Working with plants is all in the family for Hall. “My grandmother was a botanist,” she says. “My mother did flowers and my uncle was a lumberjack.” It’s no wonder, then, that when Hall herself sought to help fight climate change, her mind would turn to trees. Her company, San Francisco–based Living Carbon, is growing genetically modified poplars and pines capable of absorbing much more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than regular trees. They also grow faster and produce more durable wood than their natural counterparts. Hall has raised millions to date from the likes of Y Combinator, Sam Altman and Alexis Ohanian. She sees Living Carbon as a Tesla for trees. “Cars geared toward environmentalists were ugly and didn’t survive,” she says. “But Tesla was cool—and people bought it because of that.”

As North America settles in for a long pandemic winter, there are bright spots on the horizon. Hundreds of them. The 600 young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers featured in our 10th Annual Forbes 30 Under 30 give everyone reason to hope. Some are defying the odds and building businesses despite Covid-19; others are helping to fight the illness, serving on hospital front- lines or working with A.I. to discover new drugs. This year they were photographed by one of their own: Mamadi Doumbouya, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea who appears in this year’s Art & Style group. Collectively, our Under 30 trailblazers have raised over $1 billion in venture funding and are proof positive that ambition and innovation can’t be quarantined.

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Why Maddie Hall Is Building Genetically Modified Trees To Absorb Carbon Dioxide Faster | Forbes