Thomas Homer-Dixon

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Thomas Homer-Dixon
Thomas Homer-Dixon.jpg
Homer-Dixon in 2007
Born
Alma materCarleton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Websitehttps://homerdixon.com/

Thomas Homer-Dixon (born 1956) is a Canadian political scientist and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environment,[1] and the Executive Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Homer-Dixon was born and raised in a rural area outside Victoria, British Columbia.[1] In his late teens and early twenties, he worked on oil rigs and in forestry.[4]

In 1980, he received a B.A. in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa.[5] He then established the Canadian Student Pugwash organization, a forum for discussion of the relationships between science, ethics, and public policy.[citation needed] He completed his Ph.D. in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989.[6]

Academic career[edit]

Homer-Dixon began his academic career at the University of Toronto in 1990 where he led several research projects examining links between environmental stress and violence in poor countries.[7] In 1993, he joined the faculty of University College and the Department of Political Science, progressing to full professor status in 2006. Meanwhile, he was director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University College, before he moved on to be the Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies until 2007.[8][9]

In 2008, Homer-Dixon moved to the University of Waterloo, Ontario, to assume the role as the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the newly created Balsillie School of International Affairs.[10][11]

He was the founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo between 2009 and 2014.[12][1]

In 2019, Homer-Dixon was appointed a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.[13] In 2020[citation needed] he became the Executive Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University.[14]

Work[edit]

Environmental stress and violent conflict[edit]

In the 1990s, at the University of Toronto, Homer-Dixon studied of the links between environmental stress and violent conflict. Two of his articles in the MIT journal International Security identified underlying mechanisms by which scarcities of natural resources like cropland and fresh water could contribute to insurgency, ethnic clashes, terrorism, and genocide in poor countries.[15][16][17][18]

In the mid-1990s, Homer-Dixon researched the links between environmental stress and conflict.[19][20] Homer-Dixon has also been interviewed in the Huffington Post about resilience and civilization.[21]

Alberta's oil sands[edit]

In an opinion piece published in the New York Times in April 2013, Homer-Dixon stated that Alberta's oil sands industry "is undermining Canadian democracy" and that "tar sands influence reaches deep into the federal cabinet."

Dixon also said that "Canada is beginning to exhibit the economic and political characteristics of a petro-state" and that the oil sands industry "is relentlessly twisting our society into something we don't like."[22][23][24]

Criticism[edit]

Homer-Dixon was subsequently criticized by Jen Gerson in the National Post, who argued that referring to Canada as a "petro state" was erroneous since oil and natural gas provide only about 5% of Canada's total GDP. Regarding Homer-Dixon's claim that "equates resource extraction with low innovation", Gerson argued that Canada's current oilsands industry "required most a century of research, development and high-risk capital investment", while claiming that "For a professor of any repute to associate oilsands with low innovation is patently ignorant."

In addition, Gerson stated that the oilsands industry "is pumping billions of dollars into an otherwise struggling economy", while quipping (about Homer-Dixon) that "It must be nice to be a professor who can call for the shuttering of an industry that millions of Canadians rely upon to pay their mortgages."[25]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Environmental Scarcity and Global Security. New York: Foreign Policy Association. 1993. ISBN 0-87124-152-8.
  • Population and Conflict. Liège: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. 1994. ISBN 2-87108-032-1.
  • Environment, Scarcity, and Violence. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1999. ISBN 0-691-02794-3.
  • The Ingenuity Gap. New York: Knopf. 2000. ISBN 0-375-40186-5.
  • The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. Toronto: Knopf. 2006. ISBN 0-676-97722-7.
  • Carbon Shift: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives). Toronto: Vintage Canada. 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-35719-9.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thomas Homer-Dixon's official biography (Accessed March 5, 2007.)
  2. ^ "Team". Cascade Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Faculty Profiles". Royal Roads University. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. ^ "A doomsayer, and a father, with a heart of faint hope". thestar.com. 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  5. ^ Carleton Alumni: Thomas Homer-Dixon BAHons (Poli Sci)/80 Archived 2013-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "They and we: an empirical and philosophical study of a theory of social conflict (MIT library listing)". mit.primo.exlibrisgroup.com. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  7. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas. “Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases.” International Security, Vol. 19, No. I, (Summer 1994): 5-40.
  8. ^ George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies.Peace Magazine (July–August, 1996): 31.
  9. ^ “Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Named for Trudeau.” UofT Magazine (Summer 2004).
  10. ^ Davis, Jeff. “New School Aims to Breathe Life into Global Affairs Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine.” CIGI Online (February 20, 2008).
  11. ^ Reinhart, Anthony (July 3, 2009). "Advantage, Waterloo". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  12. ^ WICI Welcome from the Director Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "University Research Chairs". Provost Office. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  14. ^ "Team". Cascade Institute.
  15. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas (Summer 1994). “Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases.” International Security Vol. 19, No. I, pp. 5-40.
  16. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas. “On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict.” International Security, Vol. 16, No.2, (Summer 1994): 76-116.
  17. ^ Hurst, Linda. “The global guru World leaders are listening to.Toronto Star (July 20, 1996): C1.
  18. ^ Laver, Ross. “Looking for Trouble.” Maclean’s 107 (September 5, 1994): 18-22.
  19. ^ Kennedy, Bingham. “Environmental Security: PRB Talks with Thomas Homer-Dixon.” Population Reference Bureau (January 2001).
  20. ^ “Apocalypse Soon.” The Economist. 332.7873 (July 23, 1994): A25.
  21. ^ Dembo, Ron. “Resilience and Civilization.” Interview in Huff Post Politics Canada (January 17, 2007).
  22. ^ Homer-Dixon takes aim at 'tar sands disaster' in New York Times by Jill Mahoney, The Globe and Mail, April 1, 2013.
  23. ^ Thomas Homer-Dixon: "The Tar Sands Disaster" on As It Happens, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, April 3, 2013.
  24. ^ Op-Ed: The Tar Sands Disaster, (full article available at Speaker's Spotlight).
  25. ^ Jen Gerson’s Western Front: Ontario prof mistakes personal views on oilsands for reasoned argument Archived 2013-04-11 at archive.today by Jen Gerson, National Post, April 3, 2013.

External links[edit]