Environmental Science and National Security: Overcoming Barriers to Connecting Research with Policy

Annotation 2020-01-31 085032
New Security Beat, Wilson Center
January 31, 2020

Beginning with the end of the Cold War, a relatively small but growing number of scholars began to investigate the connections between environmental change, conflict, peace, and changing notions of security. The recognition of these linkages wasn’t new, but as the heavy weight of superpower confrontation lifted and new foreign policy dynamics unfolded across the globe, an expanded range of research questions and tools emerged.

Thirty years later, the environment and security research arena has expanded even more to include robust research on conflict, peacebuilding, protests, and even assassinations of environmental leaders. The range of environmental issues, relatively limited at first, is more diverse and includes the context of a changing climate.

Despite this growth of topics, methods, and contributors, a question remains. Are there still significant gaps in the disciplinary or topical communities actively engaged in understanding the connections between environmental change and security?

This question is at the heart of a recent effort led by Geoff Dabelko, Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs and Senior Adviser to ECSP. With support from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Integrative Activities, members of the Dabelko Research Group assessed the relevance of traditional environmental science to national security communities.

To watch the video and read the rest of Winter Wilson’s story on New Security Beat, click here.

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