The Secure and the Dispossessed
This agenda-setting book examines the military and corporations' strategies in the context of climate change to secure wealth for those who have it while further dispossessing those who will be most affected by climate change.
While the world’s scientists and many of its inhabitants despair at the unfolding impacts of climate change, corporate and military leaders see nothing but challenges and opportunities.For them, melting ice caps mean newly accessible fossil fuels, borders to be secured from ‘climate refugees’, social conflicts to be managed, and more failed states in which to intervene. With one eye on the scientific evidence and the other on their global assets and supply chains, powerful elites are giving increasing thought as to how to maintain control in a world gradually reshaped by climactic extremes.
The Secure and the Dispossessed looks at these deadly approaches with a highly critical eye. It also considers the flip-side: that the legitimacy of the global elite is under unprecedented pressure – from resistance by communities to resource grabs to those creating new ecological and socially just models for managing our energy, food and water.
Adaptation and resilience to a climate-changed world is desperately needed, but the form it will take will affect all of our futures. This collection of authoritative essays by high profile journalists, academics and activists will shape this most important of debates for years to come.
Foreword by Susan George
Introduction: Security for Whom in a Time of Climate Crisis? - Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
Part I: The Security Agenda
1. The Catastrophic Convergence: Militarism, Neoliberalism and Climate Change - Christian Parenti
2. Colonising the Future: Climate Change and International Security Strategies - Ben Hayes
3. Climate Change Inc.: How TNCs are Managing Risk and Preparing to Profit in a World of Runaway Climate Change - Oscar Reyes
Part II: Security for Whom?
4. A Permanent State of Emergency: Civil Contingencies, Risk Management and Human Rights - Nafeez Ahmed, Ben Hayes and Nick Buxton
5. From Refugee Protection to Militarised Exclusion: What Future for ‘Climate Refugees’? - Ben Hayes, April Humble and Steve Wright
6. The Fix Is In: (Geo)engineering Our Way out of the Climate Crisis? - Kathy Jo Wetter and Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group
7. Greenwashing Death: Climate Change and the Arms Trade- Mark Akkerman
Part III: Acquisition through Dispossession
8. Sowing Insecurity: Food and Agriculture in a Time of Climate Crisis - Zoe W. Brent, Nick Buxton and Annie Shattuck
9. In Deep Water: Confronting the Climate and Water Crises - Mary Ann Manahan
10. Power to the People: Rethinking 'Energy Security' - The Platform Collective
Conclusion: Finding Security in a Climate-Changed World - Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
Nick Buxton is Communications Manager for Transnational Institute (TNI) and has been involved in global justice and environmental justice movements for over 20 years.
Ben Hayes is a TNI fellow who has worked for the civil liberties organisation Statewatch since 1996, specialising in international and national security policies.
Nafeez Ahmed is an author, investigative journalist and international security scholar. His books include Zeropoint (2014), A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to
Save It (2010) and The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (2006).
Mark Akkerman is a researcher at the Campagne tegen Wapenhandel, the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade. His reports in Dutch include Piracy, Private Security and
the Arms trade (2013) and The Rise of Mercenaries: Private services in the Military and Security Sector (2011).
Zoe W. Brent is a researcher on agrarian justice issues and a fellow at Food First, Institute for Food & Development Policy in Oakland, California. Her recent papers include
Territorial Restructuring and Resistance in Argentina (2015) and Contextualising Food Sovereignty: The Politics of Convergence Among Movements in the USA (2015).
Susan George is President of the Transnational Institute, Honorary President of ATTAC-France, the author of 17 books and holds a doctorate in political science. Her latest book is Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are Seizing Power (Polity, 2015)
April Humble is a scientific researcher and a writer on climate change, border security, human security and migration. She currently works at the secretariat for the Earth
League and the Climate Service Centre in Germany.
Mary Ann Manahan is a feminist researcher and activist at Focus on the Global South where she works on issues related to land, food, agrarian reform, water, and reclaiming
the commons. She co-authored the book, State of Fragmentation: The Philippines in Transition (2014).
Christian Parenti is an author, journalist and teaches in New York University’s Global Liberal Studies program. He has published four books, the most recent being, Tropic of
Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011).
Oscar Reyes is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and a freelance consultant focusing on climate finance. His published work includes the co-authored
book Carbon Trading: How it Works and Why it Fails (2009).
Platform is an arts, activism, education and research organisation supporting and engaged in struggles for social and ecological justice. Contributors to the chapter include Emma
Hughes, Anna Galkina, Mika Minio-Paluello, Mel Evans, Kevin Smith and the Platform Collective.
Silvia Ribeiro is a journalist, campaigner and the Latin America Director for ETC group and on the editorial committee of the Latin American magazine Biodiversidad, sustento y
culturas. She writes regularly for the newspaper La Jornada in Mexico.
Annie Shattuck is a Fellow at Food First and co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice (2010).
Kathy-Jo Wetter is a researcher for ETC Group and has contributed to their analyses of the ownership, control, social and environmental impacts of new technologies, including
nanotechnology, synthetic biology and geoengineering.
Steve Wright is a professor at Leeds Beckett University and an expert on technologies of political control, including new policing systems such as sub-lethal weapons systems,
torture technologies and surveillance. His books include Cyberwar, Netwar and the Revolution in Military Affairs (2006).
“This riveting analysis shows how climate change will have winners as well as losers. This is far too important to be left to the scientists.”
- Fred Pearce, New Scientist
“A tremendous book that shows how the few intend to profit from climate change and how the many can stop it happening.”
- John Vidal, Guardian
“With our politicians refusing to confront the climate crisis, some are looking with hope to the increasingly influential role being played by military planners and corporate titans. If you want to understand why we can't leave it to the Pentagon to shape our response to climate change, then you need to read this book.”
- Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
“Responding to climate change is increasingly seen as a security issue not a matter of human rights and justice. As long as elite communities are protected - the proper job of the military - then security professionals are doing what they should, with the control paradigm the only way forward. The Secure and the Dispossessed challenges that head-on, bringing together a series of excellent contributions to take apart the dangers and short-sightedness of securitising climate change. This is a badly needed book and a hugely important contribution to one of the most significant issues of our age.”
- Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
“We're at a crucial moment. We can deal with the climate crisis either as a moment to build new global unity, or to further divide the planet between wealthy profiteering elites and everyone else. This book will help you understand the possibilities, and hopefully move to join you the fight for justice.”
- Bill McKibben, Author of End of Nature, co-founder of 350.org
“The compelling arguments in this volume show very clearly that linking climate change to security is not the simple matter political elites now so frequently assume. As these chapters show in detail it may perpetuate precisely the dangers that we need to confront. Unless, that is, much more attention is paid to who precisely is deciding what kind of future we need to secure for which parts of humanity in a very unequal world. This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned to secure ecological futures for more than just the rich and powerful few in the global system.”
- Simon Dalby, CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs
“Among the books that attempt to model the coming century, this one stands out for its sense of plausibility and danger. It examines several current trends in our responses to climate change, which if combined would result in a kind of oligarchic police state dedicated to extending capitalist hegemony. This will not work, and yet powerful forces are advocating for it rather than imagining and working for a more just, resilient, and democratic way forward. All the processes analyzed here are already happening now, making this book a crucial contribution to our cognitive mapping and our ability to form a better plan.”
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Award-winning science fiction writer
“A brilliantly conceived and edited volume that warns us of the dire political and ecological consequences of accepting a security rationale for the control of climate change policy that entrusts the human future to the main culprits of our era: corporate neoliberalism and geopolitical militarism.”
- Richard Falk, American Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and former Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
“Buxton and Hayes make clear that climate justice activists must be careful about making alliances with strange bedfellows such as the military in the fight for climate justice. While the military does recognise climate change as a threat, their solutions often create new dangers for the most vulnerable, by curtailing civil liberties and democratic space. It is the task of climate justice activists to seize the crisis as an opportunity for building a more just world – a job that is made more difficult by partnerships with repressive institutions.”
- Payal Parekh, Global Campaigns Director, 350.org
“The war business is constantly on the hunt for new opportunities to profit from death. This illuminating book unveils how military and corporate planners are capitalising on the climate crisis to introduce new deadly technologies to police our borders, repress peaceful protestors and undermine human rights. But it also shows how - just as in the movement to ban landmines - ordinary people everywhere are standing up to reject violence and to propose real lasting peaceful and just solutions to the climate crisis.”
- Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner, awarded for her work to ban landmines
“This book provides a deep and wide-ranging analysis of the securitization of climate change and its military and corporate sponsors and beneficiaries. It is must reading for activists, scholars, researchers and policymakers working to build a different kind of present and future, where peace, equality and justice are at the center of responses to climate change – not men with guns or corporate balance sheets. The authors mount an important challenge to environmentalists willing to play the national security card in order to get more attention to climate change at the highest levels of government. The risks of such framings far outweigh the benefits.”
- Betsy Hartmann, Professor Emerita of Development Studies and Senior Policy Analyst of the Population and Development Program, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
“This book shows that preventing worsening climate change in the face of a business-as-usual is more urgent than ever. More importantly, it shows that the struggles for environmental justice and civil liberties, for refugee rights and #blacklivesmatter, will only be won if we unite together against a system that preserve the privileges of the few against the rights of the many.”
- Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, Friends of the Earth
“While millions of people, in Transition groups, community energy groups, and many others, are looking at the climate crisis and seeing opportunity amidst the crisis, so, sadly, are other less altruistic forces. Familiarising ourselves with the madness that sees retreating ice as potential oil fields, and a warming world as a business opportunity, is vital. 'The Secure and the Dispossessed' shines a bright light into corners we'd rather avoid, and in doing so, does us a huge service.”
- Rob Hopkins: Transition Network and author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff
“We already see the climate crisis unfolding worldwide. How we react will be the challenge of our age. Will we respond with the politics of fear and business as usual - and in so doing condemn millions. Or will we wrest power from the corporations and the military in order to develop the radical just solutions we need. This book is an indispensable guide to the dystopian forces we must confront and the alternative just solutions we will need to advance.”
- Pablo Solón, Former Ambassador to the Plurinational Government of Bolivia and lead climate negotiator to the UN
“The link between security and climate-change has long been regarded by the global security status quo as a pretext for hardening security measures on local, national and international scale. Buxton and Hayes have crafted an important book that both acknowledges the climate crisis and takes a critical approach toward managing its human consequences. Climate-change – like many of the new insecurities in the news today – first and foremost reveals the social and political inequalities of our time. The Secure and the Dispossessed documents and analyses the multiple facets of the new – but perhaps actually very old – configuration of power, economic resources, social standing and political access that have shaped the most recent climate-change events. It is the first work of its kind that undertakes such a critical mapping, culminating in a set of recommendations, both wise and sharp, for addressing climate-based crises in the age of the security-industrial-media-entertainment complex.”
- J. Peter Burgess, Professor of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
“The Secure and the Dispossessed warns of the looming ‘perfect storm’ of climate chaos, global inequality, and mass dispossession of vulnerable people - but above all exposes a growing corporate military and security complex determined to protect the worst of the status quo. Thankfully the authors also offer us a very different future rooted in justice, community rights to land, water and energy, and a sustainable peace. A powerful collection.”
- Maude Barlow, National Chair of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Future
“At a time when too many in the climate movement are quick to celebrate military and corporate forces acknowledging the reality of climate change, The Secure and the Dispossessed asks the critical questions about the fundamental difference between climate security and climate justice. This is an important reminder that we need to change not just our energy system, but our power structures as well.”
- Tim DeChristopher, Fossil fuel abolition activist, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center
“This excellent and powerful book explores the rise of ‘climate security’ - a state and corporate-led reframing of climate change from a predominantly environmental and social justice paradigm into one defined primarily by military security. We should all be deeply concerned by the rise of ‘climate security’ and this important collection of essays from scholars and activists explains in graphic detail why. Buxton and Hayes have curated a deeply disturbing and compelling analysis in which environmental crisis, unbridled neoliberalism and militarism are converging to ignite global conflicts and normalise exceptional security regimes.”
- Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London and Director of the International State Crime Initiative
“This is a great contribution to the much-needed connection between war and climate chaos.”
- Medea Benjamin, award winning peace activist, founder of Code Pink and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by remote control
“In responding to climate change, not all actors are equal: while most of us (and especially the poor) will suffer egregiously, many corporations and military organizations will seek to benefit from the devastation. There's no better guide to these differentiated responses than The Secure and the Dispossessed. Each chapter provides valuable insights into the social and economic dimensions of the unfolding climate catastrophe.”
- Michael Klare, author of The Race for What's Left
“This is the missing link the climate justice movement has needed, mainly without knowing it: the corporatisation and militarisation of our changing weather. Given how much the Pentagon and firms like Shell are investing in their own secretive research, and given the free-to-pollute pass that the world's militaries get during UN climate summits, it is vital for us all to learn what Buxton and Hayes eloquently explain in this excellent book.”
- Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and author of Politics of Climate Justice
This book would never have happened if it had not been for an amazing group of crowdfunders who put their trust in our idea and helped finance its production. A special thanks to all the individual funders, known and unknown, who made this book possible.
Caroline Clark, Maxim Narbrough, Travis Driessen, Julian Jacobs, Anuradha Vittachi, Dan Boorman, Helen Wolfson, Dan Montuschi, Sara Rogers, Beatriz Martinez, Greg Wright, Dixon Caspar, N. Capellini, Julian Filochowski, Payal Parekh, Mauricio Vargas, Dave Patterson, Kathryn Johnson, John Adams, Kara Moore O’Leary, Theresa Wolfwood, Matthew Hodson, Ralph Suikat, William Carroll, Fred Faust, Dan Caines, Tom and Katy Buxton, Chris Venables, Nicola Rogers, David Heath, Katharine Collenette, Adam Boulter, Jason Gehrig, Tom Kruse, Maximilian Leroux, Julia Ruxton, Joanna Bernie, Maia Baconguis, Nina Iszatt, Larry Lohmann, Ben Lowe, Lia van Wijk, Martin Roberts, Rita Huybens Gonzalo Berron, Michael Klare, Sally Hill, John Farrar, Mike Gould, Monisha Bhaumik, Alan Dube, Sabrina Aguiari, Brid Brennan, Sarah Garden, Peter Wright, Nuria Del Viso, Ben Dangl Esther Lexchin, Yonit Percival, Jolyon White, Kris Abrams, David Alexander, Kristian Smith, Amira Armenta, Nicolien Scholtens, Kevin Odell, Bernard Meijfroidt, Michel Fleur, Nele Marien, Barbara Crowther, Mary Light, James and Kari Stewart, Angela Burton, Peter Carter, Catherine Dilley, Fergus McInnes, András Novoszáth, Ignace van der Meijden, Sarah Barfoot, James Smith, Ulrich Karthaus, Steve McGiffen, Louis Reynolds, Lindsay Simmonds, Steffen Boehm, Daniel Chavez, Bill Powers and Melissa Draper, Peter Stone, Donna McGuire, Franz Bonsema, Rafael Alejandro Salvador, Gerrit Stegehuis, Trevor McDermott, Martina Weitsch, Kirsten Moller, Deb Mason, Joachim Rollhaeuser, Cindy Blaney, Aidan Patrick White, Liz Scurfield, Grietje Baars, Saleh Mamon, Linda McPhee, Jean Jackman, Kathrin Barta, Claire Black Slotton, Luis Sierra, Susan Bizeau, Elisabeth Robbins, Julian Eaton, Nina Iszatt, Corinne Voilquin, Francis Buxton, Linda Farthing, David Hallowes, Jeff Rudin, Alexander Leipold, Rejo Zenger, Aaron Nitzkin, Barry Gills, Marlene Barrett, Jonathan Brough and the many anonymous donors or those who didn’t leave a full name.