Throughout the world, conflicts over environmental issues abound. As technology progresses and our world continues to become more interconnected, an understanding of the worldâs environmental crises is important and necessary for the well-being of both humankind and the environment. This paper addresses and comments on the issues presented in the following books: Ecology of an African Rain Forest by Thomas T. Struhsaker, Green Guerillas edited by Helen Collinson, NIMBY Politics in Japan by S.Hayden Lesbirel, Where Environmental Concerns and Security Strategies Meet by James A. Winnefeld and Mary E. Morris, and Innovations in International Environmental Negotiation edited by Lawrence E. Susskind, William Moomaw and Teresa L. Hill. Innovations in International Environmental Negotiation has not been given a specific section for discussion, but is referenced in the section covering Where Environmental Concerns and Security Strategies Meet.
Where Environmental Concerns and Security Strategies Meet
This book is interesting in the way that it draws a particularly strong link between political (domestic and international) conflict and environmental crises. The authors chose to focus on environmental crises and conflicts in the Middle East and in East Asia, but the concepts discussed could easily be applied to political conflicts with underlying environmental crises worldwide. In traditional methods of security strategy policymaking, environmental issues are often given little thought and are directed to separate governmental departments. However, the authors propose that not only do environmental crises often increase the risk of political conflicts, but they can also worsen the conflict itself as well as the outcomes and damage incurred by the conflict. Instead of governments and policy makers focusing solely on the economic and political aspects of their security strategy planning, these types of people may also need to be educated and informed about the current environmental issues in their region(s) and the possible implications of any environmental crises. As the authors point out:
The national security analyst focuses more on the mid and short term, and, looking around, sees few conflicts in todayâs world that are the result of environmental damage. The environmental analyst takes a longer view and asserts that todayâs environmental damage nearly guarantees future conflict. The two communities are starting to come closer together because the accelerated pace of environmental damage has moved the security fallout from that damage from the long term to the mid and short term (Winnefeld 1994, p.1).
In regards to the Middle East, it appears that much of the long-standing conflict in the region is linked both directly and indirectly to water supplies. Since water is a vital part of life, it would make sense that this is a leading reason that political conflicts in the Middle East are old and seemingly intractable. The debate over water stems...