Campus News

UGA faculty member will discuss the ‘ecology of war’ at Willson Center lecture

Pulling from his research into unexploded ­ordnance and their carcinogenic effects on the ­island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, UGA ecologist James W. Porter will present “The Ecology of War” Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. in Room 248 of the Miller Learning Center. Open free to the public, his talk is part of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts Science for Humanists lecture series.

In addition to the Willson lecture, Porter will present his Vieques research to the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2013. Because of his ordnance research, he was recently appointed to the International Scientific Advisory Board on Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons at an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania. The board advises the OPCW, which is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands. The OPCW implements the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention.

Porter, a Meigs Professor of Ecology at the Odum School of Ecology, has conducted extensive research into the environmental impacts of unexploded ordnance in Vieques. His interest in the ecological effects of warfare began when he surveyed the coral reefs surrounding the island and discovered carcinogenic compounds were leaching from unexploded munitions.

“High explosives should probably be regulated much more carefully than they are, not just because of their detonation hazard, but also based on their carcinogenic threat,” he said. “‘Out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ can’t be our weapons disposal policy.”