Security and Environmental Change / Edition 1

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In the early years of the new millennium, hurricanes lashed the Caribbean and flooded New Orleans, as heat waves and floods seemed to alternate in Europe. Snows were disappearing on Mount Kilimanjaro while the ice caps on both poles retreated. The resulting disruption caused to many societies and the potential for destabilizing international migration has meant that the environment has become a political priority. The scale of environmental change caused by globalization is now so large that security has to be understood as an ecological process. A new geopolitics is long overdue.

Simon Dalby provides an accessible and engaging account of the challenges we face in responding to environmental change. He traces the historical roots of current concerns about security and climate change and outlines modern thinking, using the politics of invoking threats as a central part of the analysis. To understand climate change and the dislocations of global ecology, he argues, it is necessary to look back at how ecological change is tied to the expansion of the world economic system. As the global urban system changes on a local and global scale, the world's population becomes vulnerable in new ways. Dalby shows that theories of human security now require a much more nuanced geopolitical imagination if they are to grapple with these new vulnerabilities and influence how we build more resilient societies. This book will appeal to students and scholars of geography, environmental studies, security studies, and international politics, and to anyone concerned with contemporary globalization and its transformation of the biosphere.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Through his profound knowledge of the environment and critical understanding of traditional approaches to security, Dalby provides an impressive account of the 'defining challenge of our time'."
Political Studies Review

"A must-read for anyone interested in the security and environmental change relationship."
International Affairs

"(An) outstanding and original book. Dalby's message about sustainable security needs to be read widely in universities, and by activists and practitioners."
Times Higher Education

"Our competitive, hyperconsuming, and carbon-fuelled world is unfair and unsustainable. Bringing together geopolitics, ethics and earth sciences, Simon Dalby offers one of the best essays for rethinking security in the Anthropocene, this new human-made geological age. If the deadliness of past revolutions seeking to bring about a 'new man' calls for caution, security in the Anthropocene needs, literally, new ways of being human in our fast changing biosphere."
Philippe Le Billon, University of British Columbia and author of 'Fuelling War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts'

"Simon Dalby has written a comprehensive and politically sensitive analysis of environmental security today. It takes the reader well beyond simply mapping how the environment is related to security questions, and whether securitizing the environment is politically desirable. The book makes a strong case for rethinking both the meaning of security in light of the human impact on ecology and the sustainability of modern distinctions between culture and nature, urban and rural, and science and politics. It is a most original and provocative read.
Jef Huysmans, The Open University

"Simon Dalby combines rigour and originality with impressive knowledge of ecological systems and a critical understanding of traditional approaches to security. The end result is an integrated analysis of the human predicament in an age of rapid environmental change. Security and Environmental Change is a seminal contribution to the development of the concept of sustainable security."
Paul Rogers, University of Bradford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745642918
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/31/2009
  • Series: Dimensions of Security Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Dalby, Professor, Carleton University, Canada

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Abbreviations viii

Introduction: Change, Ecology, and Security 1

1 Environmental Fears: From Thomas Malthus to Ecological "Collapse" 13

2 Securing Precisely What? Global, Environmental, and Human Security 36

3 Environmental History: Conquest, Colonization, Famines, and El NiƱo 56

4 Global Change and Earth-System Science 78

5 Glurbanization and Vulnerability in the Anthropocene 105

6 Geopolitics and Ecological Security 129

Conclusion: Anthropocene Security 159

References 173

Index 193

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