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On the Spot: Gary Cohen

Co-founder and president of Health Care Without Harm, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and the subject of this issue’s In Conversation interview

Gary Cohen—co-founder and president of Health Care Without Harm, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and the subject of this issue’s In Conversation interview—talks India and the Dalai Lama, tells us what he’d pitch Obama if he had 30 seconds, and voices his passion for the undeniable importance of the intersection between health and sustainability.

THE PERFECT CITY WOULD HAVE
Lots of green spaces, bike trails, renewable energy grids, good schools, diversity, and strong community spirit and organization.

WAY TO MAKE THE ENVIRONMENT A NON-PARTISAN ISSUE
Make it about health.

ONE TECHNOLOGY ON THE HORIZON THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
Solar battery storage.

YOUR TOPIC IF YOU WERE ASKED TO GIVE A TED TALK
The role of health care in healing communities and the planet (I did do a TED talk).

MOST MEMORABLE MENTOR OR TEACHER  
The Dalai Lama.

A CENTURY FROM NOW HUMANITY WILL
Have a global consciousness and means to exercise it.

THE THOUGHT OR IDEA THAT CENTERS YOU
I am a vehicle for healing the world.

FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION  
Walking.

YOUR PERSONAL DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABILITY
Using the resources of the planet in ways that guarantee that future generations will be able to also utilize these resources.

WHAT YOU’D TELL THE GREEN MOVEMENT IF IT WAS YOUR CHILD
Stop being so arrogant.

WHAT YOU’D PITCH TO PRESIDENT OBAMA IF YOU HAD 30 SECONDS
To link his climate change agenda with his healthcare agenda to support healthy communities.

MOST IMPACTFUL EXPERIENCE IN NATURE
Hiking across the Himalayas.

THE BOLDEST IDEA IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
Regenerative design.

CURRENT PROJECT YOU’RE MOST EXCITED ABOUT
Creating healthcare as anchors for resilient communities.

FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE TRAVELED
India.

YOUR FIELD’S BIGGEST HURDLE TO IMPROVING ITS PRACTICES
Better storytelling.

PERSON WHO HAS MOST INFLUENCED YOUR PHILOSOPHY
Gandhi.

MOST USEFUL INDUSTRY EVENT
CleanMed.

MOST MEANINGFUL PROJECT YOU’VE COMPLETED
Winning a treaty to phase out all mercury measuring devices by 2020.

EXPLAIN “GREEN” TO A KINDERGARTNER
Stuff that is good for the earth and healthy for people.

MOST COMMON GREEN MYTH
It costs more than toxic stuff.

THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING A STEWARD OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Feel it.

CAUSE YOU’D SUPPORT IF YOU HAD A BILLION DOLLARS
Taking money out of politics.

ONE QUESTION INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS SHOULD ALWAYS BE ASKING THEMSELVES
How can I create health and justice along the entire supply chain?

THE NEXT BIG IDEA WILL COME FROM
People under 30.

MOST COMPELLING ARGUMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
Your children’s health.

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CONNECT WITH GARY COHEN: LinkedIn

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