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About Trista Patterson
Trista Patterson
Senior Economist, Senior Advisor to the Managing Director

I’m an economist (PhD 2005) specializing in non-market and non-traditional valuation metrics for environment and development challenges around the world. If that doesn’t mean much to you, let's just say I help create a place at the environmental problem-solving table for things that don’t have a price-tag until they’re gone or are at risk of becoming expensive/impossible to replace. Things like air to breathe, water to drink, habitat for fish, etc.


As a former US Federal Economist (USDA, 10 years), penguin biologist (Bachelor of Science 1995), and white-water rafting guide, I draw on project experience from North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, recently Africa (authoring the UNEP Green Economy Summary for Africa) and the Himalayas (authoring a handbook on Ecosystem Services for Himalayan Communities).


I serve as Senior Advisor to GRID-Arendal’s managing director on economy and innovation. If economics is often called ‘the dismal science’, our best weapon against social demise will be the fun and creativity we bring to bear on problem solving! To that end, I periodically run innovation labs that experiment with new and emerging media. Outcomes are as unique as the brilliant participants we bring together, whether it be producing an online game for learning about UN Environment’s latest economic toolkit, a systems model to test an explosive social media strategy, or installing a series of large scale murals in six countries and four continents to stimulate discussion on indigenous issues.


Diversity of voices is a passion. In my valuation work I'm particularly concerned about the world's disappearing species, cultures, and languages. For fun, I speak Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and am working on Norwegian (to mixed reviews). Currently, I’m on maternity leave until September 2017.

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