Environmental Security

There are three hierarchical levels at which the food insecurity paradigm can be considered to be acting so as to generate environmental insecurity, which then generates additional food insecurity. At the top is the state; the midlevel is the village or community; and at the bottom are households, the level at which the actors usually have greatest influence on the environment. Some notable and recent exceptions to this generalization regarding the primacy of household impacts exist, for the state level in Liberia and Cambodia is the one responsible for rapid and unprecedented environmental degradation. Massive deforestation in both countries has been used to finance civil conflict.


Boserup, E., 1965. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth. Chicago: Aldine Press.

Bryceson, D.F., 1990. Food Insecurity and the Social Division of Labour in Tanzania, 1919-85. London: The Macmillan Press.

Homer-Dixon, T.F., 1994. Environmental scarcities and violent conflict: evidence from cases. International Security 19:1, 5-40.

Keller, E.J., 1992. Drought, war, and the politics of famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Journal of Modern African Studies 30:4, 609-624.

Olsson, L., 1993. On the causes of famine – drought, desertification and market failure in the Sudan. Ambio 22:6, 395-403.

Samafar, A.I., 1992. Destruction of state and society in Somalia: Beyond the tribal convention. Journal of Modern African Studies 30:4, 625-641.

The correct citation for this page is:
Milich, L., 1997. Environmental Security. http://ag.arizona.edu/~lmilich/envsec.html.

The Table of Contents of my work on Sahelian food security, including several potential loci of intervention to mitigate environmental insecurity, is available.

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This site last updated April 7, 1998.