These brief profiles describe individuals who have made or are making important contributions to security and/or sustainability thinking and policies, through their research, outreach, and writing and/or by creating or leading important organizations (some in underlined italics, linked to S&S Guide entries). They are mostly older men in Europe or North America. Many new leaders are arising, however, many of them women and many in countries outside of Europe and North America.
Nevertheless, the older generation should be recognized for their past and current contributions. And many of them are: most of the individuals profiled here have received numerous honorary degrees and prizes, but only one (Paul Crutzen) has received a Nobel Prize. The much-publicized Nobels were first awarded in 1901 for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace; the prize for economic sciences was added in 1969. Arguably, less attention should be paid to Nobel Prizes and more attention to the many prizes that are relevant to 21st century “wicked” problems of security, sustainability, and outdated 20th century economics.
The most noteworthy aspect of this compilation is likely to be the wide variety of contributions that have been made in promoting peace, security, climate concern, sustainability, and/or the energy transition. For individuals whose work was only dimly perceived, if at all, it has been illuminating for us to find out more about what they have done and are doing. We hope that readers will similarly find their horizons to be widened and deepened.
Most of the 40 Profiles in this section suggest little or no collaboration or influence among these individuals, with one large and one small exception. The large exception involves the 29 scientists that came together to introduce the important concept of “planetary boundaries” in 2009; seven of them are profiled below: in addition to lead author Johan Rockstrom, they include Costanza, Crutzen, Folke, Schellnhuber, and Steffen. The small instance of collaboration is between Lovins and von Weizsaeker on radical “Factor 5” resource efficiency. Many of the authors described below do collaborate, however, but not with others chosen for this list.