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Goldman Environmental Prize: Change the World, Change Your Brain

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My wife and I just came back from an inspiring Goldman Prize Award ceremony, where seven grassroots environmental change-makers were recognized for their work and resiliency, and shared their passion and purpose with everyone attending the event. We did hear too from Al Gore, Tracy Chapman, Robert Redford, and the founder of the awards 20 years ago, Richard Goldman.

The BBC recently published an Op-Ed by Mr. Goldman on the story behind the Awards themselves: article Here. He explains how...

One morning in 1989, as I sat with my daily breakfast and newspaper, I read about the most recent Nobel laureates and wondered if there was a comparable award for environmental work.
We asked a staff member at our foundation to do some research and he found that nothing yet existed to recognise environmental work on an international stage, thus the Goldman Prize was born.
Our choice to focus specifically on grassroots environmental leaders was unique at the time.

Mr. Goldman, and the seven winners, are clearly helping improve the state of the world.

Now, the "state of the world" does include their very own brains - you may have seen this recent study on how Volunteer Program Provides Health Benefits To Older Women

She and her colleagues found that EC volunteers showed greater improvements in memory and executive function than those who did not participate in the program. In fact, the older adults with the lowest baseline performance in these areas - those most at risk for health disparities - demonstrated the most significant gains.
Both studies highlighted above show that everyday activity interventions (e.g., EC) can appeal to older adults' desires to remain socially engaged and productive in their post-retirement years. Simultaneously, these activities provide measurable physical and cognitive health benefits.

Of course, those benefits do not accrue only for older adults (or just for women), but may help all of us gradually build Cognitive Reserves through the added novelty, variety and challenge.

Talk about win/ win!

Related articles on social entrepreneurship:

"Everyone a Changemaker," Ashoka and Google

Richard Dawkins and Alfred Nobel: beyond nature and nurture

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