1 Introduction

Alexander Lautensach and Sabina Lautensach

This introduction contains portions of writings published in the following works: Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (2010) 3(2): 194-210; Australasian Journal of Human Security (2006) 2(3): 5-14; Sustainability (2012) 4(5): 1059-1073; Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, P.G. Harris (ed.) (2012). Further inspiration came from editorials in the Journal of Human Security.

Learning Outcomes & Big Ideas

  • Explain what human security can mean to different people and cultures, based on the history of the concept and an overview of the literature.
  • Apply comprehensive models of human security (such as the four-pillars model) to specific problems in human security and identify particular sources of insecurity.
  • Explain how the Anthropocene is changing interpretations of human security both in theory and in practice.
  • Differentiate between those goals of human security that depend on environmental security and those that do not.
  • Learn to develop a vision and a reasoned perspective on future possibilities for human security.
  • Become aware of the general range of possible futures for human security and evaluate new information in that context; make educated predictions about possible futures in the light of new information.

Summary

This second edition of our textbook of human security marks the 25th anniversary of the official emergence of human security as a guiding concept in world affairs. In contrast, international relations as a discipline is just over a century old, while the concern for human security has probably moved humanity since the dawn of sapience. From the beginning of modern statehood (i.e. 1648) as a guiding concept in sociopolitical affairs, security has been largely discussed within the context of state security. One ongoing challenge for advocates of human security, then, is to extract human security from under the conceptual umbrella of international relations, both within the academy and in public discourse. That has been a prominent goal behind both editions of this textbook. A second major goal arises from the tumultuous changes of 2019/20 that manifested as a worldwide protest movement in favour of making human security more sustainable, and in the first global pandemic that marks humanity’s transition to a sustainable future. This introduction sets the stage for the chapter topics as we briefly survey the history of the human security concept, which will be followed by a discussion of its current challenges and its future. Brief summaries of the chapter topics will be connected into that discussion.

Chapter Overview

1.1       Ontology of the Human Security Concept – Cross-cutting Themes

1.2       Current Challenges – New Questions

1.3       The Future of Human Security

1.4       This Textbook

Resources and References

Key Points

Extension Activities & Further Research

List of Terms

Suggested Reading

References

1.1 Ontology of the Human Security Concept – Cross-cutting Themes

In a rapidly changing world, a quarter century signifies a long time for the development of an idea. During that time human security has morphed into what we regard as a guiding narrative throughout the world. In the early 1990s it became increasingly clear that the end of the cold war would not be accompanied by an end to armed conflict but that instead the nature of violent conflict was changing, away from the traditional interstate wars of the past four centuries towards conflicts within states, fuelled by ethnic, religious or ideological divisions. States no longer seemed to be the only entities whose security mattered. Regions, communities, families and individuals can only feel secure if they have reason to believe that their continued functioning is not going to be threatened at every turn, and the state seemed no longer capable to guarantee that. Moreover, governments increasingly recognised that the security of the state largely depends on the security of its regions, communities, families and individuals, albeit not nearly all of the latter in an equitable fashion; and that financial income by itself constitutes an inadequate measure of that security.[1]

Although those notions came across as unconventional at the time, they were evidenced by the sporadic examples of states failing to fulfil their obligations as security guarantors, to the point where they threatened the security of their own citizens. The most appalling cases cumulated in genocide as exemplified by the Holocaust, the Cambodian killing fields, Rwanda, Syria and a sad long list of others throughout history, dating back long before we had a word for it. At the other end of the spectrum of state power lay examples of states that lost the capacity to assure their citizens’ security, as seen in today’s Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar and another sad long list. In between we see everyday examples of police brutality, government corruption, media censorship and unscrupulous resource grabbing. It became clear that a primary requirement for the security of human beings was not merely the absence of war but the absence of structural, cultural and personal violence (Galtung, 1969), and that the discipline of international relations as a field of endeavour cannot by itself deliver on those challenges. This was of course not a new idea; but somehow the transition out of the Cold War seemed the right time to express it in the form of a new model of security.

The idea of human security emerged centuries ago in the writings of Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau which provided a raison d’être for the modern state as its prime guarantor. Thus, since the birth of the nation state with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 human security has been implicitly regarded as the primary reason for having a state in the first place (Pitsuwan, 2007). In 1968 Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson (1969, p. 43) proposed “… that the peace and security of people take priority over the sovereignty of states…” Historical developments, as alluded to above, also favoured that paradigm shift. Besides the collapse of the Soviet empire, globalization in its many manifestations turned people’s attention away from state security and from military threats and defences, towards a more cosmopolitan people-centered perspective, backed by the UN.

Human security as a concept began to gain recognition when it was publicized as the topic of the UN’s Human Development Report in 1994 (UNDP, 1994). Since then it has attracted increasing attention among theorists, policymakers, and, to a limited extent (as in Canada during the 1990s), voters. The UNDP’s Human Security Framework (Jolly & Ray, 2006) and a report for the UN Centre for Regional Development (Mani, 2002) summarise the influence of human security on UN policy. This influence took three forms: the idea that the primacy of citizens’ human rights not only obliges the state to protect them but that sometimes they be protected from state authority; the notion that the destitute situation of many people around the world necessitates decisive development efforts on the part of states (Thakur, 2010); and the realization that human security is too important and too complex an obligation to be left to national governments in isolation without the support of civil society.

In 2003 the UN Commission on Human Security, chaired by Sadako Ogata and Amartya Sen, reported that the world needed “a new security framework that centers directly on people” and that focuses on “shielding people from acute threats and empowering people to take charge of their own lives” (Commission on Human Security, 2003, p. iv). This goal of individual empowerment seems rather a long way removed from the traditional priorities of state security.

The Human Security Network, founded in 1998, at the time of writing includes twelve developed and developing countries worldwide (plus one observer), who contributed to the UNDP’s human security framework. Their relative emphases vary between the human rights focus (e.g. Norway, and the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague) and the development focus (e.g. Switzerland, and formerly Japan). In recent years the Network has somewhat receded out of the public spotlight but its member countries continue to emphasise human security priorities on the international stage.

What seemed new about the concept was its shifted perspective, from the state as the subject and object of security policy to the human individual as the centre of security considerations – from state security to human security (Hampson et al., 2002; Tadjbakhsh & Chenoy, 2006). And since human beings, unlike states, are capable of sensations and emotions, human security was recognised as partly contingent on those particular states of mind that we tend to associate with human well-being. The UN’s various definitions since 1994 revolve around the three principles of  (a) freedom from fear, (b) freedom from want and (c) freedom to live in dignity (United Nations Human Security Unit, 2016; Annan, 2005). A working definition of human security, based on those principles and credited to David Hastings (2011), would be the attainment of physical, mental, and spiritual peace/security of individuals and communities at home and in the world – in a balanced local/global context. The subjective aspect embodied in the three principles dates back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (details in Chapter 2).

Those three principles are rooted in basic human needs, expressed, for example, in the Abraham Maslow’s (1943) taxonomy and Martha Nussbaum’s ten central capabilities (2011, pp. 33-34). They depend on variables that extend beyond what has traditionally been regarded as the political arena. This extension and broadening also marks the direction in which the human security concept has developed. Besides the absence of violent threats, some analysts began to include among the conditions for human security a relative safety from economic destitution, from acute infectious disease, minimum complements of safe fresh water, adequate nutrition, and protection from environmental degradation and disasters.

To address those concerns, a useful interpretation of human security must encompass the various dimensions or directions from which threats can emerge, as mentioned above. To address that requirement, the was proposed (Lautensach 2006). The first pillar consists of the traditional area of military/strategic security of the state and its rule of law; the second is economic security, particularly as it is now conceptualised through heterodox models of sustainable circular or zero-growth economies; the third is public health as described by epidemiology and the determinants of community health and health care priorities; the fourth pillar is environmental security, primarily determined by the complex interactions between human populations and the source and sink functions of their host ecosystems. The four pillars adequately address diverse sources of threats, covering the same ground as the of the 1994 Human Development Report (UNDP, 1994) (economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security). Those pillars or dimensions interact with each other in a complex network of relationships that sometimes lead to unexpected and sudden effects.

Others were less prepared to extend human security into such ‘soft threats’ and preferred a more ‘narrow’ or ‘lean’ form of the concept. Critics from the Copenhagen School expressed the concern that the concept was running the danger of leaving nothing out, of labelling all human problems security issues; that such  would be of little help for addressing practical challenges because the concept’s heterogeneity would prevent people from developing suitably coherent descriptive models that could inform effective policy priorities. In response, proponents of extended interpretations point to the fact that many more deaths occur annually from so-called ‘soft’ threats than from any threats to national security or armed violence; the fact that most of those deaths would have been preventable translates into an obligation. The 2020 pandemic offered further support for an inclusive model that integrates health, economics, politics and the environment.

Even before the pandemic, the dispute was swayed towards the inclusive view by two developments. First, the realisation dawned that since the mid-20th century the planet had been undergoing drastic changes that were increasingly recognised as pervasive, accelerating and partly irreversible; it was expressed in new conceptual models under names of ‘Great Acceleration’ (Steffen et al., 2015), ‘Safe Operating Space for Humanity’ (Rockström et al., 2009) and the new imperatives of Anthropocene era (Burtynsky et al., 2018). Those new circumstances are affecting the security of states as well as all those other pillars and dimensions. Secondly, the UN involved itself in successive global initiatives aimed at ensuring the sustainability of human security across all its pillars or dimensions. This began with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) and continued with their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; 2015-2030) (United Nations, 2015). The latter have gained recognition as a well-known example of the wide and ‘people-centred’ interpretation of human security informing a program for global development and sustainability that includes the empowerment of non-state actors, bypassing the securitisation debate.[2]

A further direction into which the human security concept was extended was the future. With the advent of the MDGs, and to a much greater extent with the SDGs, it became acceptable to officially express concern with the future well-being of people’s children, and, from middle age onward, with the well-being of their children, and so on. This long-term intergenerational concern has gradually come to inform the agenda of human security initiatives, as indicated by the emergence of in some form or other as a cornerstone of long-term human security (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). More often than not, concern for human security is now synonymous with concern for sustainable human security (Lautensach, 2020).

No security provision can be effective unless it is sustainable. In fact, as we will argue below, many practices and policies contribute to people’s insecurity for the very reason that they cannot be sustained. Much of the heat in debates about sustainability comes from differences in definitions of sustainability and of sustainable development. The most widely popularized definition originated from a 1987 report of the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development, the so-called Brundtland report (WCED, 1987, p. 24): Sustainable development is development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Unfortunately it gives no specifics on what those present needs might be, where to draw the line between needs and wants, how to comply with physical limits to growth (Meadows et al., 2004), nor how to address the implied intergenerational conflict. Because of those shortcomings, definitions based more explicitly on the ecological context seem preferable. Wackernagel and Rees (1996, p. 55) defined sustainability as “living off the income generated by the remaining natural capital stocks.” These definitions refer to ecological sustainability; other forms of sustainability that have been recognized in the literature include economic, cultural and social sustainability (Lautensach & Lautensach, 2012; Raworth, 2017). Elsewhere, one of us (Lautensach, 2020, p. 2) defined sustainability as “living within limits set by global geophysical processes, by ecological support structures and their capacities, by social groups and interactions, and by the basic needs of all living organisms, including Homo sapiens.” Regardless which definition one favours, it seems clear that sustainability cannot be omitted from any plan for long-term security as a necessary (though not sufficient) requirement. The SDGs and the Agenda 2030 (UN, 2015) represent clear evidence that sustainability, development and human security are part and parcel of the UN’s agenda. The waves of public protests in 2019/20 against irresponsible climate policies indicate growing popular demand for more proactive and forward-thinking governance.

The extended models strengthen the human security concept as they cover comprehensively the interdependent sources of insecurity that were traditionally considered under the purview of different academic specialties and were (and still are) studied largely in isolation from each other. The strength of the comprehensive approach lies in its capacity to detect and characterize synergistic effects and interactions among multiple causes. Moreover, the comprehensive approach allowed analysts to develop methods for assessing and verifying diverse aspects of human security as exemplified by the human security index (Hastings, 2011).

Notwithstanding those analytical strengths, human security represents an intellectual construct, informed by various idiosyncratic notions of well-being, and only in a small part is it informed by objective truths.[3] But that normative aspect can also be regarded as another strength, namely that the value priorities informing its diverse components are shared widely, priorities that focus on the continued security and well-being of human individuals (Thakur, 2010). It seems indisputable that our decisions and actions are influenced to a great extent by our values, aspirations, ideals, attitudes, and unquestioned assumptions—all of which are culturally contingent.[4] This is equally true for people referred to as idealists as it is for so-called ‘realists.’ People care about human security because they identify with its underlying values and ideals—human welfare, human rights and dignity, justice, non-violence, and the abhorrence of suffering (Kaldor & Beebe, 2010). This reconceptualization as a set of moral norms is evident in several key policy documents of the United Nations. More detailed discussions of the epistemological basis of human security, its ethics and its intercultural interpretations are given in Chapter 2 and Chapter 4.

1.2 Current Challenges – New Questions

Inclusive interpretations of human security and related multidimensional models have attracted some criticism.[5] We already addressed the charge of securitisation above. Like all complex theoretical models its application requires more data than are usually available; often this makes it difficult to assess specific problem situations and to design appropriate countermeasures. Moreover, the priorities and time frames of the different pillars sometimes differ or even clash. Viewed through the lens of sustainability, some of the SDGs contradict each other (see Chapter 3) and the UN’s blindness to ecological overshoot renders their aspirations unrealistic. While those difficulties are obviously real they can be interpreted as directions for further refinement of the concept, rather than providing grounds for its abandonment. The present state of the world displays a huge variety of threats to people’s security, only a small subset of which could be, and was, addressed through traditional security thinking and associated policies. This messy situation alone justifies giving new ideas a chance, and the extent of international support which the human security concept has received indicates an emerging general consensus along that line.

Admittedly, not all interpretations of human security are equally useful; some create more problems than they can solve. Development agencies operating under national, super-national or non-governmental umbrellas often interpret human security in biased ways that suit their missions–economic, libertarian, humanistic, and environmental – with varying degrees of success. The majority of the MDGs were not achieved by their target year of 2015, and so far the SDGs have met with mixed results as well (United Nations, 2019). Some of that shortfall probably results from a narrow interpretation of human security that relegates sustainability to a mere afterthought (as, for example, in McIntosh & Hunter, 2010) and interprets environmental degradation as a kind of natural disaster—a dangerous misconception as we will show below.

Another problem arises directly from the UN’s framing of human security as freedom from fear and from want (Annan, 2005). With the choices for satisfying wants waning, the alternative of selecting and prioritising among them becomes more urgent. Principles of security are thus paraphrased in negative terms as freedom from a condition that is evidently undesirable. Elsewhere (Lautensach, 2006; Lautensach & Lautensach, 2010) we suggested that such negative definitions are less helpful than they sound. Aside from the logical difficulties with negative definitions, ‘freedom,’ ‘fear’ and ‘want’ are not only highly subjective and emotive concepts, they tend to vary much over time; the extent to which individuals will experience those sensations depends on differential metabolic states, emotional states, situational and associative contexts, and especially cultural backgrounds. An absence of wants or needs can also be caused by an absence of self-confidence, a negative self-image or a defeatist self-concept. Nor is it possible to reduce those wants and needs to minimum requirements for survival. The SDGs have clarified those issues to some extent but they also raised new questions, as will be discussed in Chapter 3.

A more practical objection to those popular interpretations of human security states that the focus on freedoms blinds the observer to the problem of limits or of scale. In any given quasi-closed system (such as an island, a desert oasis, or a planet) the extent to which the human inhabitants’ needs and wants can possibly be satisfied depends on the population size (Royal Society, 2012). Other variables, such as individual affluence, life style, and technological sophistication also apply, but only temporarily. For example, the same freedom from water shortage for a region in sub-Saharan Africa can be achieved without much effort for a population of a few thousand while remaining utterly unachievable, or at least unsustainable, if that population ever measured in the millions—as they do now.

The advent of the   has profoundly and irreversibly changed our understanding of human security (Chapter 3) (Burtynsky et al., 2018). Anthropocene is the proposed name for a new era marked by profound environmental change caused by a single species – Homo sapiens. Essentially those changes amount to Earth having become a different planet – Eaarth, as Bill McKibben (2010) called it. Global anthropogenic change concerning climate (see Chapter 9), resources (Chapter 10), and biodiversity (Chapter 11 and Chapter 12) presents new threats, unprecedented in their extents if not their nature.[6] The Union of Concerned World Scientists have issued regular warnings since 1979, pointing to the further increases in human and ruminant populations, in meat production, in world GDP, in tree cover loss, in fossil fuel consumption, in air passengers, and in CO2 emissions; especially disturbing are the current signs of impact: climate change and warming, ocean acidification, extreme weather, sea level rise, burning of forests and melting of ice caps (Ripple et al., 2017).

In specific contexts (such as a pandemic), it is necessary to prioritise among those threats and identify major sources of insecurity in a community, or region, or increasingly even globally. Combining an attention to threats with the need for sustainability, Alkire (2002, p. 2) defined the objective of human security as “to safeguard the vital core of all human lives from critical pervasive threats, and to do so without impeding long-term human flourishing.” In the light of the Anthropocene, some regard ‘flourishing’ to no longer be a realistic choice of words, considering that our survival seems to be at stake. What used to be regarded as proactive agenda for preventive policies is increasingly developing into a rearguard battle with natural forces bent on rectifying our global ecological . For example, returning to the issue of water security (a topic that will be discussed further in Chapter 10), such source analysis would focus on possible causes of water shortage, on the systemic requirements for water security, the limits of the local system, and the current dynamics and trends in the region in order to arrive at long-term effective and sustainable policies. Almost always it turns out that population size governs the problem; every problem seems manageable while it is low and no remedy seems very helpful once it is too high (Ryerson, 2010).

The Anthropocene brings to our attention the prime importance of , defined as security from “critical adverse effects caused directly or indirectly by environmental change” (Barnett, 2007, p. 5). Heterodox economists, human ecologists and most indigenous cultures worldwide have long understood that all human enterprise takes place and depends on ecological support structures[7] with limited capacities for supplying resources and for recycling wastes. In that we are no different from other animals. What distinguished our species and its immediate ancestors during the past million years or so was a proclivity for expanding our habitat, for colonising diverse environments by adapting to them and by modifying them to our needs (Rees, 2004; see Chapter 3 for a time line).

As noted by numerous authors (e.g. in Heinberg & Lerch, 2010, and in Chapter 3), that proclivity is now for the first time no longer working in our favour. By modifying almost every ecosystem on the planet, by extracting and processing resources in ever more complex ways, and by harnessing diverse energy sources to great effect we succeeded in propagating far beyond the numbers of other medium sized omnivorous mammals. Even by the 1980s our species appropriated over 40% of the total biomass annually produced on Earth (Vitousek et al., 1986); three decades later that amount has increased further (Bar-On et al., 2018). As humans introduce competitor species, modify ecosystems, deplete habitats, and modify landscapes and climates, our environmental impact has driven hundreds of thousands of species into extinction. Our limited skills at managing ecosystems could not prevent the ‘trophic downgrading’ of many systems into less complex stable states with fewer species (Estes et al., 2011). Biologists are now referring to the ‘sixth extinction,’ a massive loss of species that resembles past cataclysms in the Earth’s history but is proceeding much faster, at five to 74 species per day and still accelerating (Kolbert, 2014). The tragedy in this development lies not just in the irreversible loss of life forms that took millions of years to evolve; because we are part of the web-like communities of species, subject to dependencies from which no species can be exempt, the loss of biodiversity[8] threatens our very own security (see Chapter 12).

To paraphrase the words of Ursula LeGuinn, the relationship of humanity to the Earth resembles that of an infant to its mother, simultaneous utterly dependent and utterly exploitative. This notion seems as self-evident as it remains controversial; it does not sit well with people who would rather believe that populations and economies can grow unencumbered by physical limits. That belief, referred to as (Ehrlich & Holdren, 1971), still dominates the rhetoric of election campaigns, neoclassical economic models, and even humanistic programs for development aid. Rhetoric and unscientific beliefs aside, all living organisms depend on the services of their host ecosystems and are susceptible to their limitations. It was for this simple reason that Norman Myers (1993) referred to environmental security as the “ultimate security.”

Overshoot directly threatens human security through biological control mechanisms. In the case of the human species the major control mechanisms are epidemics, malnutrition, and violent conflict. To varying extents those threats will be triggered by essential resources becoming scarce and eventually disappearing (Homer-Dixon, 1999; Meadows et al., 2004), and by the deterioration of key ecosystems (McMichael et al., 2003; Dobkowski & Walliman, 2002; Steffen et al., 2004). The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have been caused by the latter plus the trade in wildlife. If the event is serious enough, the prospect of secondary effects, such as the erosion of the rule of law and of civil society (Myers, 1993), economic failures, and more widespread armed conflict over diminishing resources (Homer-Dixon, 1999; Mach et al., 2019), contributes further urgency. Historical precedents of the collapse of regional cultures, and of the survival of others, illustrate the validity of that model (Diamond, 2005). Those consequences are certain to compromise human security across a broad range of aspects, extending over all four pillars of sociopolitical, health-related, economic, and environmental security.

To summarise numerous reports and analyses—the Anthropocene is teaching human security analysts four basic messages:

  1. Challenges to human security increasingly tend to cross borders and affect regional groups of countries or even most of the globe. Major issues, discussed in various chapters of this text, include mass migration, intercultural conflict, lack of global governance, pollution and other new health hazards, resource depletion, economic instability and crimes against humanity. Success for small countries in drawing international attention to their problems depends on making enough noise and on their luck of being heard (e.g. Poland).
  2. Most of the sources of insecurity are raised to critical status as a result of high population numbers and their impacts on the environment; the chances of success with most strategic solutions depend on how they address those impacts and the underlying population issues.
  3. Among the four pillars it is environmental security that often supports the other three; likewise, environmental insecurity tends to jeopardise economic, socio-political and health security. More than in past centuries, in the Anthropocene it is often environmental causes that are ultimately responsible for the displacement of populations, for the lack of resources to meet their basic needs, for the deaths and suffering caused by natural disasters and for the destabilization of social order. (See Chapter 9 for an illustrative case example.)
  4. Those overarching environmental causes are part of a complex cluster of global environmental change processes that is itself largely caused by human activities (= anthropogenic) and that exceeded the capacity of the biosphere for resource production and waste recycling. Those transgressions are summarized as ‘ecological overshoot’ (Catton, 1980; McMichael, 2001; Meadows et al., 2004). As discussed by various chapter authors, overshoot can be modelled as excessive environmental impact according to the I=PAT relationship[9] (Grossman, 2012), the transgression of global environmental boundaries (Rockström et al., 2009), and also of sociopolitical boundaries (Raworth, 2017), or as our collective ecological footprint exceeding the biosphere’s biocapacity (Wackernagel & Rees, 1996; Chambers et al,. 2000). The latter amounted to 170% in 2019.[10]

There are, of course, numerous challenges to human security and sources of insecurity that are only indirectly connected to the global environmental changes of the Anthropocene, although they equal them in novelty. Those challenges include threats to cybersecurity and AI, nuclear armaments and wastes, the failure of governments in many places, the failure of entire states, the rise of corporate hegemonies and hypercapitalism, ongoing violations of human rights in many jurisdictions, and more. Particular attention is beginning to be paid to the culturally sanctioned ritual mutilation of children, often under religious pretences. Most of those challenges are also addressed in this textbook.

Considering all those issues in the context of the Anthropocene, one cannot help wondering what the future holds in store for human security, and to what extents those challenges might prove manageable. We encourage readers to keep the following general considerations in mind as you read through the chapters, and apply what you learn to construct your own reasoned opinion about which futures turn out most likely. A synthesis is offered in Chapter 21.

1.3 The Future of Human Security

In the light of the daunting challenges posed by the Anthropocene, some analysts openly question humanity’s chances of surviving the 21st century at all (McKibben, 2010). Some allow that humanity is likely to survive in some form but only after passing some rigorous challenges and trials by mid-century, including a reduction of its population size. Those challenges will require rigorous reforms towards mitigation and adaptation (Pelling, 2010; Bendell, 2011). Others prefer to ignore the entire problem and pretend that business as usual is likely to continue, with our greatest challenges amounting to no more than what we have encountered so far. We suggest that the information presented in the foregoing introduction on the whole supports the former views.

Let us begin with the prospect of survival. The spectrum of possible combinations of different population sizes, consumption levels, and technological impacts illustrates the multiplicity of choices by which a society determines its mode of survival. The spectrum of choices was aptly described by Potter (1988) as five distinct modes of human survival:

  1. Mere survival: As it occurs in a gatherer-hunter culture; this mode has proven sustainability for low population densities.
  2. Miserable survival: Lower in quality than mere survival; epidemics, scarcities, great susceptibility to the aggravated consequences of ‘natural’ disasters;
  3. Idealistic survival: Surviving without the most nasty of biological control mechanisms; this requires deliberate and universal fertility control or a constant supply of extraterrestrial resources.
  4. Irresponsible survival: The opposite of idealistic, without collective regard for the ecological requirements; only the most powerful survive acceptably, the vast majority miserably or not at all.
  5. Acceptable survival: Everybody surviving with an acceptable modicum of comfort, according to models suggested by Lester Brown (2003) and others; this requires enforced equity and moderate population size.

Potter intended those modes to describe the survival of humanity at the global level but the modes apply to regional populations as well. In the Anthropocene those modes become a function of population size, with miserable survival becoming the most likely mode for an overly large population and acceptable survival remaining an option only for relatively small populations, as in OECD countries (Royal Society, 2012). Each mode is characterised by a corresponding state of public health (Butler, 2016; McMichael, 2001). Given the central importance of human well-being and of principles of justice in popular formulations of human security, sustainable human security on a global scale would manifest as the acceptable survival of humanity.

In order to build on those rather sweeping projections, analysts have devised models that allow the characterisation and forecasting of more specific scenarios. They make it possible to identify specific threats or sources of insecurity which provides targets for proactive mitigation. As all forecasting begins with the status quo and current trends, the quantitation of human security and well-being provides the essential basis. Up until the 1990s the quantitative measurement of human well-being rested almost entirely on outdated economic models, particularly on the dynamics of GDP. From 1990 a series of Human Development Reports, commissioned by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) arose from the sentiment that economics alone gives inadequate pictures of human security and well-being, nor can it suggest an adequate range of goals for development. To account for the human element and the UNDP’s central dictum “people are the real wealth of a nation” (UNDP, 2011), the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) combines statistics on life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living at the national level and below (UNDP, 2019). It is commonly used to classify a country as ‘developed’ or ‘developing’. A high HDI is still biased towards high national consumption and is therefore only sustainable if the country’s footprint does not exceed its biocapacity (WWF, 2012).

The Human Security Index (HSI) combines indicators of economics, education, social welfare, and some environmental considerations, reflecting the still popular ‘triple bottom line’ approach. It attempts to quantify a person’s security in a more culture-neutral way than does the HDI by maintaining a balance along the dimensions of global-local, individual-society, regional biases, diverse metrics and definitions of human security, and the diversity of human communities (Hastings 2011). It can be used as a criterion to assess the performance of local government.[11] The greatest weakness of both HDI and HSI is their disregard for regional overshoot and ecological footprints. In addition, the HDI reflects conventional assumptions about ‘progress’ and ‘development’ and underlying value priorities that remain largely unquestioned in the associated literature.

The first global assessment of status quo global environmental security was the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (UNEP-MAB, 2005), followed by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).[12] The assessment took into account changes in biodiversity, desertification trends, population pressures, deterioration of watersheds and environmental determinants of public health (sometimes misleadingly referred to as ‘environmental health’). Unlike other assessments, this one acknowledged overshoot —it was entitled Living Beyond Our Means—even though it fell short of discussing the hard implications. In contrast, the regular SDG Assessment Reports (e.g. UN, 2019) have largely avoided the topic of environmental security.

Questions about the future have now moved to the forefront of human security agenda. The reasons are that global and local change is accelerating, the ever greater numbers of affected people tend to amplify even crises that used to be classified as minor, and tipping points in global environmental changes may be close at hand or even behind us. Out of those concerns, various methodologies have been developed to proceed from a picture of the status quo towards the projection of probable future scenarios. Beginning in the 1970s, pioneering work in that direction was done by Dennis Meadows and coworkers from the Club of Rome (updated in Meadows et al., 2004). More recent projects include the quantitative International Futures forecasting system, which incorporates statistics on demography, economics, energy, agriculture, human capital (education and health), the sociopolitical situation (domestic and international), as well as physical capital (including infrastructure, environment and technology) (Hughes et al., 2012). Other systems include additional significant variables such as environmental trends and human impact, and they variously balance quantitative with qualitative approaches. What these forecasting methodologies have in common is an assessment of the status quo as their starting base; the analysis and modeling of trends; and they recognise as four major factors for change intergovernmental organisations, transnational corporations, civil society (acting through NGOs and spiritual communities), and public awareness of the need for change and the spread of new values. Confounding those forecasting efforts are three factors – ignorance, surprise, and volition (Raskin et al., 2002). This refers to the inevitable fact that information is always incomplete, the turbulent and unpredictable behaviour of complex systems and emergent phenomena (discussed further in Chapter 10), and the consequences of human choice (discussed in Chapter 11).

One scenario study that excels in its broad scope of possible futures and its insightful survey of relevant variables coined the concept of the Great Transition (Raskin, 2016). It recognises as driving forces demographics, economics, social issues, culture, technology, environment, and governance. Table 1.1, adapted from that source, summarises its six scenarios and their major characteristics. The six scenarios are classified into three groups that differ in their underlying premises and values. The ‘Conventional Worlds’ pair of scenarios is based on the assumption of continuity in the current global ‘business as usual’ approach. The ‘barbarisation’ pair of scenarios represents an antithesis: they assume that the current social, economic and environmental problems are indicative of overshoot and that they render social decline inevitable. The ‘Great Transitions’ pair rounds off the range of possibilities by again recognising overshoot but assuming that a resolution through fundamental social transformation will be achieved in time to prevent barbarisation.

Table 1.1 Three pairs of scenarios represent the scope of possible futures for human security. The variation between pairs shows differences in major historical trends. Variation within pairs describes the extents of centrally coordinated intervention (Data source: Raskin, 2016).
SCENARIO CHARACTERISTICS UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHIES
Conventional Worlds Market Forces Continuing economic growth & development for brief time Market optimism; hidden & enlightened hands; laissez-faire
Policy Reform Adjustment through enlightened governance Controlled economies; environmental stewardship attempted
Barbarisation Breakdown Ecological & economic collapse, anarchy; Overshoot causes a population/resource catastrophe;
Fortress World Sustainable dictatorships, anarchic hinterlands, global apartheid; gross inequities Social chaos; tragedy of the commons; atomistic and unconscionable traits dominate social behaviour.
Great Transitions Eco-communalism Bioregional self-governance & stewardship Pastoral self-sufficiency; rejection of large-scale industrialism; low population density;
New Sustainability Paradigm Global governance, sustainable living by consensus Sustainability through progressive global social evolution

Within each pair, the scenarios differ by the extent in which governance succeeds in imposing order and coordination on what would otherwise deteriorate into a more disordered, anarchic situation. In conventional worlds that involves the regulation and management of market forces by traditional power structures. In barbarisation the order manifests as a global police state or regime that perpetuates extreme inequity and imposes violent sanctions on any local transgressions. In Great Transitions the order takes the form of a transformed global civilisation that coordinates the activities of what would otherwise remain a random conglomerate of regional sustainable societies. This latter pair of scenarios represents the attempt to combine liberatory, humanistic, and ecological goals into post-industrial models of sustainable living. In terms of human security it represents the most desirable and plausible of futures, given that the negation of overshoot in Conventional Worlds renders that pair unrealistic. According to the World Scientists’ Warning (Ripple et al., 2017) this would require the timely transition to renewable energy sources, eliminating pollutants, protection and restoration of ecosystems, sustainable plant based food production, zero-growth economic goals and a timely reduction of population. Plans for sustainable global food security (Willett et al., 2019) and health security (Butler, 2016; Chen et al., 2004) have been published.

The emphasis on long-term sustainability in the Great Transformation indicates an important point. The majority of current development schemes and political assessments in the mainstream adhere to the conventional development paradigm and thus favour Conventional Worlds scenarios, tacitly assuming continuity and denying the imperatives of overshoot. This includes the SDGs as well as most of the assessment methodologies and reviews on human security (e.g. McIntosh & Hunter, 2010). It renders them unjustifiably optimistic (both environmentally and socially), and utopian. In contrast to that overwhelming majority espousing the ‘conventional development paradigm’, most of the authors of this text recommend ‘Great Transitions’ type of solutions.

The reason why the conventional development paradigm with its Conventional Worlds type projections cannot realistically inform sustainable solutions lies in ecological overshoot. Its ramifications will extend beyond the energy sector and result in shortages of food (Schanbacher, 2010; Brown, 2003; Willett et al., 2019) and numerous other consumer goods and services. ‘Peak everything’ (Heinberg, 2007) will lower the standards of living, economic activity, and hence public expenditures. Human labour will be cheap, human welfare dear. With global trade diminishing, regional trade will pick up. In the absence of compensation through global trade, regional overshoot will finally show its effects. Paralleling the case of fossil fuel, the demand for potable fresh water also increases while its availability declines. ‘Problem areas’ will become sealed off from their neighbouring countries and the inhabitants left to their own devices.[13] Countries rich in resources and low in population (such as Canada) will dominate and countries with well-developed infrastructures can be expected to get along reasonably well. The rest will not be so fortunate. Large countries are likely to fragment. Climate change will be the unpredictable wild card; it has been identified as an important, and increasingly powerful, determinant for armed conflict (Mach et al., 2019). All this suggests that Conventional Worlds scenarios are neither probable nor desirable, whether they be interpreted as brief and risky transition solutions or as a cornucopian utopia. Realistically, the remaining choices will lead to scenarios of the ‘barbarisation’ and ‘Great Transitions’ type.

In the light of continuous economic decline, whatever technological advances might be achieved in the next decades will be diluted, perhaps drowned, in a teeming ocean of humanity, most of it struggling to merely survive with some modicum of dignity. The imperative, then, will be not to make human lives more convenient or pleasurable but to follow the principles of distributive justice and to combat suffering by facilitating the speedy attrition of the global human population as much as seems ethically justifiable.[14] When we consider the cumulative harm caused by overpopulation we end up with quite a different assessment of our probable future compared to the majority of development reports. If even the more conservative estimates of future population growth become reality, the challenges to human security will be daunting indeed—and that is without considering climate change!

What, then, are the remaining options? The most effective and morally desirable strategies to meet those challenges and to maximise human security will aim towards Great Transitions type scenarios. This follows, on the one hand, from the lack of feasibility and of sustainability in ‘Conventional Worlds’ scenarios as argued above. On the other hand, barbarisation scenarios appear to include inordinate amounts of suffering and injustice that warrant all-out efforts to avoid them. Moreover, entrenched injustice renders any system of governance socially unsustainable. Nevertheless, many possible futures involve a succession of several of the six scenarios.

To conclude – in order to achieve a maximum likelihood of being sustainable, the eventual end stage of such successions should nevertheless be of the Great Transitions type. It is to achieve the four goals of peace, freedom, material well-being, and a healthy environment (Raskin et al., 2002) through the means of efficiency, restraint, adaptation and structural reform (Lautensach, 2010). Specific directions and strategies by which that development could be achieved are discussed in several chapters. What the Concerned World Scientists should also have said in their warnings is this: The longer we wait, the less attention can be paid to human rights in the transition. In 2018, an analysis (O’Neill et al., 2018) of 145 countries indicated that not a single one met the criteria of living within the sustainable limits of Raworth’s Donut Model (Raworth, 2017).

Chapter 3 deals with the overriding urgency to promote environmental security and offers some explanations based on the evolutionary history of the human species. Environmental themes are continued from Chapter 9 to Chapter 12. The origins of human behaviour towards ‘nature’ are covered in Chapter 11, leading into a haunting collection of ‘letters from the front’ in humanity’s ‘war against nature’. Chapter 5 addresses the threat of interhuman warfare and other forms of violent conflict. The protection of individuals in conflict situations through international humanitarian law is discussed in Chapter 6. In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 that line of reasoning is extended into threats to individual security during peacetime through national and transnational crime, displacement, terrorism, and human trafficking. The special challenges to human security emanating from failed states are addressed in Chapter 7. Globalisation in its manifold manifestations and interpretations can promote as well as endanger human security; those possibilities are examined in Chapter 8 and Chapter 14. The complex challenges associated with human rights violations are discussed in Chapter 15.

Although most of those chapters analyse problems and challenges as well as offer possible solutions, the last section of this text focuses more directly on solutions. Chapter 14 addresses how human rights violations can be addressed and prevented, with a particular view on the situation in Africa. The complex issue of governance for sustainability is addressed first at the national level in Chapter 16, and in Chapter 20 at the global level. Health security and the particular challenges concerning its equitable achievement is the focus of Chapter 17. Possibilities for achieving human security at the global level are the focus of the last chapters in the book; Chapter 18 addresses the reduction of armed conflict, and in Chapter 19 strategies for peace building are discussed.

As with all revolutionary movements, major obstacles towards a sustainable and secure world emerge not so much from embattled traditional elites but from the inertia of the multitudes of the “unaware, unconcerned and unconvinced” (Raskin et al., 2002, p. 19). Communities make policy decisions according to Thompson’s (1997) four modes of social solidarity (individualist, hierarchical, egalitarian and fatalistic). Inertia hinders the development of consensus along those four lines. Another obvious obstacle is presented by ideologies – counterproductive beliefs, ideals, priorities among values, and attitudes. For example, the dominant , the “tacit ideology of influential international institutions, politicians and thinkers” (Raskin et al., 2002, p. 29) is informed by cornucopian delusions and a relentless insistence on a narrow modernist interpretation of progress (Lautensach, 2010). Other counterproductive ideologies (e.g. human-nature separation, anthropocentrism) are discussed in several chapters, particularly Chapter 11. Additional variation is contributed by cultural diversity (Lautensach, 2020). All those factors determine the extent to which individuals and groups are capable of adaptive learning for the sake of their survival.

How can those obstacles be addressed? As we announced in the preface, recognising and explicating ideological content in public discourse is one of the major goals of this textbook. The literature on human security does not always measure up to that requirement. It abounds with expertly written reviews and analyses of the subject, as exemplified by the works listed below under “General Reading,” works that contrast favourably against more popularised books about development and ‘progress’ that sometimes include attempts at greenwashing or brownlashing. Yet even the casual reader will notice that some of that literature still appears hampered by a unidisciplinary focus and ideological blinkers; a ubiquitous example, now thankfully declining in frequency, are economic analyses that focus exclusively on GDP, externalise ecological costs, discount future costs, and rest on implicit beliefs in endless growth (see Chapter 12 for a critique). Some of the literature discussing ‘sustainable development’ still suffers from similar unfounded beliefs and thus focuses on ‘Conventional Worlds’ type scenarios. Well known examples include the literature surrounding the SDGs and UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), continued under SDG #4. In contrast, contributions such as Richard Heinberg’s and David Lerch’s Post-Carbon Reader (2010) explicitly avoid that fallacy. They also address educational imperatives arising from the various challenges to human security, imperatives amounting to empower learners to become survivors.

Also relatively recently, the human security literature expanded to include ethics as a topic of discussion, mainly in the form of specifying particular implications arising from humanitarian forms of utilitarianism. The field would benefit from a further expansion to transcend Western-Eurocentric ethical paradigms and to counteract the historical marginalisation of dissident cultural views such as holistic, land based environmental ethics, as well as lifeboat ethics as Garrett Hardin (1980) advocated. One ethical limitation of human security is that by virtue of its own conceptual focus it cannot transcend anthropocentrism. In Chapter 11, Ronnie Hawkins explicates the historical roots of the conventional ethics underlying human security discourse, and she explores the boundaries and benefits associated with a move towards a more holistic ethic that values nature for itself

1.4 This Textbook

One overarching means by which those obstacles towards sustainable human security can be addressed is education. Without that conviction we would not have embarked in this project of a textbook. Even beyond sustainability and the Great Transition, education can address specific challenges in human security, such as cultural safety. For example, “Preparing to be offended” can pre-empt many intercultural conflicts, and contribute towards their resolution, in today’s climate of mass migration (Lautensach & Lautensach, 2011; 2015). An undereducated electorate lacking in civic knowledge and skills are less able to cater towards their own human security or participate in the state’s efforts. Numerous other learning outcomes promoted in the chapters of this book speak for themselves.

This book differs from other university texts in its unabashed but reasoned advocacy for certain values and ideals. Like many others we see no advantage in moral fence sitting in the Anthropocene; McKibben’s Eaarth (2010) demands more of us. The fact that the discussion of ethics has only just begun in the human security field also contributed to our decision to connect the text’s pedagogical mission with a commitment against moral relativism. Most educationists now agree that leaving the learner in a moral vacuum by representing all values as equally valid is both deceitful and counterproductive. Deception lies in the misrepresentation of academic discourse as potentially value neutral; all discourse is value laden and thus includes bias. Pretending to be value neutral is also counterproductive because it makes it more difficult for the learner to become skilled at moral reasoning, resolving dilemmas, and justifying moral decisions. The field of human security has long been controlled from behind a curtain by an ill-defined, implicit and poorly grounded ethic, accompanied by assorted ideological baggage, that only now are being exposed to the light of day (Lautensach, 2020). We hope that there, too, this book can make a positive contribution.

Each chapter begins with a list of Learning Outcomes & Big Ideas which inform the reader of the chapter’s objectives and suggest to the instructor possible criteria for assessment. It is followed by a Summary, the equivalent of the abstract of a journal article. The body text of each chapter is organised into numbered subsections under Chapter Overview to make it easy for the reader to locate specific topics.

At the end of each chapter are Resources and References where a list of Key Points allows for brief recapitulation and review and connects with the Learning Outcomes & Big Ideas specified at the beginning. A list of Extension Activities & Further Research follows for the benefit of students and instructors. They provide opportunities and guidance for pursuing important ideas beyond the confines of the chapters. Lastly, after the List of Terms (all terms and definitions have been gathered in the Glossary of Terms and Definitions at the end of the book) is a list of Suggested Reading that specifies which sources the authors of the chapters consider most beneficial for the reader. Finally, References for each chapter are listed  at the chapter’s end, rendering the chapters more suitable for independent and eclectic reading; some chapters also include a Bibliography.

Each chapter has undergone a thorough process of peer review and editing. Nevertheless, as editors we take full responsibility for any errors that may remain. To the best of our knowledge this is still the world’s first textbook of human security. We hope that students and instructors will find its use as gratifying as we found its conception.

Lastly, the choice of an open access, Creative Commons licence was made to maximise the accessibility of this book to learners, educators and the general public. The chapter themes cover an extremely wide range of conventional academic disciplines. A student of one or even several of those disciplines could hardly be expected to purchase the entire book in hardcopy. The same goes for researchers and educators. Moreover, we preferred to signal our preference for the most equitable option in terms of public access, and for the most sustainable, i.e. paperless, form.

Resources and References

Review

Key Points

  • Human security differs in principle from state-centered security in its subjective, people-centred focus on welfare, justice, dignity and rights.
  • Human security can be quantified with a variety of metrics and indices, and differentiated into pillars or dimensions that focus on the key aspects of politics, sociality, economics, health and environment.
  • Over its quarter century history as a concept, human security has undergone significant changes and developments. Two dominant change were the increasing focus on sources of insecurity and on environmental security.
  • Those changes were influenced by new ideas, new value priorities, historical changes in global power relationships, and lately, global environmental changes marking the Anthropocene.
  • In response to the fundamental changes to the global ecology, climate, population dynamics, resource availability and population health, the UN has embarked on an ambitious program described by the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. Considerations of sustainable human security informed those goals, albeit with suboptimal results.
  • Ongoing global changes give rise to concerns about the mode of human survival and which associated scenarios it might lead to in terms of political power relationships and modes of human security.

.

Extension Activities & Further Research

  1. Write your own future history of the world by combining some of Raskin et al’s (2002) six scenarios into a sequence of eras. For each era, describe the status of human security in its various dimensions or pillars – in your community, in your country and globally. You could do this in the form of a table.
  2. Identify the chapter(s) in this text where you can learn more about the particular challenges to human security that concern you the most.
  3. As you read through the rest of this book, ask yourself with each chapter: Which of Potter’s modes of survival are being described by the author(s)? Which ones are being advertised as desirable or probable for the future?
  4. As you read through the rest of this book, ask yourself with each chapter: Which of Raskin’s scenarios are being described by the author(s)? Which ones are being advertised as probable for the future?
  5. The past decade has seen a worrisome increase in mass killings of unsuspecting civilians in places like schools and shopping centres, especially in the US. Do you think that this phenomenon is somehow connected to the Anthropocene? Or is it more likely that there is no connection? How might you find out?
  6. Describe how you perceive the future prospects for human security and the bigger geopolitical picture as they arise from the following likely developments:
    1. Increasing desperation to keep economies afloat (i.e. growing)
    2. Disappearance of coastal territories and even countries (especially islands) to sea level rise
    3. Disappearance of the boreal forest in extensive forest fires
    4. In the absence of effective central governance, building of resilience by local communities

List of Terms

See Glossary for full list of terms and definitions.

  • Anthropocene
  • Conventional Development Paradigm (CDP)
  • cornucopianism
  • environmental security
  • Four Pillars Model of human security
  • overshoot
  • securitisation
  • seven dimensions
  • sustainability

Suggested Reading

Chandler, D. C. (Ed). (2010). Critical perspectives on human security: Discourses of emancipation and regimes of power. Routledge.

Chen, L. C., Fukuda-Parr, S., & Seidensticker, E. (Eds.). (2004). Human insecurity in a global world. Harvard University Press.

Chua, A. (2003). World on fire: How exporting free-market democracy breeds ethnic hatred and global instability. Anchor Books.

Crisp, N. (2010). Turning the world upside down: The search for global health in the 21st century. CRC Press.

Diamond, J. (2005). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking Press.

Hampson, F. O., Daudelin, J., Hay, J. B., Reid, H., & Marting, T. (2002). Madness in the multitude: Human security and world disorder. Oxford University Press.

Heinberg, R, & Lerch, D. (Eds.). (2010). The post carbon reader: Managing the 21st century’s sustainability. Watershed Media.

Hubert, D. (2011). Human security: Global politics and the human costs of war. Routledge.

Kaldor, M. H., & Beebe, S. D. (2010). The ultimate weapon is no weapon: How human security answers the failure of force and the limitations of pacifism. PublicAffairs.

McKibben, B. (2010). Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet. Times Books.

O’Brien, K., St. Clair, A. L., & Kristoffersen, B. (Eds.). (2010). Climate change, ethics and human security. Cambridge University Press.

Pelling, M. (2010). Adaptation to climate change: From resilience to transformation. Routledge.

Raskin, P. (2016). Journey to Earthland: The great transition to planetary civilization. Tellus Institute. https://www.greattransition.org/documents/Journey-to-Earthland.pdf

Raworth, K. (2017). A doughnut for the Anthropocene: Humanity’s compass in the 21st century. The Lancet Planetary Health, 1(2), E48–E49. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30028-1

Tadjbakhsh, S., & Chenoy, A. M. (2006). Human security: Concepts and implications. Routledge.

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  1. Those characteristics, as well as the close association between human security and some of the Sustainable Development Goals, were summarized in a keynote speech by Achim Steiner for the UNDP.
  2. The 17 SDGs and their targets are summarised in the UN's  2015) Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The connections between the UN’s model of sustainable development and their interpretation of human security are expressed in the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. A high-level meeting on 19 February 2019 reiterated that commitment with Officials Stress Relevance of Human Security in SDG Era.
  3. As Thompson (1997, p. 146) noted, “people tend to feel secure not when all these risks have been eliminated (for that is impossible) but when they perceive them to be satisfactorily coped with.”
  4. “All action is goal-directed and all goals value-selected” (Madsden, 1996, p. 80).
  5. We exempt from our discussion at this time all objections and criticisms that were made on the basis of hidden agenda. For example, the cacophony of critics that emerged after the Club of Rome published their first Limits to Growth in 1972 seemed to have been largely motivated by non-academic interests, as judging by the fact that not one of their objections has passed the test of time.
  6. The melting of Himalayan glaciers was still accelerating in June 2019 (Inside climate News 23 June). Imagine the implications for the human security of the millions who live in the valleys of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and other rivers fed by those glaciers.
  7. Ecological support structures include ecosystems, the structural relationships within and among them, biomass, biogeochemical cycles and other homeostatic mechanisms (Wackernagel & Rees, 1996, p. 35). See discussions in Chapter 3, Chapter 9 and Chapter 12.
  8. The biodiversity of a region (or planet) consists of the number of species in its biotic communities and the diversity of genetic variants within each species.
  9. This relationship connects the environmental impact I of a population of size P with a per capita consumption (‘affluence’) A and a per capita technological, cultural, institutional impact P.
  10. The Global Footprint Network publishes a wealth of statistics and data on footprints and on the ecological overshoot of countries and humanity on the whole: https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/ecological-footprint/ (accessed 3 August 2019)
  11. Most informative in that respect are plots of the HIS against the GDP of countries, as shown e.g. in Hastings (2011). Especially interesting are the outliers.
  12. The IPBES provides a 2019 update with Nature's Dangerous Decline 'Unprecedented'; Species Extinction Rates 'Accelerating'.
  13. For example, India is already building a wall along its border with Bangladesh; North Africa is becoming Europe’s ‘buffer zone’; the US are fortifying and sealing their border with Mexico; Israel’s wall is already complete. Russia’s ‘Great Firewall’ constrains cyber traffic. Other reincarnations of the ‘Great Wall’ approach will doubtlessly appear.
  14. The prospect of limited survival coupled with partial collapse of traditional institutions and orders has been advocated by Jem Bendell (2018), including a program for ‘Deep Adaptation’ to cope with it.

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