Edited by Edward A. Page and Michael Redclift
Introduction: Human Security and the Environment at the New Millennium
Edward Page and Michael Redclift 1 HUMAN SECURITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY This book examines the meaning of ‘security’ and the ‘environment’ in the post-Cold War era, and the ways in which the activities of human societies are shifting the balance with nature. Throughout the twentieth century, many of the conﬂicts between human societies and the natural environment have reﬂected differences in the capacities and wealth of human societies. In the developed world, ecological movements grew up which expressed concern about the implications for nature of unfettered economic growth. Rising levels of personal consumption, and unsustainable systems of natural resource and energy procurement, were taking a heavy toll on the planet (Redclift, 1996). Awareness of the possible implications of global climate change only served to highlight divisions between the North and the South. In the North, the pursuit of higher living standards was, paradoxically, threatening the quality of life of many people caught up in the momentum of ‘getting and spending’. In the South, countries intent on achieving the beneﬁts of economic development have been faced by contradictory pressures. Increased dependence on fossil fuels, rising living standards and population pressures are serving to exacerbate the ‘forcing’ of world climate change. At the same time, threats to their domestic environments – to tropical forests, vulnerable coastal areas and wetlands – have forced developing countries to re-examine the more immediate environmental security of their own populations. In 1987 the term ‘security’ was still deﬁned solely in terms...