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Published March 18, 2008 09:31 AM

Gretchen Daily Wins Sophie Prize for Inspiring "Conservational Conversation"

Gretchen Daily is not your typical biologist, nor does she subscribe to typical conservationist lines. Instead, her astounding work, which has earned her the honour of the 2008 Sophie Prize, focuses on the bottom line: where conservational efforts can be the most economically profitable choices available.

She's been compared to Rachel Carson, who had revolutionised the agricultural industry. Her scientific work not only presents the tremendous diversity and intrinsic value of ecosystems and species, but also monetises and quantifies such attributes for economic consideration.

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Beyond just the theory, Gretchen's work highlights examples of economical conservation in practice. In 1997, New York invested $2 billion in ‘natural capital’ to solve a looming water crisis. They money went to such activities as innovative tactics such as purchasing land around reservoirs to preserve forests and wetlands that buffer against pollution, paying landowners to restore forest along streams, and offering technical aid and infrastructure to farmers and foresters. Rather than spending up to $8 billlion on a new water filtration plant, the decision to conserve rather than build, saved the city more than $6 billion.

“Gretchen C. Daily’s radical and constructive involvement, her ability to communicate these issues to a wider public, her extensive knowledge and scientific merits make her an important and worthy recipient of the Sophie-prize,” says Gunhild Ørstavik, chair of the Sophie Foundation.

The Sophie Prize is an international award (US $ 100,000), for environment and sustainable development, awarded annually. The Sophie Prize is established to inspire people working towards a sustainable future. The Prize was established in 1997 by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and his wife Siri Dannevig.

For more information on the Sophie Foundation and the Sophie Prize, click here.

Read an example of Gretchen's Work (PDF 11kb).

Learn more about Prof. Gretchen Daily from CESP.

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