|Alma mater||Carleton University |
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thomas Homer-Dixon (born 1956) is a Canadian political scientist and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environment, and the Executive Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
In 1980, he received a B.A. in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa. He then established the Canadian Student Pugwash organization, a forum for discussion of the relationships between science, ethics, and public policy. He completed his Ph.D. in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989.
Homer-Dixon began his academic career at the University of Toronto in 1990 where he led several research projects examining links between environmental stress and violence in poor countries. In 1993, he joined the faculty of University College and the Department of Political Science, progressing to full professor status in 2006. Meanwhile, he was director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University College, before he moved on to be the Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies until 2007.
In 2008, Homer-Dixon moved to the University of Waterloo, Ontario, to assume the role as the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the newly created Balsillie School of International Affairs.
In 2019, Homer-Dixon was appointed a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. In 2020 he became the Executive Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University.
In the 1990s, at the University of Toronto, Homer-Dixon studied of the links between environmental stress and violent conflict. Two of his articles in the MIT journal International Security identified underlying mechanisms by which scarcities of natural resources like cropland and fresh water could contribute to insurgency, ethnic clashes, terrorism, and genocide in poor countries.
In the mid-1990s, Homer-Dixon researched the links between environmental stress and conflict. Homer-Dixon has also been interviewed in the Huffington Post about resilience and civilization.
In an opinion piece published in the New York Times in April 2013, Homer-Dixon stated that Alberta's oil sands industry "is undermining Canadian democracy" and that "tar sands influence reaches deep into the federal cabinet."
Dixon also said that "Canada is beginning to exhibit the economic and political characteristics of a petro-state" and that the oil sands industry "is relentlessly twisting our society into something we don't like."
Homer-Dixon was subsequently criticized by Jen Gerson in the National Post, who argued that referring to Canada as a "petro state" was erroneous since oil and natural gas provide only about 5% of Canada's total GDP. Regarding Homer-Dixon's claim that "equates resource extraction with low innovation", Gerson argued that Canada's current oilsands industry "required most a century of research, development and high-risk capital investment", while claiming that "For a professor of any repute to associate oilsands with low innovation is patently ignorant."
In addition, Gerson stated that the oilsands industry "is pumping billions of dollars into an otherwise struggling economy", while quipping (about Homer-Dixon) that "It must be nice to be a professor who can call for the shuttering of an industry that millions of Canadians rely upon to pay their mortgages."