- Outline the evolution of the human world-view and describe some of the consequences arising from that world view.
- Outline what constitutes a healthy environment, an ecosystem, the concept of ecosystem services and the essential requirement for ecological integrity as a prerequisite for the health of all life and for human security in general.
- Briefly discuss the role of energy in technological progress and cultural development, particularly the role of fossil fuels as the principal factor in recent human progress and in the genesis of today’s environmental crisis.
- Discuss how human security will be affected by the environmental crisis and the crisis arising from declining energy stores.
- Explain the connection between human security and sustainable development in the Anthropocene.
- Analyse the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and explain which ones are designed to strengthen ecological integrity and which ones place additional demands on ecosystem services.
Donald Spady and Alexander Lautensach
The central questions for this chapter are: ‘What role does the natural environment play in maintaining human security? What evidence exists that the natural environment is being damaged to such a degree that globally, human security is threatened?’ The authors present their perspective on human security as it relates to those questions. The roots of security threats, and of protective adaptations, are identified in the evolutionary history of the human species and in the transformations that we experienced along the way. Some of our former strengths are being turned into liabilities because of the ecological constraints imposed at this time by the biosphere. As a cardinal example of such a shift, we explore the beneficial role that fossil fuels have played in the recent rapid development of human society and also the existential problems to human society that their use has spawned. As a second example, we discuss how different human security aspirations, manifesting as the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, have begun to conflict with each other. Much of the information presented in this chapter is explored more fully elsewhere in the text, especially in Chapter 9, Chapter 10 and Chapter 11.