The security of individuals, communities, nations, and the entire global community is increasingly jeopardized by unpremeditated, non-military environmental threats. These threats are self-generated: we perpetrate them on ourselves, by fouling our air and water, and overharvesting our land. These threats are not felt equally around the world. Southern countries face severe problems from desertification, while northern industrial countries deal with acid rain, and will cause uneven effects over the entire globe for the next fifty to 100 years, with some countries benefiting and others suffering.
Despite these omnipresent connections, environmental issues are still not high on the national security agenda. Those who study environmental problems such as deforestation, loss ofbiodiversity, and climate change generally don’t see the connection through to its higher-order effects, and those who study security problems such as non-proliferation, terrorism, and civil conflict often don’t recognize the environmental roots and effects of these problems.