Template:Unreferenced Environmental security examines the threat posed by environmental events and trends to national power, as well as the impact of human conflict and international relations on the environment.

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.


The Copenhagen School defines the referent object of environmental security as the environment as such, or some strategic part of the environment.[1]

Historically, the definition of international security 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 Felix Dodds, Norman Myers, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Richard Ullman, Arthur Westing, Thomas Homer Dixon, Geoffrey Dabelko, Peter Gleick, and Joseph Romm.

Selected early literature on the field of environmental security Edit

  • 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
  • Template:Cite book ISBN 0-688-11868-2
  • Romm, Joseph J. 1993. Defining National Security: The Nonmilitary Aspects (New York: Council on Foreign 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.
  • Kobtzeff, Oleg. 2000. “Environmental Security and Civil Society”, in- Gardner, Hall, (ed.) Central and South-central Europe in Transition, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2000, pp. 219–296.
  • Dodds, F. Pippard, T. 2005. (edited) "Human and Environmental Security: An Agenda for Change, London. Earthscan.
  • Dodds, F. Higham, A. Sherman, R. 2009. (edited) "Climate Change and Energy Insecurity: The Challenge for Peace, Security and Development", London. Earthscan

References Edit

  1. Barry Buzan, Ole Waever, and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998).

External linksEdit

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