Peace is not possible and war is not an option! Should we still be ‘talking up’ non-traditional security?

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  • September 2014
    Review Essay

    Three verities appear to underwrite contemporary environmentalism. We live in an interdependent world. The earth is fragile. And good science is our best bet to ‘save’ the planet. When strung together, these views can speak forcefully for responsibility, restraint and hope. But what appears as today’s clinching common sense had very little intellectual purchase among decision makers for much of the recent past. Throughout the 19th and for a good chunk of the 20th century, especially in much of the Western world, it was widely held that nature stood merely to be harnessed through conquest and domination.1 By the 1970s, however, the usual zest for the relentless exploitation of ‘natural resources’ began to all but falter. Concerns about environmental degradation, pollution and irreversible loss now troubled governments and demoralised many a development enthusiast. It seemed that a veritable ‘rebellion’ by nature itself had erupted.