History and Growth of Organizations, 1940-2016

When this project was started in 2013, we assumed that the security and sustainability universe was perhaps limited to several hundred organizations.  Not so.  As of April 2017 we have now identified 1,716 organizations: large and small, scientific and activist, non-profit and for-profit, establishment and non-establishment.  The end is not in sight, and probably never will be, in that these organizations are dynamic systems—often creating new programs, publications, and alliances—and new organizations are constantly being created, or discovered.  Among the 1,063 organizations identified here that provide their date of founding, the median start-up date is 2001-2002, and the steep growth line indicates a steady rate of growth. (See Chart on following page, mapping growth from 1940 to 2016, based on organizations covered as of August 2016.)

We believe that the fundamental challenges facing humanity and its planet are generally understated and therefore underappreciated.  And the new organizations that are rising to deal with these challenges, as well as older organizations expanding their programs, are similarly underappreciated.  If journalists, scholars, analysts, policymakers, and business leaders can better appreciate the vast but fuzzy “meta-system” of security and sustainability organizations, we hope that they would take the existential challenges even more seriously, using the important and timely information that many of these organizations freely provide (see Part 1B).

We also believe that information collected so far for the Guide is of sufficient interest and importance to warrant this “Interim Draft,” despite loose ends and imperfections.  A progress report with some information is better than none.

1,067 organizations among 1,531 identified as of July 2016 mention their date of founding, and 464 orgs do not.  Future research will attempt to identify founding dates for most of these 464 organizations.  27 organizations were founded prior to 1940, including the Royal United Services Institute in 1831, the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863, the Sierra Club in 1892, the World Peace Foundation in 1920, and the National Wildlife Federation in 1936.  The median date of founding for this sample of organizations is 2001-2002.

“Security” organizations are concerned with peace, arms control, terrorism, cyber-terrorism, human security, human rights, etc.  “Sustainability” organizations focus on climate change, biodiversity, oceans, sustainable development, low-carbon economies, green business, new economics, human-centered paradigms, etc.

Growth of Security and Sustainability Organizations, 1940-2016
(click on chart to enlarge)
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