The man who popularized Greek-style yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, is probably one of the only, if not the only, billionaire of recent years who does not owe his fortune to the government. Jeff Bezos does, Bill Gates does, Mark Zuckerberg does, along with dozens of others who have amassed fortunes in the digital age.

They are smart men all who have exploited opportunities, which would not have existed but for the government’s presence in science. I applaud individuals who build on government discoveries to make their fortunes.

But government-backed science, which has brought us everything from GPS to the internet, is in for a radical reversal, as laid out in the Trump administration’s budget proposal.

It was greeted with derision when it was released, with many hoping Congress will reverse it. However in the science community, in the halls of the National Science Foundation, in the facilities of the National Institutes of Health, and in the sprawling world of the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, there is fear and alarm.

There should be. There should be from the world of learning a great bellow of rage, too.

The Trump administration has declared essentially that the United States cannot afford to be wise, cannot afford to invent, cannot afford to cure or to minister, and cannot afford to continue the rate of scientific evolution, which has made science of the post-World War II period so thrilling, benefiting countless people.

The administration has identified 62 programs for elimination or severe cutbacks. It has done this in a mixture of ignorance, indifference and delusion. The ignorance is that it does not seem to know how we got where we are; the indifference is part of a broad, anti-intellectual tilt on the political right; and the delusion is the hapless belief that science and engineering’s forward leap of 75 years will be carried on in the private sector.

The broad antipathy to science, to learning in all but the most general sense, is the mark of the Trump budget proposal.

But science, whether it is coming from ARPA-E, (Advanced Projects Research Research Agency-Energy) or the National Science Foundation’s watering of the tender shoots of invention, the Department of Energy’s world-leading contribution to the Human Genome Project, or the National Institutes of Health’s endless war against disease (especially the small and awful diseases like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and the rarest cancers) is the future. Without it, the nation is gobbling its seed corn.

In the Trump administration, there is money to build a giant wall but no money to surge forward into the future.

To the administration, as indicated in its budget proposal, the sciences and the engineering that flows from them is a luxury. It is not. It is the raw materials of peace and strength in this century and beyond.

To take just one of the follies implicit in the philistine budget, cutting funding for medical research will come just when there is need for more — research that if not funded by the government will not be done. New epidemics like bird flu, Zika and Ebola cry out for research.

Increasingly, the old paradigm that new drugs would come from the drug companies is broken. It now costs a drug company close to $2 billion to bring a new compound to market. That cost is reflected in new drug prices, as the companies struggle to recoup their investments before their drugs go off patent. Shareholder value does not encourage the taking of chances, but rather the buying up of the competition. And that is happening in the industry.

The world desperately needs a new generation of antibiotics. The drug companies are not developing them, and the bugs are mutating happily, developing resistance to the drugs that have held bacterial disease at bay since penicillin led the way 89 years ago.

Fighting the political folly that threatens science is the battle for America. In 50 years, without amply government-funded research and development, will we still be the incubator for invention, the shock troops against disease, the progenitors of a time of global abundance?

Our place in the world is not determined by our ideology, but by our invention. Sadly, the pace of invention is at stake, attacked by a particularly virulent and aberrant strain of governmental thinking.­­

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Thu, May 11, 2017 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT – REGISTER AT http://bit.ly/2mUwNXJ   The webinar series, Restoring the Carbon Balance, SSF is producing with LightWorks at Arizona State University, is about taking research steps now to have technologies commercially available in the next decade or so, which can cost-effectively extract residual carbon from the air. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, that is what it will take to avoid the worst climate disruptions.

In webinar 1 of the series we addressed the imperative to hold CO2 levels to below 450 PPM to mitigate the risk of severe climate impacts. Webinar 2 reviewed carbon removal, storage and utilization technologies and their status of development. Click the slides to watch the recordings.

Webinar 3, on May 11, will examine policies, political approaches and funding options that can facilitate investment in RD&D needed to accelerate the pace of commercialization of carbon removal, storage and utilization technologies. Panelists will be announced shortly

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by Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia  

 RELEASE: U.S. Military Leaders Applaud Secretary Mattis’ Clear-Eyed View on Climate Change and SecurityWashington, D.C., March 16, 2017 — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, applauds Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ clear-eyed view on the national security risks of a changing climate, as expressed in excerpts from unpublished written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and offers recommendations for the way forward in its Briefing Book for a New Administration (pg 11). Among the excerpts, Secretary Mattis states: “Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”
The response from senior military leaders at the Center for Climate and Security was laudatory, though “unsurprised,” as the Department of Defense has a historyof treating climate change seriously across both Republican and Democratic Administrations, and Secretary Mattis is known to have a clear-eyed view of the risks the Pentagon faces:

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, U.S. Navy (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Commander, U.S. Pacific Command: “Secretary Mattis’ testimony is not surprising. As a global military leader he understands that the effective defense of our nation and our significant national interest requires that all threats to our security be considered and addressed, including the real threats posed by climate change.  Hopefully, Secretary Mattis’ leadership on the issue will translate into U.S. policies that help us manage the unavoidable, and avoid the unmanageable.”

General Ron Keys, U.S. Air Force (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Commander, Air Combat Command: “No surprise that DoD takes a pragmatic position on the effects of Climate Change… it already impairs their ability to base, train, test, mobilize, deploy, and conduct operations here and abroad, while threatening to stretch their forces to the breaking point. DoD has been monitoring the risks of Climate Change since at least 2003 and they clearly see the instability it brings to already precarious situations around the world… situations they have to be prepared for when they are called upon.”

Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, U.S. Navy (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program: “I fully support Secretary Mattis’ statements on climate and security risks.  Putting aside arguments of cause and effect, there are measured and measurable data and global events that must be considered and accounted for in our defense planning.”

Lieutenant General John G. Castellaw, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command: “”Secretary Mattis, as a Marine I know and have served with, understands that climate change can have a significant impact on our military operations in the future, and that we’re more secure if we deal with this problem seriously – as we do other threats to the nation. That’s the kind of clear-headed leadership that the military has brought to the climate change issue across both Republican and Democratic administrations. Secretary Mattis is no exception.”

Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, U.S. Air Force (Ret)Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Deputy Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Strategic Command: “The impacts of Climate Change on our national security are clearly evident every single day.  Secretary Mattis is a wise and highly experienced military leader who we are extremely fortunate to have directing DOD plans to address the growing risks climate change presents to our global security.”

Sherri Goodman, Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense: “Secretary Mattis recognizes that climate change is “threat multiplier” for instability and will affect America’s forces whether deployed overseas or based at home.  He is clear eyed in his assessment that America should be reducing the risks of climate instability, both as Combatant Commanders prepare their theater engagement plans and when base commanders prepare their community resilience plans.  Americans are fortunate to have Secretary Mattis’ leadership on climate security today, building on the work Secretary Mattis has done over the last decade to “unleash” our military “from the tether of fuel.”

Rear Admiral Ann Claire Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and SecurityFormer Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group TWO: “As Secretary Mattis states, Climate Change poses a substantial and evolving risk to our National Security.  It magnifies the complicated nature of threats abroad, and adds tension to operational readiness preparations, including maintenance and training, and the daily lives of our service members and their local and regional communities at home.  The “Whole of Government” and “Whole of Community” approach, as evidenced by the recent Hampton Roads Intergovernmental Pilot Project and other similar pilot projects around the country, validates this cross-functional planning strategy, and demonstrates the critical need for aggressive action to prepare for and adapt to this risk.”

Rear Admiral David W. Titley, U.S. Navy (Ret), Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Oceanographer of the Navy: “I am heartened, but not surprised, to learn that Secretary Mattis understands the changing climate is one of the many risks the Department of Defense needs to manage.  The changing climate is evident in every Combatant Commander’s Area of Responsibility.  This reality has been recognized for over a decade by both the military and the intelligence communities.  Climate change impacts the physical operating environment, our defense infrastructure, and can tip already regions already unstable into chaos and conflict.  It is essential to the military’s overall readiness that these risks from climate change be acknowledged and managed, just as the Defense department manages other areas of significant risk.”

Joan D.B. VanDervort, Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Deputy Director for Ranges, Sea and Airspace in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness): “I applaud the statements made by Secretary Mattis on the need for the Defense Department to continue its proactive approach on climate change.  Climate change is, without a doubt, a game changer: A game changer with regard to increased global instability due to drought, rising seas, and famine as well as the increased vulnerability of our ranges, training land, and infrastructure, both in the US and abroad.  The Department’s continued efforts to assess, adopt risk reduction strategies, and develop adaptive planning approaches will only serve to strengthen our national security now and into the future.”

Dr. Marcus D. King, Member of the Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security, Former Foreign Affairs Specialist, Office of the Secretary of Defense: “Like his predecessors Republican and Democrat alike, Secretary Mattis’s statements clearly reinforce the understanding that failure to address climate change’s risks to food, water and energy security is already creating adverse impacts in vulnerable nations important to U.S. national security.  His leadership at the Pentagon will elevate attention to these risks across the U.S. government and support preventative actions in the defense, development and diplomatic arenas that save lives and money and forestall the need for future military action.”

Francesco “Frank” Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Founders and Presidents, the Center for Climate and Security: “It’s Secretary Mattis’ job to protect the nation from all manner of security risks and threats, including climate change. He’s clearly a Secretary who understands that job, and so it’s heartening, though not surprising, to see his testimony. As this Administration develops its policy on climate change, it would do well to heed the assessment from Secretary Mattis, who approaches the issue in as apolitical a way as you can imagine – and as the DoD has always done, across both Republican and Democratic administrations. The ‘political climate’ has no bearing on the Pentagon’s concern about climate change, and that should be the case across the U.S. government.”

Read excerpts from Secretary Mattis’ written testimony here: https://climateandsecurity.org/2017/03/14/secretary-mattis-clear-eyed-on-climate-security-risks/

To speak with a CCS expert and/or Advisory Board member on this topic contact Francesco Femia, ffemia at climateandsecurity dot org,  202-246-8612

Related material: The U.S. military has been planning for climate change impacts from as early as 2003, as expressed in this collection of documents.

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May 9, 2017 at 1:15 PM to 2:45 PM

REGISTER AT http://bit.ly/2nbp72T

The “greening” of cities can focus on everything except nature, emphasizing such elements as public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems. While these are important aspects of reimagining urban living, human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis). And any vision of a sustainable urban future must place its focus squarely on nature, on the presence, conservation, and celebration of the actual green features and natural life forms.

Research shows nature’s ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery from illness, to enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, and to aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other childhood illnesses. Recent research suggests even that we are more generous in the presence of nature; all these values are in addition to the immense economic value of the ecological services provided by natural systems.

 Join Island Press and the Security and Sustainability Forum in a free webinar featuring Tim Beatley, Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia and author of “Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design“. Tim will discuss the principles of biophilia and use Washington,D.C. as an example biophilic city.

 

Sabine O’Hara

He will be joined in the DC discussion by Sabine O’Hara, Dean and Director of Landgrant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and Tommy Wells, Director of the Washington, D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and responsible for protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources of the District of Columbia .

 

Tommy Wells
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TEST VIDEO PAGE

by Arturo Herrera on March 1, 2017

The Security and Sustainability Forum has produced webinars on food and water security, public health, economic vitality and infrastructure. Click here to access the webinar archives.

Click on the session name for webinar details and access to the video and slide presentation.

 

Moderator Ann Goodman explored the implications of climate risk for business. Experts from among the companies most advanced in resilience thinking shared their views of how climate risk has changed their firms’ products, services, and ways of doing business-and how to weigh the costs of acting on climate against the risks of not preparing.
Moderator Ann Goodman explored the implications of climate risk for business. Experts from among the companies most advanced in resilience thinking shared their views of how climate risk has changed their firms’ products, services, and ways of doing business-and how to weigh the costs of acting on climate against the risks of not preparing.
Moderator Ann Goodman explored the implications of climate risk for business. Experts from among the companies most advanced in resilience thinking shared their views of how climate risk has changed their firms’ products, services, and ways of doing business-and how to weigh the costs of acting on climate against the risks of not preparing.
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Climate Justice Changes Health: Local, Tribal, Global, and Generational

February 15, 2017

 This year, 2017, is the American Public Health Association’s “Year of Climate Change and Health”. Please join APHA, Center for Climate Change and Health, Island Pressand the Security and Sustainability Forum for a very special kick-off webinar on Climate Justice Changes Health: Local, Tribal, Global, and Generational. The webinar panelists are engaged in the fight for climate justice and healthy communities. They […]

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What is the Island Press Urban Resilience Project?

February 13, 2017

Download Resilience Matters for Free  In 2013 Island Press launched the Urban Resilience Project (URP) with support from The Kresge Foundation and The JPB Foundation. The project is working to imagine and inspire the sustainable, equitable, resilient cities of the future. URP brings  together lading thinkers with a broad range of expertise to generate and cross-pollinate ideas . Island Press shares those […]

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Seeing the Better City

January 30, 2017

 Personal observation remains as important as ever to understand and improve cities today. While big data, digital mapping, and simulated cityscapes are valuable tools for understanding urban space, using them without on-the-ground, human impressions risks creating places that do not reflect authentic local context. Join SSF and Island Press in a webinar featuring Charles Wolfe, practicing […]

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Chronology of Military and Intelligence Concerns About Climate Change

January 12, 2017

Click here for the original article As we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to  its current level of concern about climate change. […]

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The Business of Risk: Climate and Resilience

December 16, 2016

Climate change poses serious and novel risks to businesses of all types and sizes – from supply and chain disruptions, to changes in national and international regulation, to shifting expectations of employees and customers. This webinar explored the implications of climate risk for business. Experts from among the companies most advanced in resilience thinking shared their views of how climate risk […]

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