Human Security and the Environment

Human Security and the Environment

International Comparisons

Edited by Edward A. Page and Michael Redclift

In the post-Cold War era, the pre-eminent threats to our security derive from human degradation of vital ecosystems as well as the possibility of war and terrorist attack. This substantial book examines this new ‘security-environment’ paradigm and the way in which the activities of societies are shifting the balance with nature. The distinguished authors investigate this redefinition of security with particular reference to environmental threats such as climate change and the availability of adequate supplies of food and water. They illustrate how unfettered economic growth, rising levels of personal consumption and unsustainable natural resource and energy procurement are taking a heavy toll on the global environment.

Chapter 11: The Semantics of ‘Human Security’ in North–West Amazonia: Between Indigenous Peoples’ ‘Management of the World’ and the USA’s State Security Policy for Latin America

Oscar Forero and Graham Woodgate

Subjects: environment, environmental geography, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy

Extract

11. The semantics of ‘human security’ in North-west Amazonia: between indigenous peoples’ ‘management of the world’ and the USA’s state security policy for Latin America1 Oscar Forero and Graham Woodgate 1 ‘HUMAN SECURITY’: SECURITY FOR WHOM? Previous chapters in this book have clearly demonstrated that ‘security’ is a contested concept. A variety of political actors seek to legitimise policy and practice in the name of national or human security. They have found support among a diverse audience of governments and NGOs seeking to defend human and/or environmental rights that, not coincidentally, aim to guarantee some form of security. In response to national and international policy, various social movements and actor networks have developed counterdiscourses to support grassroots activists in their struggles to win political reform. On 1 October 1995, the French government detonated an underground nuclear device at their Mururoa Atoll test site in the Pacific Ocean. The event was justified as a necessary component in the development of the French national security system, which was perceived to be too dependent on NATO capabilities. Environmentalists claimed that the risks associated with nuclear explosions under the Mururoa Atoll were too high and that testing should be abandoned. Greenpeace activists attempting to disrupt the test were arrested and their ships and helicopter confiscated. As an immediate result of the tests, the Mururoa lagoon turned white as the blast heaved up the ocean floor and loaded the water with sediment. Scientists are divided with respect to the long-term effects, but...

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