Environmental Security

The concept of environmental security emerged in the late 1980s with new threats to and from the environment being identified. The environment was often discussed in relation to understandings and interpretations of national security. These days, there are debates about multiple insecurities, related to water, food, energy, ecology and climate, and not limited to traditional notions of national security. There is increasing attention being paid to the linkages between these multiple securities that present complex sets of factors relating to the referent of security, scales at which different insecurities manifest and policy responses.   Defining environmental security remains an elusive task and questions about its relevance can even be posed. Theoretical advances and new methodological thinking are required to probe the aims, means and implications of environmental security.

The purpose of this working group is to explore in an interdisciplinary fashion the evolution of the concept of environmental security and its policy practice. The aim is to uncover the multiple ways in which we can analyse and understand the relationship between the environment and society, framings and discourses of the environment, power relations and governance mechanisms.

Some of the key questions that motivate inquiry are:

How are threats and insecurities identified and framed, and by whom? Who is served by environmental security? By water security, food security, energy security, climate security etc? What are the socio-economic, political and ecological structures and processes that bring about these (real and constructed) threats and insecurities? How do these structures and processes enable or limit responses? What kinds of governance responses are required to deal with complex threats?

For more information please contact Naho Mirumachi: naho.mirumachi@kcl.ac.uk

Dr Naho Mirumachi
Department of Geography,
King’s College London, UK

Dr François Gemenne
Executive Director, Politics of the Earth
Sciences Po – Medialab
FNRS Senior Research Associate
Observatory of Environmental Migration – ULg

Readings with different approaches to environmental security:

Bakker, K. & Morinville, C. (2013) The Governance Dimensions of Water Security: A review. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science. 

Dalby, S. (2015) Climate geopolitics: Securing the global economy. International Politics.

Dalby, S. (2013) Biopolitics and climate security in the Anthropocene. Geoforum

Floyd, R. & Matthew, R.A. (2013) Environmental Security: Approaches and Issues. Routledge

Gemenne, F., Barnett, J., Adger, N., Dabelko, G. (2014) Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda. Climatic Change

Mason, M. & Zeitoun, M. (2013) Questioning environmental security. The Geographical Journal.

Zografos, C., Goulden, M. C., & Kallis, G. (2014). Sources of human insecurity in the face of hydro-climatic change. Global Environmental Change, 29, 327-336.