Ted Halstead, 1968-2020

Ted Halstead died tragically in a hiking accident last week. His remarkable life of accomplishment was cut short just as it was reaching its prime. He was only 52 years old, having blazed a trail since college as a social entrepreneur of considerable talent, commitment, and idealism.

Ted was an alum of the first class of Green Corps, graduating in 1993. He immediately struck out on his own, founding the think tank, Redefining Progress, to question how we measure economic “success” -- to factor in the ecological impacts of progress, and to challenge policy-makers of all ideological stripes to reconsider what we value.

In 1997, he co-founded a new think tank to build on this “neither left nor right” pragmatism, the New America Foundation. New America strives to find transpartisan solutions to a range of 21st century challenges, including but not limited to preservation of our environment.

Most recently, Ted founded and led, as CEO, the Climate Leadership Council. There, he organized a prestigious group of business leaders and Republicans who acknowledge the reality of climate change, and put forward an ambitious “carbon tax with dividends” proposal to address it. The expressed goal was finding a policy that could pass the U.S. Congress with widespread business and Republican support.

America has too few leaders who dare to “think different" and fewer still who can turn their ideas into action. To lose one so young and promising is a terrible tragedy -- especially at a time of deepening division and mounting threats to the climate and planet.

Ted’s mission in life was to remind us that a better America and a better world are possible, to challenge us to find common ground, and, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, to “think anew and act anew” to make that better world a reality.

Doug Phelps
President & CEO, The Public Interest Network
Co-founder & Chair, Green Corps