Think Piece 1

How we talk about and study environmental security is largely based on how we define it and what we believe is to be the major conflict and consequence. An interesting argument came up on whether environmental threats should be acknowledged as life threatening natural disasters instead of a national security. I agree with Floyd’s response that this could potentially lead to a shift in political significance of environmental threats.  The reading for this week set the stage for the types of topics we will be further exploring in the chapters ahead. Floyd’s and Matthews introduced the history of the implications that environmental change has on the state of a nation and its people as well as the threats it poses to the future. I was introduced to several disciplines that I never thought existed, such as a political ecologist.

Chapter one spoke about environmental security using a more scholarly approach. Floyd introduced important questions that all seemed to challenge each other. For example, a question was posed in chapter 1 on if resource scarcity would lead to a violent environmental conflict and if scholars should study security based on its connection to violence or human. I found this to be the most interesting part of this week’s reading and I am curious to see what people have to see on this subject. I should mention that I strongly believe that the biggest threat to a nation is the violence that will occur because of climate change associated resource disparity. I think that the views of a human security scholar are fairly limited and needs to work alongside the ideas presented with the political ecologist (of course, that is easier said than done). However, the debates and questions that scholars face seem to be unanswerable and could lead to several tangents. I agree that a helpful way to ease these debates would be for the scholar to state what the research lacks and what its sole purpose is. Chapter two went on to focus on research projects and their definition of an independent variable. Although I did not enjoy this chapter as much as the first, I found that the figures helped me to gain a better understanding of the text.

If I were to write a research paper on the themes and topics discussed in this week’s reading, I would focus on the role that food (a resource that will become scarce and is scarce in many places already) has on the security of a nation and its people. My argument would be that food scarcity is linked to environmental change poses a direct threat to the welfare and the security of humans.

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