Fighting for Survival: Environmental Decline, Social Conflict, and the New Age of Insecurity

Author: Michael Renner
ISBN: 0-393-31568-1
239 pages
October 1996

In Fighting for Survival, Michael Renner describes the new reality of post-Cold War security—a reality that seems still to elude global leaders.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, it has become clear to citizens everywhere that it is not the march of armies that is the clearest threat to peace and stability but rather the disaster of pervasive resource loss, refugees who are forced across borders, and social instability that makes war primarily an action within, rather than between, states.

Renner argues that global leaders and citizens must find a new sense of mission and destiny, and must reclaim the security terminology from war-making institutions. He shows that social, economic, and environmental stresses and pressures on societies worldwide call for a new definition of security, and hence for a new set of priorities.

Poverty, unequal distribution of land, and the degradation of ecosystems are among the most pressing issues undermining security. Soldiers and tanks are at best irrelevant and at worst an obstacle to solving problems.

An understanding of security that fits today's world will require a shift from conflicts of national security to cooperation for global security. Instead of defense of the status quo, sustainable security calls for challenge and adaptation; instead of "green-helmet" intervention forces, we will need to transform war-making institutions, and create new priorities for sustainable development.