Imagine a future in which scientists try to help governments to cause, not prevent or mitigate, natural catastrophes. Chile’s 1960 earthquake killed thousands and stunned the world, sending tsunamis across the Pacific to kill dozens more in Hawaii, Japan, and elsewhere. To some, it was a lesson that Mother Nature was still in charge. To NATO, it bespoke of a future weapon system. In the early 1960s, experts within the Atlantic Alliance tried to grapple with a new form of weaponry–environmental warfare. My book explores their work and the many post-1945 projects to harness geophysical forces, exploit ecological pathways, and to understand the vulnerability of humanity across the globe. It links military research to our fundamental understanding of human vulnerability to catastrophic environmental change. My book, Arming Mother Nature, is under contract with Oxford.
In the course of my research, I have published shorter pieces on biological and radiological warfare, and on NATO’s attempt to cast itself as an environmental organization.