This multi-disciplinary course examines current and emerging environmental security issues at multinational, national, and regional scales. These issues are approached from the perspective of decision-making for policy, planning, and management. The course begins with an overview and definitions of environmental security within the context of present global demographic patterns, use of natural resources, and climate change. The theory and principles of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) are reviewed, using environmental security examples to illustrate concepts. Three MCDA methodologies are presented, including multi-attribute weighting, Analytic Hierarchy Process, and outranking, which are commonly used to assist decision makers. The MCDA approach is critiqued from the perspective of measurement theory and guidelines for MCDA use are suggested. With both the social sciences and natural sciences providing a framework, several specific environmental security topics are covered in greater depth: energy; air quality; ecosystems and biodiversity; fresh water; agriculture and food; and sea level rise. Within these topics, students will develop MCDA models for particular policy, planning, and management problems under the guidance of the instructors. The course concludes by considering the prospects for environmental security and sustainability in the coming decades.
Williams, Wolman, Zachary