Environmental Security


Can environmental problems lead to security problems? Answers to this question require an understanding of what constitutes security. Security for whom? States? Individuals? This course will primarily review two waves of scholarship on environmental security, the first from the 1990s in which scholars assessed the connections between environmental problems and conflict, and the second from the 2000s on the connections between climate change and security. In the process, the course will review different conceptions of security, from narrow conceptions that focus on environmental change and conflict onset to broader understandings of human security.

Along the way, other side discussions of environmental security will be explored including (1) transboundary rivers and security, (2) environmental peacemaking and (3) the effects of war on the environment. The course will also include some discussion of other contemporary issues including the wildlife poaching crisis and land grabs.

Requirements and Expectations

Course assignments will include a final paper, a grounding exercise related the readings to some news articles, two short writing assignments and class participation.


Readings will be articles and chapters on electronic reserve, roughly 100-150 pages per week.