16th Special Focus on Global Change
For most of the program's history, we have honored five recipients, one each in fields of great importance to Senator John Heinz, including Arts and Humanities, Environment, Human Condition, Public Policy, Technology, the Economy and Employment. In 2009, we made an exception to this by honoring 10 individuals for their work on the environment, one of Senator Heinz's highest priorities. This year we took this focus even further.
The world is at a crucial moment, brought there by the scale of the human enterprise on Earth. Scientists refer to the cumulative effects of human activities and natural processes on the Earth as global change. The risks of failing to address these changes are too great to accept.
Therefore, this year we recognize individuals who are addressing global change caused by the impact of human activities and natural processes on the environment. Each of the awardees is distinguished not just by the impressive detail and scope of their work, but also by their courageous willingness to communicate the implications of their work, often in the face of determined opposition. This characteristic was highly prized by Senator John Heinz, and hence the award program has sought to identify and to honor it.