Environmental Security

The term environmental security suggests that environmental problems should be addressed as threats to human or national security. This can and has taken a number of very different forms, and as such there is no single, indubitable meaning of environmental security. It could include, for example, everything from environmentalists employing security rhetoric to draw attention to their political agendas to post–Cold War security officials appropriating new threats to justify exorbitant defense budgets. What an environmentally secure community, state, or world might look like is also debatable. This entry summarizes the ways in which scholars and institutions have conceptualized environmental security and examines debates and dividing points within the literature.

The current literature on environmental security mushroomed in the early 1990s, although the literature on environmental security ...

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