About the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
John and Alice Tyler decided in 1972 to create a new international award to recognize those individuals who have contributed in an outstanding manner to the scientific knowledge and public leadership to preserve and enhance the environment of the world.
The Tylers had become highly concerned about the effects of increasing pollution and ecological imbalance, and they decided to do something about it. Their foresight in the context of that time is hard to appreciate today because the environmental debate was still in its infancy and was contested by many. The nations of the world were only beginning to look for answers to the international environmental crisis by assembling at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden that same year.
Together, the Tylers researched and created the international Tyler Ecology Award as an inspiration to peoples of all nations to understand the importance of preserving the environment. They recruited university scientists and administrators from Auburn, Baylor, California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Southern California, and other universities to select the most deserving honorees. John Tyler died in 1973, and thereafter John’s widow, Alice, remained dedicated to the support of the Tyler Prize and made arrangements for its endowment and continuation after her own passing in 1993.
The name of the prize changed twice at the end of the first decade and the selection criteria expanded accordingly. Because of world concern for new and renewable sources of energy, and the knowledge that energy production had been in many cases a source of pollution, Mrs. Tyler renamed the award the Tyler Ecology – Energy Prize in 1981. By 1983, the name of the award was changed permanently to the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement to recognize the variety of disciplines contributing to the solution of critical environmental problems.
During its forty-one year history, the Prize has recognized outstanding, world-class environmental accomplishments and contributions of sixty-seven individuals and four organizations. Those recipients encompass the spectrum of environmental concerns, including environmental policy, environmental health, air and water pollution, ecosystem disruption, loss of biodiversity, population, energy and food resources. This distinguished group of people have been passionate about their work, and their feelings about the importance of their environmental contributions has been reinforced by being awarded this premier international prize.
Amber Brown, Administrator