Seminar 7: Sustainability and Borders

Tuesday, January 15, 4:00-6:00 pm, Clearihue B007 or remotely

Humanity has been scaling up its niche, changing the climate and the species mix around the world since the end of the last ice age generating a new geological epoch of the Anthropocene. The global scale of human activities is now pressing against the planetary boundaries that constitute the conditions that have allowed humanity to flourish over the last ten thousand years. Rapid changes in the earth system mean that old assumptions of stable borders as the basis of sovereignty have to be reconsidered. Ironically the current phase of globalization is re-bordering many things, extending property and jurisdictions in numerous new ways that may prevent effective adaptation to climate change. Securing the fossil fuel economy remains a policy priority, and with this goes a politics of trying to cope with global scale disasters. All of which makes sustainability more difficult as geopolitical rivalries shape contemporary global policy. The Anthropocene has to be understood as the new context for sustainability policy in the latest phase of globalization.

Simon Dalby is a Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His published research deals with climate change, environmental security and geopolitics.
He is co-editor of Rethinking Geopolitics (Routledge 1998), The Geopolitics Reader (Routledge 1998, 2006), Reframing Climate Change (Routledge 2016) and author of Creating the Second Cold War (Pinter and Guilford, 1990/Bloomsbury 2016), Environmental Security (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Security and Environmental Change (Polity, 2009).


  • J. Kurowska-Pysz and K. Szczepańska-Woszczyna, The Analysis of the Determinants of Sustainable Cross-Border Cooperation and Recommendations on Its Harmonization, Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2226
  • A. L. Woodsworth, Cross-border citizen action: Protecting the Salish Sea from the risks of fossil fuel transport. Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, 8, 2017
  • S. Dalby, ‘Firepower’ and Environmental Security in the Anthropocene, E-International Relations, 2018
  • S. Dalby, The geopolitics of climate change, Political Geography, Volume 37, November 2013, pp.38-47

Researcher: Simon Dalby is a CIGI senior fellow and professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) in Waterloo, where he teaches courses on governance, security and environment in the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Currently, Simon is involved as the lead on the theme of sustainability for a major funded research project studying globalization and borders. His ongoing active research interests include climate discourse in contemporary geopolitics, looking at popular representations of climate change and the strategies used in a range of media, as well as the burgeoning debate about the Anthropocene epoch and its implications for politics and policy formulation.

Please email borders[at]uvic[dot]ca to register.