commentaries and op-eds
To reach audiences outside academia, I frequently write commentaries and op-eds for media outlets around the world. Notable examples include:
South China Morning Post on the end of the one-child policy & LGBT Chinese
Days after the Chinese government relaxed its restrictive (and controversial) one-child policy, I wrote an op-ed in Hong Kong's largest English language newspaper suggesting that the change in family planning regulations will have an unexpected but welcomed positive affect on gay and lesbian Chinese. Later I expanded on this argument in a full length academic article published in 2018 by the Journal of Homosexuality.
CNN on the politics of human intervention and Syrian conflict
As the conflict in Syria became more difficult for the international community to ignore, my co-authors and I penned a commentary for CNN in which we drew upon our recently published research on what ultimately drives the US government to intervene on humanitarian grounds. Based upon historical analysis in the 1990s and 2000s, we argued that US intervention was unlikely because it's both rare, and usually dictated by party politics.
Chicago Tribune on the environmental costs of a growing ski industry in China
In the early 2000s a small but growing skiing industry began to emerge in China. This was surprising because of the lack of natural snow in the region; ski resorts were reliant upon man-made snow which uses (and wastes) water. In a piece for the Chicago Tribune I argued that this posed a real environmental and social problem given that northern China suffered (as it does today) from severe water shortages. This op-ed gained some new attention recently (well over a decade after I wrote it) when Beijing was announced host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The region still lacks natural snow, and so will rely even more on water-wasting man-made snow.
South China Morning Post on efforts of 'big oil' to address environmental concerns in China
I wrote a commentary for the South China Morning Post about the difficult balancing act for large multinational petroleum companies entering the Chinese market: they have had to be responsive to growing domestic and international concerns about growing environmental problems in China, of which many are blamed upon their industry.
Wilson Center's Centerpoint on the growing international security concerns over water
This commentary offered a brief historical overview of the role that water has played in international conflicts, noting the number of potential 'hot spots' where fights over scare water resources could be the root cause of war.
Christian Science Monitor on the social and environmental consequences on the growing number of golf courses in China
In what became a widely read and re-published piece in the Associated Press and other news outlets around the world, in 2003 I wrote an op-ed for the Christian Science Monitor in which I noted the high and wide-ranging environmental costs of golf courses around the world. Given that China was quickly becoming home to some of the most courses in the world, I offered a cautionary tale about the stresses this could put on the country's already fragile environment—as well as the related social problems, and potential unrest that could result as it's degraded further.
To learn about how I adapt previous research into op-eds—and how, inversely, the writing of commentaries has led to new research projects—visit my page on policy outreach.