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Environmental insecurity and fortress mentality



This article explores the political, economic and ecological context within which environmental insecurity emerges and feeds back into a fortress mentality. Shortages of food, water and energy sources are the trigger for nefarious activities involving organized criminal networks, transnational corporations and governments at varying political levels. The consequences of such activities contribute to even more ruthless exploitation of rapidly vanishing natural resources, as well as the further diminishment of air, soil and water quality. These developments, in turn, exacerbate the competitive scramble by individuals, groups and nations for what is left. The accompanying insecurities and vulnerabilities ensure elite and popular support for self-interested ‘security’. Accordingly, the ‘fortress’ is being constructed and reconstructed at individual, local, national and regional levels—as both an attitude of mind and a material reality. Fundamentally, the basis for this fortress mentality is linked to decades of neo-liberal policy and practice that have embedded an individualizing and competitive self-interest that, collectively, is overriding prudent and precautionary policy construction around climate change and environmental degradation. The net result is that security is being built on a platform of state, corporate and organized group wrongdoing and injustice, in many instances with the implied and/or overt consent of relevant publics. Yet, as long as the fortification continues apace, it will contribute to and further exacerbate varying levels of insecurity for all.

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