Environmental security

Environmental security

The definition of international security has been debated extensively by political scientists and others, and has varied over time. After World War II, definitions typically focused on the subject of realpolitik that developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

As tensions between the superpowers eased after the collapse of the Soviet Union, academic discussions of definitions of security significantly expanded to encompass a far broader range of threats to peace, including, particularly, environmental threats associated with the political implications of resource use or pollution. By the mid-1980s, this field of study was becoming known as environmental security. Despite a wide range of semantic and academic debates over terms, it is now widely acknowledged that environmental factors play both direct and indirect roles in both political disputes and violent conflicts.

In the academic sphere environmental security is defined as the relationship between security concerns such as armed conflict and the natural environment. A small but rapidly developing field, it has become particularly relevant for those studying resource scarcity and conflict in the developing world. Prominent early researchers in the field include Norman Myers, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Richard Ullman, Arthur Westing, Thomas Homer Dixon, Geoffrey Dabelko, Peter Gleick, and Joseph Romm.

[http://www.library.utoronto.ca/pcs/database/libintro.htm Environmental Security Database] [http://www.upeace.org/programmes/ESP.cfm] [http://www.acunu.org/millennium/env-sec1.html The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University (and soon to be World Federation of UN Associations) and Environmental Security] [http://www.pacinst.org/topics/environment_and_security Pacific Institute]

The Millennium Project did a global assessment of the definitions of environmental security and created a synthesis definition: Environmental Security is environmental viability for life support, with three sub-elements:
*preventing or repairing military damage to the environment,
*preventing or responding to environmentally caused conflicts, and
*protecting the environment due to its inherent moral value.

Selected early literature on the field of environmental security

*Brown, L. 1977. "Redefining Security,” WorldWatch Paper 14 (Washington, D.C.: WorldWatch Institute)
*Ullman, R.H. 1983. “Redefining Security,” International Security 8, No. 1 (Summer 1983): 129-153.
*Westing, A.H. 1986. “An Expanded Concept of International Security,” In Global Resources and International Conflict, ed. Arthur H. Westing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
*Myers, N. 1986. “The Environmental Dimension to Security Issues.” The Environmentalist 6 (1986): pp. 251–257.
*Ehrlich, P.R., and A.H. Ehrlich. 1988. The Environmental Dimensions of National Security. Stanford, CA: Stanford Institute for Population and Resource Studies.
*Svensson, U. 1988. “Environmental Security: A Concept.” Presented at the International Conference on Environmental Stress and Security, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, December 1988.
*Mathews, J.T. 1989. “Redefining Security,” Foreign Affairs 68, No. 2 (Spring 1989): 162-177.
*Gleick, P H. “The Implications of Global Climate Changes for International Security.” Climate Change 15 (October 1989): pp. 303-325.
*Gleick, P.H. 1990c. "Environment, resources, and international security and politics." In E. Arnett (ed.) Science and International Security: Responding to a Changing World. American Association for the Advancement of Science Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 501-523.
*Gleick, P.H. 1991b. "Environment and security: The clear connections." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 16-21.
*Homer-Dixon, T.F. 1991. “On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict, International Security 16, No. 2 (Fall 1991): 76-116
*Romm, J.J. 1993. Defining National Security: The Nonmilitary Aspects (New York: Council onForeign Relations)
*Levy, M.A. 1995. “Is the Environment a National Security Issue?” International Security 20, No. 2 (Fall 1995)
*Dabelko, G.D. 1996. “Ideas and the Evolution of Environmental Security Conceptions.” Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 1996.

External links

* [http://www.aepi.army.mil/rpt-weei.html/ Monthly International Environmental Security reports by the Millennium Project]
* [http://www.envirosecurity.net/ The Institute for Environmental Security]
* [http://www.nature.org/tncscience/bigideas/people/art19851.html Essay on environmental security] by Steve McCormick of The Nature Conservancy
* [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/ecsp Environmental Change & Security Program] at the [http://www.wilsoncenter.org Woodrow Wilson Center] , directed by [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1413&fuseaction=topics.profile&person_id=5792 Geoffrey Dabelko
* [http://www.upeace.org/academic/masters/ESP.cfm Environmental Security and Peace Program] at the [http://www.upeace.org United Nations mandated University for Peace]
* [http://www.stakeholderforum.org Human and Environmental Security: An Agenda for Change edited by Felix Dodds and Tim Pippard, London Earthscan]
* [http://www.pacinst.org/topics/environment_and_security/ Environment and Security Program of the Pacific Institute, directed by Peter Gleick]
* [http://www.theory-talks.org/2008/07/theory-talk-11.html UMass Professor Peter M. Haas defends a skeptical view on Environmental Security]

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