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Why I’ve Joined the Council on Strategic Risks as Head of its Ecological Security Program

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By Dr. Rod Schoonover

We are in the midst of an ecological crisis. Biodiversity loss is quickening, ecosystems are collapsing, mass die-offs are rising, zoonotic spillovers are escalating, and populations of harmful organisms are booming. In a January 2021 article titled Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future, 17 of the world’s leading ecologists argued “the scale of the threats to the biosphere and all of its lifeforms—including humanity—is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts.”

Both connected to—and separate from—the climate emergency, ongoing ecological disruption has portentous implications for human, national, and global security. We should expect concomitant risks to political stability, social cohesion, human health, and economic stability.

Surprisingly sparse comprehensive analysis exists in this nascent field of ecological security, however.

That’s why I’m pleased to join the Council on Strategic Risks as head of the Ecological Security Program in the Converging Risks Lab.

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RELEASE: Can Climate Change Increase the Risk of Nuclear Conflict?

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) Releases a Video Series Exploring the Complex Linkages Between Climate Change, Nuclear Energy, and Nuclear Weapons

Washington, D.C., October 28, 2020 —  A new video series from CSR’s Converging Risks Lab examines two of the gravest threats to global security today: nuclear detonation risks and climate change. One poses the potential for immediate catastrophe, the other, a perhaps slower but comparable destructive force. In the post-Cold War era, nuclear dangers and climate change present major existential risks to society, but their convergences are complex and require experts to navigate multiple silos of experience. Understanding the connections among climate and nuclear trends, and how they might interact with other security risks, is critical for national security and policy planners as well as the broader general public.

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