Myers was an advisor to organisations including the United Nations, the World Bank, scientific academies in several countries, and various government administrations worldwide. He was an Honorary Visiting Fellow at Green College, Oxford University, and an Adjunct Professor at Duke University and the University of Vermont. Other vising academic appointments were at Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, Berkeley, Michigan and Texas Universities. He is a patron of London-based population concern charity Population Matters.
Myers’s work has ranged over diverse critical global issues and includes 18 books and over 250 scientific papers, produced while working as a consultant and in temporary academic posts. In the late 1970s, his work addressed rapidly accelerating decline of tropical forests. His estimates were later verified through satellite imagery. In the early 1980s Myers addressed the issue of deforestation in the context of land conversion for cattle production, a process that he called the “hamburger connection”, showing the international linkages between industrial food production and environmental decline.
He did some of the early work on biodiversity, highlighting the critical importance of “biodiversity hotspots” – regions that are home to a disproportionately high number of species. This work was cited when he was named 2007 Time Magazine Hero of the Environment. Myers proposed, (in Nature, an article published in 2000 and cited 19,000 times by 2017) that these hotspots should be the focus of preservation efforts as a way to cut the rates of mass extinction and this strategy has been adopted by global conservation organisations raising hundreds of millions of dollars to date – by some estimates the largest amounts ever assigned to a single conservation strategy.
He wrote an influential book “Ultimate Security: The Environmental Basis of Political Stability” that was an early contribution to the field of environmental security and how environmental factors influence local and international politics. Together with Jennifer Kent, he wrote Perverse Subsidies in 2003 that highlighted how large-scale government intervention in the form of subsidies, both direct and indirect, can lead to adverse rather than beneficial effects on society and the environment. He ceased most academic work towards the beginning of the 2010s.