This book provides a radical and unusually comprehensive normative framework–an ‘ecological security’ approach—for guiding efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change; one that McDonald argues, provides a morally superior approach to those currently employed within the climate-security policy agenda. Following Andrew Linklater’s (1998) classic description of Critical Theory, the book moves in three steps: (a) it conducts a sociological analysis of the dominant climate security discourses and their deficiencies, (b) lays out an ethical case for ecological security and (c) undertakes a praxeological analysis of the ‘immanent possibilities’ within existing institutions for advancing ecological security (p. 12). At each step, McDonald draws upon an eclectic array of critical scholarship—feminism, political ecology, green state theory, among others—and spends considerable space engaging in good faith with would-be sceptics. Indeed, McDonald’s book offers a tour de-forces and model for combining classic critique of the status quo with a positive normative vision and most unusually, a sustained analysis of how to practically bring it about.
Book review of Matt McDonald, Ecological Security: Climate Change and the Construction of Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 240 pp., US$ 99, ISBN: 978-1-3165-1961-5 (Hardcover)