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Northern Warning Lights: Ambiguities of Environmental Security in Finland and Sweden

Global Security Programme, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
BIOS Research Unit, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme & Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2228;
Received: 10 March 2019 / Revised: 30 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
PDF [267 KB, uploaded 13 April 2019]


As the literature on environmental security has evolved and widened, knowledge of the full range of potential consequences of environmental change for different societies remains scattered. This article contributes to a more comprehensive approach to the implications of environmental change by providing a three-level framework of the security impacts. In particular, it will address gaps in knowledge by pointing out the relevance of geopolitical and structural factors behind environmental security impacts. The article will focus on the cases of two countries, Finland and Sweden—both seen as stable, high-income democracies that are well equipped to adapt to climate risks. Yet even under these conditions, preparedness to threat-prevention will not follow without a recognition of the full range of risks, including ones that are linked to socio-economic and geopolitical factors. On the basis of the Finnish and Swedish cases, the article proposes an analytical framework of three categories of environmental security impacts: local, geopolitical and structural. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental security; security impacts; societal transformation; resilience environmental security; security impacts; societal transformation; resilience
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hakala, E.; Lähde, V.; Majava, A.; Toivanen, T.; Vadén, T.; Järvensivu, P.; Eronen, J.T. Northern Warning Lights: Ambiguities of Environmental Security in Finland and Sweden. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2228.

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