Grist List of 50 Environmental ‘Fixers’ Features Three Alums from Yale F&ES

The new Grist list of 50 young leaders who are doing potentially “game-changing” sustainability work includes three graduates of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
A new list of 50 young leaders who are doing potentially “game-changing” sustainability work in the U.S. features three graduates of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).

Dawn Lippert ’06 B.A., ’07 M.E.M., the CEO of Elemental Excelerator, a Hawaii-based organization that helps sustainable startups grow; Shyla Raghav ’09 M.E.M., climate change lead for Conservation International, a Virginia-based environmental nonprofit; and Adrien Salazar ’17 M.E.M., a campaign strategist for climate equity for Demos, a public policy organization in New York City, were honored by the online publication Grist for their innovative leadership in addressing global challenges.

The 2019 Grist 50 highlights individuals  — including urban planners and policymakers, scientists and podcasters — who “are cooking up the boldest, most innovative solutions you haven’t yet heard of to fix the biggest challenges that face our globe.”

“These people may look different, come from different places, and take varying approaches to their work, but they have one thing in common: They know that a better future is possible — and they’re making it happen,” Grist writes.

Here’s a look at the F&ES alums:
lippert dawn
Dawn Lippert is CEO of Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit organization that provides funding annually to 15 to 20 startups that are accelerating the transition toward cleaner energy, water, agriculture, and transportation systems. Since 2013 the company has supported 56 projects — providing up to $1 million for each.

According to Grist, each startup must work closely with partners like grassroots leaders, students, and city staffers, who become co-designers of the project. “The more trust and interwoven relationships you have, the faster you can implement change,” Lippert told the publication. She also founded a group that links female clean energy leaders in Hawaii, and she started a “CEO support group” for heads of sustainable businesses.
As the climate change lead for Conservation International (CI), Shyla Raghav has represented the organization at major conference, including the historic 2016 talks that produced the Paris Climate Accord. At CI, she advocates for policies to support nature-based climate solutions, from a 27,000-acre, carbon-rich mangrove forest in Colombia to the largest tropical restoration in the Amazon.

While her roots are in India, she told Grist that her experiences living all over the world — and working with island nations in the Caribbean and elsewhere — “really brought the immediacy and the urgency of climate change to the forefront for me.”
grist salazar
As a campaign strategist and organizer at Demos, Adrien Salazar is working to pass legislation that has been called “the most progressive climate-equity policy in the country,” Grist writes. If approved, it would transition the state’s economy to 100 percent renewables by 2050 and direct energy investments to the communities that are most affected by climate change.

He is also working on behalf of communities globally that are facing the impacts of climate change. For Salazar, these threats became personal when Typhoon Fengshen devastated his home province of Aklan, in the Philippines, in 2008, he told Grist. “Climate change actually poses an opportunity for us to begin radically reimagining what we want society to look like.”

The 2019 Grist list also features Molly Burhans, founder and executive director of Goodlands, a New Haven-based organization that is helping the Catholic Church, one of the world’s largest property owners, manage these vast assets in a more sustainable way. The nonprofit has incorporated the work of F&ES students.
PUBLISHED: March 13, 2019
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.