Cultivating Strategic Foresight for Energy and Environmental Security
Environmental Practice, Volume 11, Issue 03, September 2009, pp. 209-211
1 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013
Date Written: October 21, 2009
Historically, people and their governments have not understood or been prepared for the social, economic, and political instability that can result from energy scarcity or deterioration of the environment. Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is an example from centuries ago where an isolated population irreversibly damaged its finite resources. The cutting of trees to move stone statues had a cascade effect on other resources and led to a dramatic decline in both population and prosperity (Diamond, 2005; Fagan, 2008; Pointing, 1991). More recently, in Darfur, human struggle over access to oil resources, compounded by problems wrought by persistent drought, produced both socioeconomic isolation and regional ethnic disconnection, magnifying a conflict that displaced nearly 2.5 million people (International Crisis Group — Sudan). We contend that disasters such as these can be mitigated or even averted if the complex connections and dependencies of the issues involved can be revealed and if there is a social network to connect isolated areas of expertise and knowledge in order to fully understand and visualize the problems and consequences to leaders and policy makers. This article describes a developing international effort to create a strategic foresight capability addressing the intersection of increasing energy demand and global environmental issues, such as climate change and declining natural resources.
Keywords: national security, natural security, foresight, forewarning, public health, global unrest, instability, declining natural resources, social upheaval, political unrest
JEL Classification: H1, I18, H50, H56, H70, L30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation