Matthaios Melas

As the 2006-2012 Arctic hype has settled and we are now heading towards the second decade of the 21st century, a sober approach to Arctic security is needed. Traditional military security may never disappear from the Barents, a region that includes a border between Russia and NATO. However, environmental and societal security could keep traditional security aspects in the background, as contemporary critical security aspects are becoming more important for the prosperity of the region. By deepening and widening the security agenda, it is easier to identify who is threatened, whose security we are concerned about and who would be responsible to provide security in the Barents Region. So, in what ways could critical security studies contribute towards a holistic approach to the Barents Region, concerning the environment and local population? Redefining the security of the Barents is imperative in order to pursue solutions for actual security problems instead of hunting ghosts from the past.Environmental and societal security are inherently connected in the Barents Region and a thorough analysis of their interdependence is essential. Chain reactions that could be triggered through a potential damage to the environment could have severe impacts on population that depends heavily on traditional ways of living like fishing, gathering and herding. Moreover, environmental concerns exist within geopolitical agendas as environmental disasters could lead to turmoil and migration. Nevertheless, international and bilateral cooperation in the area, concerning environmental protection and human prosperity, is favouring the endeavours for a better future of the Barents Region.

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