The New York Times Sunday Special Section: Visionaries With the Courage to Change the World

On May 27th, The New York Times identified visionaries, those who “disrupt, take risks, push boundaries to change the way we see the world or live in it, and even create new enterprises.” They chose individuals in the fields of climate, arts, business, medicine, social justice, and technology who are “forward-looking, working on exciting projects, helping others, or taking a new direction.”

Visionaries in the climate field include:

* Nathaniel Stinnett, Founder and Executive Director of the Environmental Voter Project – The point of this project is to get people who consider themselves environmentalists to vote, so their priorities would show up in polls of likely voters and politicians would have to pay attention to them to get elected, bringing environmental issues into the national conversation.

* Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of Uprose – As leader of a Latino community-based organization in Brooklyn, which is one of the United States’ most successful community-based climate and environmental justice groups, she has advocated for lead-paint-removal legislation and helping to pass brownfields legislation, and has spoken at a climate-change rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

* Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Cleanup – When he was 16, he went scuba diving in Greece and saw more plastic than fish. Within two years, he had started The Ocean Cleanup foundation and invented a device to remove plastic from the ocean. He is now preparing to utilize his invention on the North Pacific Garbage Patch, gathering plastic to be taken by barge to land and recycled.

* Kendra Kuhl, Co-founder of Opus 12 – This clean-energy start-up has a goal of turning carbon dioxide emissions into new fuels and materials similar to plastic. They are designing a device that combines carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes with water and a catalyst in a reactor. When electricity is applied to the reactor, it produces fuel or plastics. Opus 12 founders want to be able to recycle tons of carbon dioxide emissions daily, preventing additional planet warming.

* Kim Cobb, Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Science at Georgia Institute of Technology – She has been researching on Christmas Island in the Central Pacific for more than 20 years and has reconstructed the way El Niño has behaved over the past 7,000 years. Her work demonstrates that El Niño has become more intense as a result of human activity. Cobb has become a public defender of climate scientists, their work, and the planet, challenging scientists to focus on solutions and her students to reduce their carbon footprints.

For additional information on visionaries in other fields, visit The New York Times Web site.

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