Security as an element in environmental assessment and decision making
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science / Centre for Security Research
The prominence of global warming as an environmental issue has illustrated the close relationship between natural resources, ecosystems and global security. Whilst environmental decision making often uses techniques such as economic valuation and risk management, the security component is often not considered, at least not from a security analyst’s perspective. Yet environmental security considerations can be global, regional and/or national in impact. Environmental change and policy can effect human health and well being as well as initiating conflict; it can affect the existence of life itself. These aspects are firmly in the domain of the security discipline although the protection of the global ecosystem has not traditionally been considered by those who create security policy. The idea of environmental/ecological security ranges from the eco-centric approach which examines the impact of human activities that impact on the security of the natural systems to the more traditional anthropocentric perspectives that look at varied issues such as conflict caused by natural resource competition and environmental degradation, and the greening of military operations. This paper will assert that the inclusion of the security factor in policy creation and environmental assessments is essential to give richer solutions to these complex socio-economic and ecological situations. Systems theory over the last few decades has emphasised the inclusion of as many perspectives on messy problems as possible to provide truly systemic outcomes. It is posited that the addition of such concepts as threat analyses will produce more effective and sustainable outcomes.