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.

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. She authored Playing For the Planet: How Video Games Can Deliver for People and Planet, and leads R&D for the Alliance. The P4P Alliance was recently named People of the Year 2019 by GamesIndustry.

As a US Federal Economist (10+ yrs), she served as research lead for the Sustainable Operations Western Collective - 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 serves 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, supported UNEP in its first formal social media strategy. @TEEB4me is the largest network of its kind, has received extensive media coverage, and still supports UN’s Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Initiative, which launched TEEB for Citizens, and The Bank of Natural Capital

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 Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment Fellow, she founded the Digital Citizen Project.

Some of the most difficult issues in the field (poverty, equity,  development) are often inaccessible to the audiences needed to change them. Patterson's photography, experiments with social media, and dynamic presentations offer a fresh take on future-forward solutions. 


Patterson earned her PhD with the Institute for Ecological Economics (UMD 2005), has been named a Meadows Fellow at the Sustainability Institute, 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, the Santa Fe Institute for Complexity Studies, and the Sustainability Leaders Network- a project of the Buckminister Fuller Institute.


She was recently named one of 50 inspiring women trailblazers transforming tech by Inspiring Fifty Nordics. She is fluent in 6 languages and resides in Norway.  

© 2019 by Trista Patterson 

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