Sharon Guynup, is currently a Public Policy Fellow with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program. She is also a journalist, author, photographer, and video producer who covers environmental issues for The New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, Smithsonian and other national and international publications. Previously, she taught in New York University’s graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She is co-author of “Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat” and launched “The State of the Wild” book series for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Project Summary

Sharon Guynup is studying  the environmental impacts of the illegal drug trade in the Americas, from cultivation, production and trafficking to the war on drugs—research that will be part of the forthcoming book, “Narco versus Nature.”  A prominent part of Guynup’s research explores illegal logging, wildlife trafficking and related criminal activity that endangers imperiled species. Other areas of study include impacts on natural resources. Until now, the collateral damage of pollution from drug cultivation and manufacturing (and the resulting human health affects), razed forests and ruined habitat, and the toll on wildlife, fisheries and ecosystems—has not been part of the larger discussion on illegal drugs. The goal of this work is to include the environmental impacts in the ongoing debate over drugs in the US and across the Americas—a debate that  includes the human and economic costs of drug abuse, national investments in fighting the war on drugs, the cost of incarceration for drug offenders, refugees pouring over US borders fleeing drug violence, and the debate over legalization.


Previous Terms

Public Policy Fellow, March 7 2016 - May 26 2017