives that are underway, and say, ‘How can you bring them up to scale?’ In other words, how can you harvest the best ideas and bring them to a mass market?”

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