I have a bit of news to share. After 15 years at the Wilson Center, I will be moving back to my home town of Athens, Ohio, this fall to become a professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs where I will serve as director of environmental studies and work in their campus-wide Consortium on Energy, Economics, and the Environment.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today announced the creation of a new program to study the impact of global changes—such as population growth, resource scarcity, urbanization, migration, and economic development—on people’s lives, from their environment and health to their security and economic wellbeing.
As the world’s largest exporter of corn, soybeans, and wheat, the United States is vital to the global food market. But this summer has seen the country’s worst drought since 1956, and several other key grain-producing regions have been affected by abnormal weather this year as well.
In the wake of triple-digit heat and the sixth worst drought on record, many are wondering if this is what climate change feels like. With predictions suggesting this may be the new normal, we are also left to wonder about how prepared we are for increasingly extreme weather. Geoff Dabelko, Director of the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program, provides some perspective.
Mongolia, a vast, sparsely populated country almost as large as Western Europe, is at once strikingly poor and strikingly rich. Its GDP per capita falls just below that of war-torn Iraq, and Ulan Bator has some of the worst air pollution ever recorded in a capital city. At the same time, Mongolia sits atop some of the world’s largest mineral reserves, worth trillions of dollars, and its economy, already one of the world’s fastest growing, could expand by a factor of six by the end of the decade as those reserves are developed.
As World Population Day approaches, Wilson Center consultant and demographer Elizabeth Leahy Madsen says the Arab Spring demonstrates that countries with very young age structures are prone both to higher incidence of civil conflict and undemocratic governance.
Population dynamics have significant influence on sustainable development but the two have not always been seen as connected. ECSP’s Sandeep Bathala is in Rio de Janeiro for the landmark UN Conference on Sustainable Development to report on the efforts being made to integrate the two more closely.
For the scores of women who will be attending the 20th anniversary of the first UN Earth Summit this June (and just importantly for those who aren’t), there are glaring omissions: reproductive health, gender equality, and girls education are nowhere to be found on the Rio+20 agenda.
The Arab Spring was anticipated by few, but for a handful of political demographers it was a watershed of sorts. Although such game-changers are rarely predictable, the year ahead promises to be eventful as well, with new demographic research and major policy initiatives on the horizon.
Former Public Policy Scholar and author of "The Unconquered", Scott Wallace, writes on deforestation in the Amazon.