The Heinz Awards Review - Fall 2009

about the heinz awards
about john heinz

contact us

The Heinz Awards pay tribute to the memory of Senator H. John Heinz III by celebrating those who embrace, as he did, the joyous American belief that individuals have both the power and responsibility to change the world for the better.

As a reminder of the virtues of hard work, determination, excellence and a broad vision for the future, the Heinz Family Foundation annually recognizes a special group of individuals for their outstanding contributions.

the heinz
family foundation

teresa heinz

jeffrey r. lewis

kim o’dell
director, heinz awards

carole smith
heinz awards review

photographs by
james brantley
kelly campbell
vern evans
graham charles
jonathan greene
beverly hall
young lee
adam lewinter
liz mangelsdorf
l.g. patterson
marissa rauch
nick whitman


Teresa Heinz this week honored 10 Americans for their work in the field of global change in a moving ceremony at Washington’s historic Folger Shakespeare Library. Describing the innovators as “pioneers who have revealed essential truths about aspects of global change that are too crucial to ignore,” Mrs. Heinz awarded each an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000 and a silver Heinz Award medallion that bears the likeness of the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz, an early and ardent champion of the environment.

“Today’s national discourse about the environment seems to have forgotten what Jack knew and demonstrated so well – that the best governance occurs – when government harnesses the forces of society – innovation, creativity, risk taking, knowledge and drive,” she said. “Jack was not afraid to try to bridge the gap between competing interests and look for common ground. In fact, he saw that capacity as one of the most significant contributions he could provide his colleagues and to the Senate as an institution. Fortunately, that spirit of common sense progress lives on.”

Thomas Friedman, best-selling author of books on the environment and economy, and a New York Times columnist, served as host for the evening. He said he was honored to serve at such an important event and was inspired by the good works of the recipients. He congratulated Mrs. Heinz for her pivotal work in bringing attention to the environment and for years of shining a spotlight on innovators who are “working in the trenches,” finding solutions. He said the timing could not be more crucial.

“'Later' was a luxury for previous generations … In the carbon-constrained and environmentally challenged world we live in right now, later is too late,” Mr. Friedman said.

For the 16th Annual Heinz Awards, Mrs. Heinz and the Board of Directors focused on the topic of global change caused by the impact of human activities and natural processes on the environment. Nearly 300 guests attended the awards presentation, which featured a video highlighting the works of each recipient and detailing ways they are each dedicated to reversing the effects of global change.

Joining Mrs. Heinz at the event were her son, André Heinz, and her husband, U.S. Sen. John Kerry. Several past recipients attended the presentation and reception, including Dean Kamen, Robert Berkebile, Lois Gibbs, Dr. John Holdren, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Thomas Smith, and Dr. Jack Spengler. There were also several members from the congressional and diplomatic communities in attendance, along with founders and officials from several national environmental organizations.

Meet our newest recipients:

James Balog

Nature photographer James Balog started the Extreme Ice Survey after observing melting glaciers on a magazine shoot. Using materials from his local hardware store, he adapted 39 Nikon cameras to take photos of glaciers around the world each hour of daylight. More than 500,000 photographs from his Extreme Ice Survey illustrate the evidence of global warming over time, providing scientists with vital insight on glacial retreat. He is honored for his dramatic use of photography to document the devastation of global warming.

Terrence Collins

As a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Green Science, Terrence Collins, Ph.D., has led his research group on finding safe, sustainable ways to mitigate toxic waste and biological agents. Throughout his scientific career, Dr. Collins has demonstrated an informed willingness to challenge entrenched ideas and misguided conventional wisdom, guided by a rigorous focus on moving chemistry toward a truly sustainable path. The Heinz Awards also acknowledges him for training the next generation of scientists to combine the tools of chemistry with the knowledge of environmental health science.

Gretchen Daily

Gretchen Daily, Ph.D., has worked to protect and place a value on the services provided by natural ecosystems, which include climate stability, flood control, water purification, pollination and food production. As a professor at Stanford University, and a founder and director of the Natural Capital Project, Dr. Daily has created new tools and approaches for estimating the economic value of conservation, and for implementing these in key demonstrations around the world.

Richard Feely

Logging over 1,000 days at sea in over 50 scientific expeditions, Richard Feely, Ph.D., revealed extensive acidification in the world’s oceans. As a scientist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Dr. Feely identified that acidity levels, caused by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, are rising fast and represent a major challenge to the health of the ocean’s food web. He is also honored for promoting improvements in public policy to protect oceans and marine ecosystems.

Cary Fowler

Cary Fowler, Ph.D., established the Global Seed Vault to conserve genetic diversity of the world’s food plants. Dr. Fowler’s love for agriculture informed his acute awareness of the importance of crop diversity. He was concerned that a lack in plant population diversity weakens global food security. His efforts to conserve crop diversity are critical to preserving crop diversity as factors such as climate change and natural disasters threaten agriculture and its ability to feed humanity in the future.

Lynn Goldman

As a pediatrician and epidemiologist, Lynn Goldman, M.D., a dean at George Washington University, treated children with preventable infectious diseases and lead poisoning. That experience inspired her to research and develop programs to stop negative health effects caused by chemical contaminants. During her appointment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she strengthened regulations on pesticides and toxic substances and expanded citizens’ right-to-know about pollution in their communities. Now in academia, she has carried out groundbreaking research on how chemicals affect newborn children.

Elizabeth Kolbert

As a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, Elizabeth Kolbert writes about important environmental issues that are central to global change. Whether it is in magazine pieces or books that she has authored, Ms. Kolbert’s investigations go beyond traditional reporting – even raising a hive of bees in her backyard to better understand their habits for a story about their mysterious disappearance. Her skill for providing readers with intriguing narrative generates intense interest, grabs national attention and has inspired a movie.

Michael Oppenheimer

Michael Oppenheimer, Ph.D., has been a leader in assessing the impacts of climate change and air pollution long before global warming reached global prominence. As director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University, Dr. Oppenheimer helped organize workshops that helped precipitate the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Moreover, he demonstrates a commitment to helping policymakers and the public understand climate science and its implications.

Daniel Sperling

Daniel Sperling, Ph.D., has made significant contributions to revolutionize transportation and energy research through a unique academic approach that merges research, policy studies and entrepreneurship in pursuit of clean, equitable transportation options. A professor and founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Sperling was instrumental in the passage of California’s groundbreaking Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the first major regulation built on the concept of measuring greenhouse gases over a product or fuel’s lifecycle.

Frederick vom Saal

Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., uncovered unexpected health problems linked to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a widely-used ingredient in consumer products. From his lab at the University of Missouri in Columbia, he built on an already distinguished career in basic reproductive biology by questioning the safety of many chemicals in everyday use. While Dr. vom Saal’s findings have led some regulatory agencies to take action, the market has moved quickly due to consumers demanding alternatives to materials that science reveals may be harmful.


To easily follow Heinz Awards news, events, images and other content, just fan our Facebook public page ...

... or for more immediate updates simply follow us on Twitter.