Skip to Content

About TEDX

Theo Colborn, 1927–2014


For nearly 30 years TEDX's founder Dr. Theo Colborn dedicated herself to revealing the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals to wildlife, humans and the environment. More recently she alerted us to the threats posed by chemicals associated with oil and gas development.

Theo’s visionary leadership and passion shone most brilliantly when she made direct connections between new ideas, scientists whose work confirmed them, impacted individuals, and people in positions to change what needed changing. She will be remembered for many generations to come, generations that she worked tirelessly to protect.

More information on Dr. Theo Colborn

Announcement in the March issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, co-authored by NIEHS Director Dr. Linda Birnbaum

A biography by Elisabeth Grossman

Theo Colborn - Obituary

Theo's favorite quote

We have created a memorial of stories that people submitted to TEDX after her death on December 14, 2014.  If you have a story you would like to share, please submit it at the bottom of this page.

Comments (86)

  1. Glenn Suter:
    Sep 01, 2016 at 03:10 PM

    Theo's favorite quote is not from Goethe, except for the last two lines. The unmodified quote and source are:
    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
    Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

    ― William Hutchison Murray

  2. Diane Drayton Buckland:
    Apr 07, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Many in the the world are very sad to lose Theo Colborn - passionate in caring for health and environment and real truth seeker and teller. Her work has been and will remain of utmost importance. I for one of many thank her for devoting much of her life to protect us all and our environment.
    With deepest thanks and admiration,
    Diane Drayton Buckland
    Fluoride Information Australia

  3. Cynthia Palmer:
    Mar 28, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Happy Birthday, Theo. I miss your caring friendship, your uncanny insight, your deep commitment, your unorthodox sense of humor. I know you are still with us in the shining stars, the howling winds, the singing birds, the blossoming trees of Spring. With love, always.
    Cynthia Palmer
    Director, Pesticides Science and Regulation
    American Bird Conservancy

  4. Thea Edwards:
    Feb 21, 2015 at 12:58 AM

    I first met Theo when I was a graduate student and several times since. It was a great honor then and remains so now. I am carrying her work forward and will remember with gratitude the time I spent with her.

  5. Dr. Joseph Olejak:
    Feb 15, 2015 at 09:36 AM

    Dear TEDx,

    I was very sad to learn of the passing of Theo Colburn. I often used the TEDx site when teaching classes to my students. Her passing is a great loss to the human community.

    As I write a new book, low dose endocrine disruption will feature prominently. I will carry this torch and I hope others will take up this task as well.

    Let us honor Theo by continuing the important work she started.


  6. Joan Baur, for the French citizens' collectives against Gas Fracking:
    Jan 22, 2015 at 09:31 AM

    Hello TEDX,

    I am an American living in France for 39 years and I'm writing you on behalf of the large network in France of citizen collectives against gas fracking to express our deepest condolences on the death of Theo Colborn. We first saw her in the movie Gasland by Josh Fox. That film was the essential thing that triggered the resistance in France against fracking. Dr Colborn is highly appreciated here for her work revealing the danger to public health of the chemicals used in fracking.

    In the autumn of 2010 a French environmental journalist named Fabrice Nicolino sounded the first alert to the public about gas fracking. Permits had been granted by the French government to energy companies to explore for shale gas without notifying and consulting the population. Popular resistance grew fast.

    Fabrice Nicolino has a blog on internet called "Planète Sans Visa" (" Planet Without a Visa"). On December 15, 2014 he wrote this in his blog about Theo Colborn :

    I'm trying to send you here a file of a tranlation into English of Nicolino's Blog about Dr. Colborn. For information, Nicolino happened to be in the Charlie Hebdo meeting when the assassins arrived on 7 January. He was one of the 4 survivors and was critically wounded in both legs, thigh, shoulder..., but his life was not in danger and he is now writing again in his blog

    /Users/joanbaur/Desktop/Nicolino on Theo Colborn.pdf

    I don't know if this form of the pdf file of the English translation is going to work here in this comment space, so I will also send it in an email to Carol Kwiatkowski.

    Please excuse my delay in communicating.

    With sympathies from all of us in France against gas fracking and best wishes for your continuation.

    Joan Baur
    34150 Montpeyroux, France

  7. Terry Collins:
    Jan 07, 2015 at 06:40 PM

    First sent Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Dear Carol and friends at TEDX,

    The world will be so much poorer in spirit for the loss of one of the great human spirits of our time.

    What an amazing wonder she was!—in every way! And what a privilege we have all had to have been able to know Theo and to experience her passion—passion for life, passion for love and passion for the love of life itself.

    I will miss her terribly!

    In heartfelt sympathy to Theo’s family and friends, to the TEDX family in Paonia, and to us all who knew and loved her,

    Terrence J. Collins, Ph.D., Hon FRSNZ
    Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry
    and Director, Institute for Green Science
    Department of Chemistry
    Carnegie Mellon University
    4400 Fifth Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    United States

    Phone: (412) 268-6335. FAX: (412) 268-1061

  8. Ann Miller:
    Jan 07, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    I am a South African, but nobody special.... I first read Our Stolen Future about 15 or 20 years ago, and since then have considered Theo Colborn my hero. She has inspired me to change my life and those of my 4 now 30 something children and their children. I have spoken, and continue to speak on endocrine disruption to anyone who gives me a minute to bend their ear. I hope I have managed to change some other lives.
    If you can change one person's life, it makes life worthwhile..... so that is how worthwhile Theo's life was and even now her amazing legacy lives on.....

  9. Garet Lahvis:
    Jan 06, 2015 at 07:14 PM

    The second time I met Theo, we watched a building burn on Capitol Hill. That afternoon was the only time I witnessed Theo a spectator. A lifelong role model (along with a few here paying tribute to her), Theo defines for me what it means to participate in a meaningful life. Daunted as I've been by our relentless consumption and the pollution that comes with it, Theo has always burned a light of hope and change, illuminating threats to our society, showing us all, at different times, a direction forward. Thank you Theo. I hope, in my own way, I'll carry your torch.

  10. Connie Schultz:
    Jan 05, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Although I didn't know Dr. Colborn, I didn't want to miss this opportunity to say how much I will miss her. In 2010, upon reading Dr. Colborn's book, Our Stolen Future, I was convinced of her assessment of our perilous situation and concerns for our immediate future. (My grandson is autistic.) She was certainly an example of someone who had the courage of her convictions and was able to convey complicated themes simply and persuasively. It must have been an intimidating job to spread the alarm to a world still unaware of the "stealth threat" of PPCs but she seemed undaunted. I'll miss her leadership and hope I can work as tirelessly as she did to spread the alarm so we can stop this threat and make the world a safe place for our children and grandchildren. I'm looking forward to working with TEDX and others to carry on her good work in whatever small way I can.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment: