Environmental Security the Environment and Term Paper

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The author therefore appears to suggest that the holistic approach poses a risk of costly time delays for approval that might prove too little too late for any true difference to be possible.

Brown (2005) asserts that the political involvement of security in natural resource issues holds the risk of conflict and insecurity. Indeed, competition relates to power and control issues arise where resources are abundant, while competition for resources occur where these are scarce. Brown, like Levy, asserts that there is little question that security and environmental issues are integrated. The risk lies in whether security is specifically integrated in mitigation measures, and the degree to which this is done.

It has been mentioned above that the environment directly affects human survival and well-being. Brown further addresses the interrelation between the environment and security be asserting that they are interdependent: in other words, the environment can cause insecurity, while insecurity can impact the environment negatively as well. Specifically, refugees driven from their environment by political insecurity can place negative strain on their new environment, while war could result over a lack of resources.

It has also been mentioned above that environmental insecurity can provide a valuable resource for targeted and effective change. Dialogue and effective communication could for example lead to a greater mutual understanding among all who are dependent upon a particular environment or resource. In this way, humanity could learn that it is interpersonal similarities rather than differences that are important to secure the survival of the species rather than any specific nation.

Brown also addresses the impact of both the developed and developing world on the environment. While the developing world is often seen as the greatest culprit in the lack of environmental sustainability, Brown emphasizes that no small amount of responsibility should be at the threshold of the developed world. Indeed, the widely divergent countries at both sides of the economic fence need to take responsibility for their unsustainable habits. Indeed, this may be even more so for the more prosperous countries, as they have greater economic power to mitigate their impact on the environment. Indeed, these countries also have the power to assist poorer countries in terms of both education and mitigation regarding the environment. Instead, however, Brown notes that the unsustainable habits of many rich countries lie at the root environment-related conflict. At the same time, it should also be recognized that these factors do not cause conflict in isolation. Instead, it is a confluence of environmental and political factors that may be seen as the cause of such conflicts. Hence, security should also bee seen as an integrated phenomenon, involving not only the environment, but many other related political and economic factors.

In mitigating these problems, Brown (2005:5) suggests environmental programming as a contributing factor towards peace. Because of the political uncertainty regarding environmental control, it is suggested that local governments take control of programs to mitigate specific and localized environmental programs, which can then contribute to the global good. Indeed, resources managed in this way can in turn be integrated into global programs to coordinate the effort towards global sustainable development.

According to Brown, Hammill & McLeman (2007: 1142), the increased attention on security and its relation to politics and environmental issues is inevitable as the new millennium progresses. Indeed, in the wake of the ozone issue, global environmental issues and security have incrementally increased in importance. Specific issues of security that the authors mention include the possibility of forced migration and conflict as a result of increased pressure on natural resources and their allocation. These were possibilities projected during the beginning of the decade, when the commission of two scenario analysts to investigate the effects of a possible abrupt climate change gave rise to mild media panic.

On the positive side, however, it also triggered greater attention to the link between security issues and the environment, and the ways in which these could be handled in the future. Indeed, specific measures have been taken by the British government as well as the rest of Europe to address security concerns as a result of climate change. Significantly, African leaders have also begun to take the matter seriously. In terms of security and conflict, it is furthermore significant that these leaders are lashing out against the developing world for its unsustainable gas emissions and other forms of pollution resulting in the possibility of abrupt climate changes.

The hostile feelings cultivated in this way is detrimental to finding solutions for the future, and should be mitigated via dialogue and a cultivation of mutual understanding and support.

Some political leaders have even given environmental problems precedence over terrorism in threatening international security. Indeed, the anger of African leaders and the attitude of developed nations could result in conflict if not managed correctly. As seen above, the literature often encourages the view that developing nations are the greatest culprits in causing environmental unsustainability, while developed nations are indeed as, or even more irresponsible than their poorer counterparts in destroying the planet and its resources. This in itself can result in a conflict situation that will do little to address the root of the problem.

Instead of flinging accusations, it might be advisable to, as mentioned above, encourage solution-focused conversation. An overly emotional reactive paradigm towards environmental issues might indeed trigger a greater security threat than terrorism, as projected. Once again, this is not related solely to the environment, but to a confluence of various integrated political and economic factors.

The Economy

It has been mentioned earlier that the environment is not only a security issue, but also an economic one. In both paradigms, the environment is also a political issue, as both scarce and abundant resources might result in political and power conflicts. An abundance of oil in one country can for example result in this country's control of worldwide oil and gas prices. Brown, Hammill & McLeman (2007) particularly mention the example of diamonds, whose abundance resulted in control conflicts.

In addition to conversation, planning and environmental programming, the authors suggest worldwide adaptation (2007: 1149) as a strategy to mitigate the economic and other implications of climate change. Specifically, changes need to occur in processes, perceptions, practices and functions, to be implemented at the institutional level and communicated throughout the globe towards the individual level. In terms of the economy, the costs of such implementations are significant. However, if measured against the long-term effects, these are far less than the cost of increasing mitigating measures and political conflicts.


In order to mitigate the impending and escalating environmental disasters humanity faces, it is vital to recognize the fundamental integration of the environment with political and economic issues. It is impossible to separate the environment, politics and security in the current climate. Whereas the ozone problem was managed successfully without involving security issues and without making it a security concern in itself, this is simply not possible any longer.

The environment necessarily involves politics and security. More than ever before, political leaders are becoming aware of the importance of the environment. As such, political leaders have a variety of motives for involving themselves in environmental concerns. One of the most common is power in the public eye. Indeed, the environment has to a great extent replaced "kissing babies" as a means of winning public favor in elections. Inherently, the danger of such an approach towards the environment lies in its fundamental insincerity. The greatest danger is in promising change and not effecting any. The danger has become far greater than it has been in the past: not effecting promised environmental change can result in the end of the human race.

To conclude, it has been mentioned above that environmental issues can no longer be separated from politics, security, or the economy. It has become essential to follow an integrated approach both in investigating and mitigating the most pressing issues. Rather than pointing fingers, it has become important to cooperate on a global level. As such, the conclusions from the above information can be summarized in two main points: integration in terms of the issues, and cooperation in terms of various sectors of society on a global scale.

In terms of the first, environmental issues have become security issues. Whether this is so can no longer be debated. However, it is equally impossible to say whether the security or economic issues should enjoy greater precedence. These are equally integrated with the environmental issue. A healthy environment means a healthy economy, which results in greater security. The environment should therefore be seen in the light of both security and the economy; with all available resources directed towards sustainability. Security should therefore be placed on the environment agenda, rather than perhaps the other way around. All related issues should enjoy equal attention to attain optimal success in ensuring sustainability.…[continue]

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