On September 19, Grist hosted an event celebrating the publication of the 2023 Grist 50 list, an annual list naming 50 climate leaders to watch from across the U.S. The event was presented in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative and was held at the New York Hilton Midtown as part of Climate Week NYC

The event featured personal stories of change, hope, and transformation from five of this year’s Grist 50 honorees, produced in partnership with Back Pocket Media. Comedian Esteban Gast shared a story about the twists and turns that his path to environmentalism took, beginning as a child playing in a river near his uncle’s home in Colombia and eventually becoming a “comedian in residence” with environmental non-profit Generation 180. Tanksi Clairmont shared her story of returning to the powwow where she first danced as a child as a representative for Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund of GRID Alternatives, and powering the powwow with solar energy from a mobile “solar roller.” 

“Over the years, I’ve approached my work and built relationships in a way that contributes and generates awareness of the unique ways tribes and tribal organizations are frontline climate actors and stewards, and how we are always looking seven generations ahead,” said Claremont.

Sustainable fashion content creator Jazmine Rogers recounted her journey from awkward teen and fast-fashion hyper-consumer to founder of Sustainable Baddie, an online publication that builds community and uplifts diverse voices in sustainable fashion. 

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Theater artist Caitlin Nasema Cassidy shared a story about catastrophic weather nearly ruining her wedding, and how she found grounding and guidance in the natural wonder of her family’s backyard. 

“When I think about fulfilling the promise of good stewardship that I made standing in my mother’s garden, I think about the humility that right relationship requires,” Cassidy said. 

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And Precious Rideout remembered how her first major career opportunity grew out of her faith community in Las Vegas, eventually leading her to spend her career putting community needs at the center of her decarbonization work in Washington, D.C.. 

The event concluded with a networking reception for climate leaders from current and past Grist 50 lists, Climate Week NYC attendees, and Clinton Global Initiative commitment makers. The event was supported by Patagonia, with travel sponsorship by Alaska Airlines and product sponsorship by Mill. This was part of the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2023 Meeting which convenes global leaders to address the planet’s biggest challenges. CGI’s 2023 Meeting included 50 commitments made by business, NGO, and governmental leaders in support of climate adaptation and mitigation, decarbonization, and just transitions. You can learn more about the commitments to action here.