Environmental problems have become one of the most acute at the beginning of the 21st century. By consuming natural resources more and more intensively with the help of enormously increasing technical means, humanity has immeasurably improved the conditions for the development of its civilization. However, human intervention in all spheres of nature causes a sharp deterioration of ecological systems, often even the death of unique natural complexes. Humanity is already in such a period of development that ensuring its environmental safety becomes even more important than further progress. That is why it is vital to analyze the main risks and threats posed to human ecological security, such as natural disasters and human activity, as well as discuss possible solutions to this crucial problem.
The Concept of Environmental Security
Environmental security is usually defined as the state of a persons protection from the impact of adverse environmental factors. Initially (around the middle of the twentieth century), the main ecological threat to humanity was considered to be the depletion of . The principal limitation of natural resources has led to the emergence of ideas related to their rational use, the creation of , and artificial regulation of the world population. After a few decades, the focus of environmental security began to shift towards the preservation of environmentally friendly human conditions of existence. The current concept of environmental safety includes both aspects: rational use of natural resources and the prevention of ecological catastrophe on a global scale.
Sean Kay, in the book Global Security in the Twenty-First Century, provides an analysis of contemporary security dilemmas throughout the world. He discusses different elements contributing to human security, such as human rights, population, health, environment, and energy. Considering environmental security, the author states that environmental conditions can have a major impact on economic development, shaping security needs and requirements (Kay 331). The scholar also analyses several conceptual approaches and examines some specific threats.
The book Environmental Security: An Introduction by Hough provides a systematic and thorough overview of all dimensions of environmental security. The author touches upon the main theoretical and practical arguments for and against combining environmental and security issues. Furthermore, he discusses why environmental security issues have become a part of the national security concept in terms of overpopulation, resource depletion, and climate change (Hough 11). At the end of the book, the author claims the need to consider environmental issues as an integral component of human security.
Benassi, Gupta, and Pollmann consider different ways to deepen the debate on the connections between global risks and human and environmental security. The approach described in their book is one of examining the ability of existing technologies and decision-making mechanisms to effectively deal with emerging risks to human environmental security and manage their ramifications. The authors address the ways how global risks, especially environmental and climate change, may worsen threats to human and environmental security, especially in developing countries (. 387). The book provides the findings of empirical research carried out in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
Hobson, Bacon, and Cameron present another point of view on environmental security. Their book is focused on the threats posed to humanity by natural disasters, refining the human security approach. The scholars state that natural disasters produce environmental insecurity and compound human vulnerability, but it is important to recognize other environmental problems they can trigger (Hobson et al. 15). They , which are more endangered, because there a natural disaster may lead to a technological catastrophe. That is why the book addresses several case studies, including the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2011 disasters in Japan.