State of the World 2015 Author Biographies


Project Directors

Gary Gardner is director of publications at the Worldwatch Institute, He has written on a broad range of sustainability issues, from cropland loss and water scarcity to malnutrition and bicycle use. He is the author of the 2006 book Inspiring Progress: Religions' Contributions to Sustainable Development. Before joining Worldwatch in 1994, Gary was project manager of the Soviet Nonproliferation Project, a research and training program run by the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Chapter 5: Mounting Losses of Agricultural Resources


Tom Prugh is co-director of the State of the World 2015 project at the Worldwatch Institute. He also co-directed State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability and State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? (with Erik Assadourian). His interests and writings include energy, ecological economics, and the relationship between modes of governance and sustainability. Tom is the lead author of two books, Natural Capital and Human Economic Survival and The Local Politics of Global Sustainability.

Chapter 10: Childhood's End


Michael Renner is a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute and co-director of State of the World 2015 and several earlier editions. He also manages the Institute's Vital Signs, a series of analyses of global trends. His research has focused principally on the connections between environment and employment as well as between the environment and conflict. He has written about green jobs for the UN Environment Programme, International Labour Organization, International Renewable Energy Agency, and International Trade Union Confederation.

Chapter 1: The Seeds of Modern Threats



Katie Auth worked as a research associate in the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy program between 2012 and 2014. Her main focus is low-carbon development strategies and climate adaptation. Katie graduated from the University of Akureyri, Iceland with a Masters in Marine Policy and Natural Resource Management, focusing on sustainable fisheries and social and environmental impacts of climate change in the Arctic. She also spent time in Senegal studying climate change adaptation and international development policy.

Chapter 6: The Oceans: Resilience at Risk


Ben Caldecott is director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He is concurrently an adviser to The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit and an academic visitor at the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority. Ben specializes in environment, energy, and sustainability issues and works at the intersection between finance, government, civil society, and academia, having held senior roles in each domain.

Chapter 4: Avoiding Stranded Assets


Peter Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance, a US-based organization that conducts research and outreach programs on global health, conservation, and international development. Peter’s research has been instrumental in identifying and predicting the impact of emerging diseases across the globe. His achievements include identifying the bat origin of SARS, identifying the underlying drivers of Nipah and Hendra virus emergence, coining the term ‘pathogen pollution’, and discovering the disease chytridiomycosis as the cause global amphibian declines.

Chapter 8: Emerging Diseases from Animals


Heather Exner-Pirot is managing editor of the Arctic Yearbook, a research fellow at the EU Arctic Forum, and a strategist for outreach and indigenous engagement at the University of Saskatchewan. She is an editorial board member of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and board member of the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network. She has held positions at the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the University of the Arctic.

Chapter 7: Whose Arctic Is It?


François Gemenne is the executive director of the interdisciplinary research program Politics of the Earth at Sciences Po in Paris. A specialist of environmental geopolitics, he is also a Funds for Scientific Research senior research associate at the University of Liège (CEDEM) and at the University of Versailles (CEARC). He lectures on environmental and migration policies in various universities, including Sciences Po (Paris and Grenoble), the University of Paris 13 and the Free University of Brussels.

Chapter 9: Migration as a Climate Adaptation Strategy



Nathan John Hagens was, until recently, lead editor of The Oil Drum, one of the most highly-respected websites for analysis of global energy supplies and the future implications of energy decline. Nate is currently on the Boards of Post Carbon Institute, Bottleneck Foundation, IIER and Institute for the Study of Energy and the Future. Previously, Nate was president of Sanctuary Asset Management and a vice president at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers.

Chapter 2: Energy, Credit, and the End of Growth



Tim Jackson is professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey and director of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity. He has been at the forefront of international debates about sustainable development for over two decades and has worked closely with the UK Government, United Nations, European Commission, and various companies and NGOs to bring social science research into sustainability. Tim is also an award-winning dramatist with radio writing credits for the BBC.

Chapter 3: The Trouble with Growth



William B. Karesh is the executive vice president for health and policy at EcoHealth Alliance. He is also the president of the World Organization for Animal Health Working Group on Wildlife and chairs the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Wildlife Health Specialist Group, a network of wildlife and health experts around the world. William has pioneered One Health initiatives focusing attention and resources on solving problems created by interactions among wildlife, people, and animals.

Chapter 8: Emerging Diseases from Animals



Elizabeth Loh is a research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance and a Ph.D. candidate at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. She is an ecologist interested in the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity and the implications this has for conservation and health. Her current work examines the effects of forest fragmentation on bat and viral communities in the tropics and investigates the role of human behavior in disease risk.

Chapter 8: Emerging Diseases from Animals



Catherine Machalaba is the program coordinator for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance and is a doctoral student at the CUNY School of Public Health. Her research interests focus on One Health approaches to human, animal, and environmental health challenges and strengthening public health systems. She serves as the science officer for the Future Earth ecoHEALTH project, which is aimed at generating solutions-oriented research to address the health impacts of global environmental change.

Chapter 8: Emerging Diseases from Animals



Peter Victor is professor in environmental studies at York University, Canada. He is an economist who has worked on environmental issues for over 40 years as an academic, consultant, and public servant. He was one of the founders of the emerging discipline of ecological economics and is the recipient of the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Boulding Memorial Prize from the International Society for Ecological Economics for his lifetime contributions to economics and the environment.

Chapter 3: The Trouble with Growth



About Confronting Hidden

Threats to Sustainability

We think we understand environmental damage: pollution, water scarcity, a warming world. But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Deeper issues include food insecurity, financial assets drained of value by environmental damage, and a rapid rise in diseases of animal origin. These and other problems are among the underreported consequences of an unsustainable global system.
In State of the World 2015, the flagship publication of the Worldwatch Institute, experts explore hidden threats to sustainability and how to address them. Eight key issues are addressed in depth, along with the central question of how we can develop resilience to these and other shocks. With the latest edition of State of the World, the authorities at Worldwatch bring to light challenges we can no longer afford to ignore.


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SOW 2015 Chapter 2 Introduction (PDF)645.94 KB
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