Sherri Goodman, Secretary General, International Military Council on Climate and Security
Sherri Goodman is a Climate and Energy leader who started her career in defence. She has worked as the Deputy Secretary of Defence at the American DoD and has also worked as the chief environmental safety and occupational health officer.
Climate Change as we know is a major threat to our national and global security. This rapidly increasing change is impacting the geopolitical decisions and landscapes. The USA, which has been for long has denied climate change, has now started taking the onus of working towards preserving the environment.
In today’s episode, we discuss how the military plays a key role in fulfilling its responsibilities towards nature, and thus, talk about the marriage between security and the environment. Tune in for some thought-provoking conversation.
About Sherri Goodman
Sherri Goodman is a Climate and Energy leader who started her career in defence. She has worked as the Deputy Secretary of Defence at the American DoD and has also worked as the chief environmental safety and occupational health officer. She serves as Secretary-General of the International Military Council on Climate & Security.
Sherri talks about the journey that the concept of environmental protection has gone through in the USA. She shared how in the US military, environmental issues were initially seen as a problem than an opportunity.
She shares her view on the landscapes of military bases which can be called, “the islands of nature” and thus, entails the responsibilities that fall for ecological preservation.
These responsibilities are established by law through the Endangered Species Act. Sherri reveals how the efforts by the military eventually led to community partnerships in the vicinity.
Sherri’s Career Trajectory
Sherri talks at length about her career evolution, which started out as a student of nuclear weapons and strategy. She was the first female professional staff member on the senate armed services’ committee.
Sherri further says, “My career went from weapons to waste. I worked from producing materials for those weapons to overseeing why all those plants had failed.”
Sherri has also practised environmental law for several years. She calls her career a perfect marriage between her interest in security and the environment.
USA’s take on Climate Change
Sherri acknowledges the initial denial of the USA towards Climate Change. However, the Biden administration had made it one of the top priorities.
She also talks about the private sector is becoming serious about their climate responsibilities by readily incorporating ESG principles in their supply chains. Sherri, however, also feels that our pace of movement to combat climate change is rather slow.
She says, “We should remember that mother nature always wins. Nature will adapt faster than humans. The question is whether we can adapt and become resilient to changing conditions, and whether we can make the planet liveable for humans.”
More About Sherri
Sherri talks about her parents, who were both holocaust refugees, and feels her upbringing fostered the thought of working towards preserving the human race.
She advises the younger generation, “You don’t have to fight the system, you have to internally change the system.”
She also talks about increasing climate activism, however, nothing can work in isolation. It needs equal support from technological development and resource sharing.
Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Polar Institute, is credited with educating a generation of U.S. military and government officials about the nexus between climate change and national security, using her famous coinage, “threat multiplier,” to fundamentally reshape the national discourse on the topic.
A former first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) and staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Goodman has founded, led, or advised nearly a dozen research organizations on environmental and energy matters, national security, and public policy.