Energy and the Anthropocene: Security Challenges and Solutions

Posted: 6 Mar 2018

See all articles by Clifford Shearing

Clifford Shearing

Griffith Institute of Criminology; University of Cape Town; University of Montreal, School of Criminology; University of New South Wales

Jan Froestad

Bergen University College

Date Written: 2017


This paper explores the role that energy regimes, and the search for energy security, has had in shaping humans and their societies, and the effects thereof. Energy enrollments through the domestication of plants and animals and the extraction and burning of increasingly energy-rich fuels enabled humans to build ever more productive and formidable societies, but also more complex and divided ones. Social stratification, combined with the new risks caused by the more intense interactions and entanglements that emerged between humans and nature, has culminated in the global environmental crises that humans are now facing. We conclude by arguing that an escape route from the destructive consequences that fossil fuel energy regimes have had for humans and their ecological security is provided by the emergence of electrical civilizations and the potential this provides for integrating energy and ecological securities.

Keywords: energy, security, anthropocene

JEL Classification: Q20, Q01

Suggested Citation

Shearing, Clifford D and Froestad, Jan, Energy and the Anthropocene: Security Challenges and Solutions (2017). Crime, Law and Social Change, Vol. 67, 2017, Available at SSRN:

Clifford D Shearing

Griffith Institute of Criminology ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111

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University of Cape Town ( email )

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Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa


University of Montreal, School of Criminology ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7

University of New South Wales ( email )


Jan Froestad (Contact Author)

Bergen University College ( email )

P.O. Box 7030
N-5020 Bergen

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