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Environmental and Global Security

Introduction

The past two centuries have been characterized by increased cases of deforestation, pollution, and destruction of the ozone layer. Within the same period, several challenges have been recorded at the global level. Some of them include changing climatic conditions and global warming. Many scholars have predicted that the global community might encounter additional predicaments unless something is done. On top of the changes in weather patterns, the issue of insecurity remains problematic at the global level. The connection between climatic change and security remains is quite alarming since each the two has the potential to contribute to each other. This essay applies the climate change theory to argue that environmental security our biggest global challenge for security today.

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Background

Human beings have examined the concept of climate change from different perspectives to explain how it remains a major problem today. Modern scholars have been focusing on the available evidence to present a strong theory for analyzing the trends recorded at the global level. For instance, Huntjens and Nachbar (2015) indicate that the average global temperatures have been on the rise. La Shier and Stanish (2019) argue that Planet earth has become hotter by more than 1.4 0F within the past a hundred years. Experts also project that the temperatures could increase much further for the next century (Ng et al., 2017). Scientists have been relying on the available evidence to formulate a powerful theory for explaining most of the recorded trends. Cases of floods, intense downpours, and droughts have been recorded in different parts of the world. Heat waves are also due to the changes in global temperatures. With the oceans becoming acidic and warmers and ice melting in Polar Regions, the global sea levels have been rising steadily. Most of these trends and the problems they cause might become more common within the next five decades. All these indicators and developments pose a major challenge to the wider society. The natural environment is also at a threat of increased destruction.

Human activities and industrialization trends have triggered most of these problems. Without a sustainable solution, chances are high that the world will become more chaotic as more people will begin to fight for limited resources, such as land, water, and grazing grounds. All these issues present a strong case for climate change as a superior theory for monitoring the trends revolving around the nature and sustainability of the natural environment. Countries and societies have failed to implement proper mechanisms for managing resources while promoting the highest level of integrity (von Uexkull & Buhaug, 2021). A proper understanding of these issues can form the basis or background for learning more about the possible future of the natural environment, human security, political developments, and economic performance.

Global Challenge for Security

The past centuries have been characterized by different events and changes that are directly linked to environmental sustainability. For instance, global population has been increasing steadily in the recent past. The wave of globalization is also compelling people to transform their production and consumptions trends in different parts of the world. The Internet era is making it possible for more people to migrate in search of greener pastures, resources, and economic goals (Scheffran & Battaglini, 2011). Some people have been keen to identify better strategies for dealing with most of the unprecedented economic trends, such as deforestation and expansion of deserts. Different populations continue to encounter numerous challenges due to these developments, such as poverty.

The increasing levels of climatic change and global warming have contributed to numerous problems. For example Adger et al. (2015) indicates that such problems have resulted in the destruction of social and economic systems. Consequently, individuals have been forced to migrate to other regions in an effort to deal with the recorded environmental risks and challenges. Adger et al. (2015) also asserts that worsening climate patterns encourage individuals to move to other regions whereby they can avoid some of the calamities, such as natural disasters, floods, and desertification. Such individuals would be keen to identify areas where they can better their livelihoods. While such trends remain the case, these human movements have the potential to trigger conflicts in different regions. For example, some of the people migrating from one region to another might collide and engage in unnecessary conflicts (Trombetta, 2008). These developments would be expected in areas whereby immigrants might be in search for settlement and grazing lands. Some of these conflicts might be deadly and result in the loss of lives.

In some cases, climatic change has the potential to trigger various calamities that could have far-reaching impacts on human life. Some of them include natural disasters and floods. When these problems are recorded, humans might be unable to relocate under such conditions. Consequently, the affected individuals might be unable to migrate from one place to another. When floods or droughts occur, the affected populations might start to compete for the reducing resources, such as food (La Shier & Stanish, 2019). The level of chaos and conflicts might increase significantly within the next few years. With these developments, chances are high that the global community might encounter ethnic clashes, unrests, and communal challenges that might have significant implications for the overall level of global security.

In his article, Barnet (2003) uses the example of Bangladesh to describe the unique relationship between climatic change and the rising sea levels. In this country, Barnet (2003) reveals that around 10.9 percent of its territory has been most. Such a trend means that more countries bordering various oceans and seas stand a chance to lose useful land. The end result is that more people will eventually become displaced and incapable of pursuing their social and economic goals (Swain, 2015). Some small islands in different parts of the world might be submerged and eventually affect most of the people and aquatic species. Individuals living in the affected regions will be compelled to identify new ways for searching for food, thereby increasing chances of possible conflicts.

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These developments show conclusively that more communities in different parts of the world would encounter numerous challenges as the focus on the best ways to lead quality lives. When clashes over scarce resources occur, security organs and professionals in peacekeeping tend to be involved in an effort to find long-lasting solutions. Failure to offer the relevant interventions means that more lives will be threatened or at risk (Scheffran & Battaglini, 2011). These attributes show conclusively that the problem of climate change is directly linked to global insecurity that should be addressed from an evidence-based perspective.

The application of climate theory on peace and security matters is a strategy that has presented unique ideas regarding the possible challenges human beings might encounter in the near future. For instance, Barnett (2007) indicates that environmental change is a process that has led to significant violence in different parts of the world. When more people lead insecure lives, chances are high that they will engage in actions that do not support the integrity of the natural environment. They will not be in a position to engage in activities that might result in the sustainability of the surrounding environment (Kenney, 2017). Violent confrontations tend to become the norm in regions characterized by limited natural resources. This reality shows conclusively that climate change has, without doubt, become one of the greatest sources of insecurity at the international level.

At the global level, countries and states have in the past found themselves entangled in conflicts over regions that are associated with various resources. For example, many countries have been fighting over sea territories and areas with priced natural resources. The economic models promoted in various nations are designed in such a way that they make it possible for them to pursue their goals (Zhou, 2017). The global community has also been on the frontline to engage in actions that have the potential to promote environmental sustainability. Most of the leaders understand that failure to address this predicament will result in the loss of resources and livelihoods. The possible outcome is that most of the citizens living in the affected regions will be unable to lead high-quality lives (Biswas, 2011). Demographic displacements and destabilization of social and political systems might ensure. For shared resources, such as rivers, countries and individuals across borders might experience political tensions that might eventually result in wars.

In the developing world, climatic trends have been associated with the loss of habitats and distortion of agricultural practices. The affected individuals find it hard to support themselves or improve their living conditions. Kumssa and Jones (2010) indicate that some of these developments could explain how human beings migrate from one place to another. Additionally, some countries are associated with reduced labor supply, thereby triggering the need to allow immigrants to find new opportunities. A detailed analysis on environmental refugees fits within this trend of global labor supply (Ferris, 2020). In some scenarios, cases of insecurity emerge in the receiving regions due to the exploding population pressure, cultural dynamics, and sustainability questions. Many professionals have been keen to identify superior measures to prevent these changes and ensure that security issues do not become a major challenge.

The United Nations (UN) has been on the frontline to engage in actions and support initiatives that have the potential to support underprivileged populations in different parts of the world. Food security has topped the list for the UN and other humanitarian aid organizations. Most of these bodies have identified environmental concerns as one of the contributing forces behind food insecurity (Busby, 2016). Without proper mechanisms to promote the sustainability of the natural environment, chances are high that more regions will not be able to produce adequate food (Scheffran & Battaglini, 2011). Consequently, these developments will become a strong catalyst for possible conflicts and challenges at the global level. Different regions across the globe have witnessed some of these issues, including floods in North Africa and waster insecurity in different parts of Latin America and Asia. For the Middle East, water remains a major source of conflict that affects the experiences and lives of more people. The nature of these conflicts is directly linked to the problem of food insecurity.

In New Zealand, new challenges have emerged that have the potential to disorient the country’s future. For instance, Rashid et al. (2011) indicate that new disrupters have emerged that pose a huge threat to the sustainability of the natural environment. Some of themes include biohazards and climate change. Most of the biological hazards are currently affecting animal and human health. Some regions have recorded bio-security threats that might eventually affect the security of the global society. Just like most of the countries across the globe, the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as the best argument for the existing relationship between climate change and global insecurity. The government of New Zealand is considering additional roles for the Defense to support the 4Rs (Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery) model (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2020). Some experts in New Zealand propose a Defense approach that is capable of analyzing the level of strategic environment and how it relates to biological hazards and how they can help advance this country’s security and that of the Pacific region” (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2020, p. 1). These concerns show conclusively that future debates and policies focusing on the issue of security should not ignore the subject of the environment.

Climate change theory presents a unique relationship between forest fires and security. The government of New Zealand is engaging in an ongoing analysis that is intended to appreciate the possible implications of climate change on security and defense. In the recent past, this country has experienced numerous cases of forests fire events. Within the subset of climate change, such events are associated with increasing security concerns. With more fire days expected in the coming years, the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) has revealed that fire outbreaks will definitely have significant social, cultural, economic, and environmental implications (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2021). The country’s bio-diversity and economy might be threatened unless proper mechanisms are put in place. Consequently, FENZ is on the frontline to develop a model for responding to increasing fire outbreaks while promoting sustainable measures that resonate with the wider security and defense implications.

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The climatic risks recorded in New Zealand have been directly linked to social and environmental consequences. Within the wider Pacific region, similar issues have emerged whereby more people are facing adverse effects than ever before. Cases of fire outbreaks and destruction of natural habitats continue to pose numerous risks. With such security implications, the New Zealand Government efforts on climate change have empowered the Ministry of Defense and the New Zealand Defense Force to implement a proactive strategy in an effort to label climate change as a major security challenge. This effort has led to the Defense Capability Plan of 2019 which is intended to monitor and help mitigate the humanitarian crises emerging from climate change (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2019). The initiatives will also help promote search-rescue operations, and provide relief when disasters strike. The anticipated efforts have the potential to result in improved ambitions and present superior initiatives for addressing most of the security-related issues and challenges that the country and its neighbors in the wider Pacific Region might experience in the coming years.

In the report titled “The Climate Crisis: Defence Readiness and Responsibilities”, the reader observes that “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.50C and increase further with 20C” (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2018, p. 4). In the next few decades, it is agreeable that the trends of climate change will pose some of the greatest challenges and test the country’s resilience and security. The recorded temperature changes will eventually trigger unprecedented weather patterns. The possible outcomes is that water shortages, public health concerns, and food insecurities will increase while natural resources will become scarce (Mitchell & Carpenter, 2019). These developments might challenge the overall preparedness and ability of the country’s defense to respond to all security threats and developments. With proper mechanisms and efforts in place, chances are high that the country will have an operational security plan that factors all environmental trends while presenting a new opportunity for supporting the lives of more people.

From these examples and analyses, it is agreeable that the effects of climate change will continue to e experienced in different parts of the wider Pacific Region. This scenario presents a strong case for focusing on stability while engaging various institutions and organizations to commit themselves to the issue of security (New Zealand Ministry of Defence, 2018). The experienced environmental patterns would also mean that the available resources will be stretched much further while compelling the government to minimize readiness for most of the other security requirements or areas. For instance, the loss of water and food resources while trigger resource competition and scarcity. The possible security implications could include health crises, land disputes, and violence related to migration (Meduna, 2015). Those in leadership positions should, therefore, be in a position to account for the outlined security impacts of environmental degradation and climatic change. The subsequent insights and evidence would become the best tools for proper operational planning and reduction of some of the possible predicaments that the global society stands to encounter in the near future.

For New Zealand’s Defense, it will be necessary for the relevant agencies to focus on security-related actions that revolve around the direct impacts of climate change. As the nation continues to experience increased intensities and frequencies of adverse weather events, more people will be in need of more help, rescue, and support than ever before (Baysal & Karakaş, 2017). The relevant professionals should go further to identify emerging opportunities and initiatives to support climate change and security measures while mitigating the current level of insecurity. These measures will work effectively towards mitigating the recorded challenges and take more communities closer to their goals.

Conclusion

The above analysis has revealed that climate change is presently one of the security concerns that governments and global organizations should start to take seriously. The environmental problems experienced in New Zealand and other parts of the world are largely contributions to regional tensions, wars, and conflicts over scarce resources. Forest fires, water shortages, and poverty are some of the real issues associated with the problem of climate change. These challenges explain why New Zealand and other governments need to develop superior models for effective mitigation and take more global citizens to their goals while promoting the concept of posterity.

References

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Barnett, J. (2003). Security and climate change. Global Environmental Change, 13(1), 7-17. Web.

Barnett, J. (2007). Environmental security and peace. Journal of Human Security, 3(1), 4-16. Web.

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Baysal, B., & Karakaş, U. (2017). Climate change and security: Different perceptions, different approaches. Uluslararası İlişkiler, 14(54), 21-44. Web.

Biswas, N. R. (2011). Is the environment a security threat? Environmental security beyond securitization. International Affairs Review, 20(1), 1-22.

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Swain, A. (2015). Climate change: Threat to national security. In D. A. Bearfield & M. J. Dubnick (Eds.), Encyclopedia of public administration and public policy (3rd ed.) (pp. 577-580). CRC Press.

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