Harm and emancipation
Making environmental security ‘critical’ in the Asia-Pacific
in Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific
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This chapter deploys a critical security studies approach to 'unpack' environmental security in the Asia-Pacific. A critical approach resists a disciplinary neo-liberalism as the paradigm for achieving 'freedom' or overcoming environmental harm. As Axel Honneth suggests, harm is implicated in the problems of recognition. Environmental harm arises in part through the costs to life and health associated with environmental degradation and unsustainable development. Environmental degradation and resource decline, and the important matter of how to overcome them, have become crucial challenges for the Asia-Pacific. The chapter claims that 'emancipatory change constitutes the primary purpose' of critical security studies. A human security approach provides a broader window on the relationship between environmental decline and insecurity. The human security dimension of environmental degradation is acknowledged in the Asia-Pacific, in official policy discourse and in what might be called the 'commentary' and research community.

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