Climate Change, Security and Sustainability
Simon Dalby, Susan Horton, Rianne Mahon, Diana Thomaz | Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Global Governance Challenges | 2019
Violent conflict continues to plague many parts of the developing world, with mostly deleterious consequences for peoples and places where violence occurs. The complex relationships between organized violence and sustainable development affect the ability of states and other agencies to accomplish many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular the discussion about Goal 13 on climate change now intersects with Northern security fears and policy responses that are sometimes seriously at odds with local drivers of environmental change. Contemporary analyses warn of “backdraft” effects if inappropriate policies aggravate rather than ameliorate conflict. Unravelling these complex interconnections is one key to the effective implementation of the SDGs agenda, one that is increasingly urgent as climate change accelerates, and appropriate policies are needed to deal with context-specific disruptions in many diverse places.
Dalby, Simon., Susan Horton, Rianne Mahon and Diana Thomaz. “Climate Change, Security and Sustainability.” Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Global Governance Challenges. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2019.
Special Issue: Confronting Borders in the Arctic
Journal of Borderland Studies | Volume 33, Issue 2 | 2018
In this thematic issue, six papers and three short commentaries investigate the evolving nature of borders in the Arctic in an era of climate change and globalization. Together, they illustrate how processes unique to the Arctic, such as sea ice melt and Inuit self-governance, tell a larger story about the co-evolving relationship of people and the environment, and the physical and constructed borders that give them meaning. Arctic human–environment relations are embedded in distinct histories and materialities in which border-making is understood as a multi-scalar arena of subnational and transnational actors, rather than the exclusive domain of the state. At the same time, the Arctic is shaped by powerful agents of change whose impacts span national borders and reconfigure environmental barriers. The papers in this issue reveal the ways in which Arctic climatic, political, economic, and demographic change amount to a transformation in thinking about Arctic borders and bordered spaces. We hope that the Arctic case will stimulate further investigation in borderlands around the world undergoing similarly transformative changes to physical and human systems.
Read the full issue here: Journal of Borderlands Studies Special Issue: The Arctic: Vol 33 No 2: Spring 2018
Confronting Borders in the Arctic by Scott Stephenson
Global Arctic by Klaus Dodds
Finding the Global Arctic by Jessica Shadian
The “Global Arctic” as a New Geopolitical Context and Method by Lassi Heininen and Matthias Finger
Navigating Political Borders Old and New: The Territoriality of Indigenous Inuit Governance by Jessica Shadian
(Un)frozen Spaces: Exploring the Role of Sea Ice in the Marine Socio-legal Spaces of the Bering and Beaufort Seas by Kristen Shake, Karen Frey, Deborah Martin, Philip Steinberg
Rescaling Borders of Investment: The Arctic Council and the Economic Development Policies by Heather Nicol
Drawing Boundaries in the Beaufort Sea: Different Visions/Different Needs by Rob Huebert
“Anthropocene Formations: Environmental Security, Geopolitics and Disaster.”
Simon Dalby | Theory, Culture & Society | 2017
The discussion of the Anthropocene makes it clear that contemporary social thought can no longer take nature, or an external ‘environment’, for granted in political discussion. Humanity is remaking its own context very rapidly, not only in the processes of urbanization but also in the larger context of global biophysical transformations that provide various forms of insecurity. Disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns and potentially disastrous plans to geoengineer the climate in coming decades highlight that the human environment is being remade in the Anthropocene. Humanity is now a geological actor, not just a biological one, and that insight, captured in the term Anthropocene, changes understandings of both security and environment in social thought, requiring a focus on production of environments rather than their protection. Disasters help clarify this key point and its significance for considering geosocial formations.
Dalby, Simon. “Anthropocene Formations: Environmental Security, Geopolitics and Disaster.” Theory, Culture & Society 34, no. 2-3 (2017): 233-252.
Marine Management and Governance of the Beaufort Sea: Lessons from the Barents Region
Sara Bourquin | BIG Research Reports | #17
The Beaufort Sea situated off the coast of Alaska and the Yukon presents a unique opportunity for cross-border and regional maritime cooperation, however, due to national differences, a lack of cross border and marine infrastructure as well as complex jurisdictional issues, this has not been possible. A comparative analysis of other regional and international/ bilateral models provides a concrete foundation in determining the best path of governance in the Beaufort Region: The Barents Region shares enough similarities to the Beaufort Region that comparative analyses of its governance structure and cross border dynamics are invaluable. Policy and decision makers from both in the Yukon and Alaska would benefit from pushing for further comparative studies and longer-term research projects of the models presented in this paper.
Transborder Water Governance in the Pacific Northwest: The Case of Point Roberts Washington
Michael K. Lang | BIG Research Reports | #27
Point Roberts, Washington occupies an interesting space in transboundary relations between Canada and the United States. Located in the Northwest corner of Washington State, Point Roberts has no physical connection to the U.S, and must be reached by crossing two international borders when travelling over land (see Figure 1). This particular geographical identity requires an ongoing relationship between Canada and its Southern neighbour, as certain challenges that accompany life in Point Roberts require complex cooperation. Perhaps most significant is the transborder water transfer agreement that exists in the region. Point Roberts purchases its fresh water from the City of Vancouver, Canada, supported by a relatively unique and challenging transboundary relationship spanning nearly three decades (Minghi 2010).
Michael K. Lang
Environmental Refugees: Truth or Myth?
Andrada Mihai | BIG Research Reports | #30
‘Environmental refugees’ is a term used by academics, journalists and activists to refer to those individuals who were forced to relocate or migrate due to the damage that the environment has caused on their livelihoods. However, there are important international actors, such as the UNHCR, that disagree with the use of the term environmental refugee insofar as going to initially deny their existence. If a prominent organization such as the UNHCR has refused to accept this term, is it because it is justified in believing that such a phenomenon doesn’t exist? How do other international actors, such as the EU, a global leader in promoting environmental protection react to this issue? This paper will analyze the issue of environmental degradation and how it drives migration, as well as how it plays into the context of security, a very important issue in today’s global political field. Finally, it will explore the global response to environmentally displaced individuals, especially the response of International Organizations and States.
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC)
Edda Mutter | BIG Research Reports | #32
Columbia River Treaty and Governance Innovation
Jesse Baltutis | BIG Research Reports | #38
The Columbia River Treaty offers a relevant and timely point of focus for research on governance innovation in transboundary water basins. A paper for the Borders in Globalization (BIG) thematic area of ‘governance’ would explore water governance in the Columbia River Basin from a ‘then’ and ‘now’ perspective. This approach would examine the evolution of water governance in the basin, from a traditionally state-centric perspective to one that is increasingly – though perhaps incrementally – multi-level, and explore how governance is being re-thought in recognition of the instability of climate change. The social and ecological impacts of climate change on freshwater resources – especially those that cross an international boundary – is a topic of increasing interest to scholars concerned with transboundary water governance challenges.