O’Lear, S. (2018). Environmental geopolitics. London, UK: Rowman & Littlefield.
This thought-provoking and clearly argued text provides a critical geopolitical lens for understanding global environment politics. A subfield of political geography, environmental geopolitics examines how environmental themes are used to support geopolitical arguments and physical realities of power and place. Shannon Oâ€™Lear considers common, problematic traits of such familiar but widely misunderstood narratives about human-environment relationships. Mainstream themes about human-environment relationships include narratives about presumed connections between human population trends and resource scarcity; ways in which conflict and violence are linked to resource use or environmental degradation; climate security; and the application of science to solve environmental problems. Oâ€™Lear questions these narratives, arguing that the role or meaning of the environment is rarely specified, humansâ€™ role in these situations tends to be considered selectively, and little attention is paid to spatial dimensions of human-environment relationships. She shows that how we tend to think about environmental concerns often obscure value judgments and constrain more dynamic approaches to human-environment relationships. Environmental geopolitics demonstrates how we can question familiar assumptions to generate more just and creative approaches to our many relationships with the environment.