Think piece #1

Whilst reading this week’s material, I was struck by the lack of continuity between the various scholars. Although this is clearly not meant to be a textbook written by one or two authors, I struggled to find the common ground on which Environmental Security Studies (ESS) can be based upon. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of ESS as an academic discipline, there seemed to be a lack of consensus surrounding what the study of ESS should prioritise and what it is supposed to entail. However, this makes it an exciting field to explore and one that is constantly evolving in a rapid manner.

The lack of common unity was addressed by Rita Floyd in chapter 1. The creation of a framework that identifies and organizes the elements of ESS as an academic discipline so that they can be sorted into different areas of focus is necessary for scholars to comprehend the four central debates surrounding ESS. I believe that the interdisciplinary nature of the subject was emphasized in order to point out that the field is not static and, like in international relations and other academic subjects, there are many schools of thought that make up ESS although they may not have yet been defined.

It is in the following chapters that we see how the study of security and the environment can be approached in different ways, depending on the perspective that a researcher analyses the material. Deligiannis argues that the qualitative research within the field often clear links that explain why independent variables such as societal issues and the dependent variable of climate change are linked. According to Deligiannis, scholars fail to provide accurate models to study complex issues such as environmental security, which is something that I do agree with – in many ways, researchers often analyze environmental security issues in a bivariate manner, which contradicts the interdisciplinary nature of the field but also the ignores the multiple causes of the problems found within environmental security. On the other hand, De Soysa employs the usage of quantitative data to explain how underdevelopment and human insecurity are linked. De Soysa provides a convincing argument to show how the resource curse has led to environmental security issues, such as scarcity. The links from the hypothesis to the conclusion are clear although they are somewhat idealistic and overly simplified.

I would be interested in exploring the differences between critical epistemology and positive causal studies. In order to guarantee a more secure environment, I think that it is necessary to find the cause behind environmental degradation, thus the theory must be applied to practice.

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