There’s no question we live in unsettling times. But for the past few months, we at Grist have been able to indulge in a very effective form of group therapy, and now at last we can share it with the world.
Since last fall (right around election time, in fact), we’ve been working on our latest edition of the Grist 50 — an annual list of 50 emerging leaders with fresh, forward-thinking solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
To assemble this all-star lineup of non-toxic avengers, we asked folks we admire and respect — including Grist members, key sources, important change makers, even our moms — to suggest up-and-comers who inspire them. We got big-time responses from former Vice President Al Gore, model and activist Cameron Russell (a Grist 50 alum), political commentator Van Jones, vegan race car driver Leilani Münter, and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
We’re calling this year’s group “The Fixers,” because even at a time when the world feels pretty broken, they haven’t given up on a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.
Our list includes people like Donnel Baird, a child of immigrants from Guyana who grew up in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, relying on a cooking stove for heat. Today Baird is the founder and CEO of BlocPower, a company that provides the engineering and financial know-how to retrofit old, unhealthy, energy-wasting buildings (like the one he grew up in), saving the owners money, fighting climate change, and improving public health all at the same time.