Dr. Trista Patterson repurposes, redesigns, and restructures economic systems to better align them with the natural systems of which they're a part. An economist and systems analyst, her research focuses on the value we assign to nature, and nature's services - from the pricetagged to the priceless. Her publications and initiatives often cover the counterintuitive (eco-freakonomic) relationships between consumption, cost, and quality of life.
"2020's Best Transformative Planetary Solutions"
- Fast Company 'World Changing Ideas' Recognition
"50 Inspiring Trailblazers Transforming Tech in the Nordics"
- Inspiring Fifty (2019)
At GRID-Arendal, a UN Environment Collaboration Centre, Patterson directs the NewMedia Lab in global scale experiments that utilize emerging technologies to raise action, funds, and capacity, with a special focus on improving life for the world's poorest.
Patterson is co-founder of the Playing For The Planet Alliance, a consortia of 20+ of the worlds largest video game companies in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, and environmental impact from the gaming industry. The P4P Alliance represents over 970 million videogamers, worldwide. She is author of Playing For the Planet: How Video Games Can Deliver for People and Planet, and leads R&D for the Alliance.
As a US Federal Economist (10+ yrs), she served as research lead for the US Government Sustainable Operations (USDA) - a program of Whitehouse acclaim for reducing cost, waste, and environmental-impact of federal agency operations. A frequent speaker in national and international forums, she has served as a lead author on the United Nations Global Environment Outlook, cited by the UN as the most authoritative assessment to date of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment.
Pushing frontiers of technological and economic governance for 20+ years, her startup Digital Epicure, led UN Environment Program in its first strategic effort to address a policy gap with a formal tiered communications strategy involving economic analysis, crowdsourcing of solutions, new and social media disseminations. @TEEB4me and (formerly, The Bank of Natural Capital) is the largest network of its kind, has received extensive media coverage for policy impact, and still supports UN’s Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Initiative.
As a US State Department Fulbright Scholar to Brazil, 2012, she explored emerging cell phone & satellite technologies to connect rural land owners & remote tribes with incentives for conservation. In 2013, as a University of Oxford Fellow at the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, she founded the Digital Citizen Project, which explored scenarios and strategic foresight approaches to envisioning the future of public engagement in governance initiatives.
Patterson earned her PhD with the Institute for Ecological Economics (UMD 2005), is a member of The Balaton Group, a Fellow with the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, and has served as scholar in residence at the University of Siena, Italy,and The Santa Fe Institute for Complexity Studies. She has completed two year executive leadership development programs with USDA and as a Donella Meadows Executive Leadership Development Program - a project of the Buckminister Fuller Institute and The Sustainability Institute.
She is fluent in 6 languages, enjoys photography, kayaking, and is most at home among the islands of Alaska and Norway.