holds the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario
Waterloo is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada. It is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, and is adjacent to the city of Kitchener....
, and is a Professor in the Centre for Environment and Business in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is a comprehensive public university in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The school was founded in 1957 by Drs. Gerry Hagey and Ira G. Needles, and has since grown to an institution of more than 30,000 students, faculty, and staff...
. He previously held the George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...
, and was a Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Homer-Dixon was raised in a rural area outside Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...
He received his B.A.
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...
degree in political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...
from Carleton University
Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Founded as a small college in 1942, Carleton now offers over 65 programs in a diverse range of disciplines. Carleton has...
in 1980 and his Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...
degree in Political Science from MIT
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...
in 1989, where he studied international relations, defense and arms control policy, cognitive science and conflict theory. He then moved to the University of Toronto where he led several international research projects studying the links between environmental stress and violence in developing countries.
Recently, his research has focused on threats to global security
Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and crime. Security as a form of protection are structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition. The Institute for Security and Open Methodologies in the OSSTMM 3 defines security as "a form of protection...
in the 21st century and on how societies adapt to complex economic, ecological, and technological change. His work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on political science, economics, environmental studies, geography, cognitive science, social psychology and complex systems theory. Homer-Dixon is widely regarded as a central figure in the Environment and Security debate, having significantly shaped the discourse in the field.
Homer-Dixon proposed six kinds of environmental scarcity that could potentially produce violent conflict.
1) Greenhouse Effect
2) Statosphere Ozone Depletion
3) Degradation and loss of good agricultural land
4) Degradation and removal of forests
5) Depletion and pollution of fresh water supplies
6) Depletion of fisheries
He identified three causal paths by which scarcity produces conflict:
1) Decreasing supplies of physically controllable resources might provoke inter-state "simple-scarcity" conflicts or "resource wars"
2) Large population movements caused by environment stress might induce "group-identity" conflicts such as ethnic clashes
3) Scarcity could simultaneously increase economic deprivation and disrupt social institutions, causing "deprivation conflicts" reflected in civil strife and insurgency.
His award-winning works include: The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization
, which won the 2006 National Business Book Award; The Ingenuity Gap
, which won the 2001 Governor-General's Non-fiction Award; and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence
, which received the 2000 Lynton Caldwell Prize from the American Political Science Association.