Food Security and Eco-terrorism: Recognizing Vulnerabilities and Protecting Ecosystems

ALPAS H. , Kiymaz T.

NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Achieving Environmental Security - Ecosystem Services and Human Welfare, Newport, United Kingdom, 5 - 10 July 2009, vol.69, pp.239-249 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 69
  • Doi Number: 10.3233/978-1-60750-579-2-239
  • City: Newport
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Page Numbers: pp.239-249


When all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, any matter that prevents access by the consumer to foodstuffs will be a security issue. This will range in severity from lack of access to foods of choice through starvation from no access at all. Depending on the structure of food delivery (e.g. just in time) any interruption in that supply can quickly become an emergency, or appear as one. Practically, as a result of globalization and technical innovations food has no borders, and the global food chain is highly vulnerable to attack. In addition there is no specific targeting information indicating that attack on food supply is imminent and manuals for intentional contamination of food are widely available; therefore a concern exists for exploitation of soft targets, such as the food chain. On the other hand, climate change is expected to create difficulties in feeding growing populations as land degradation-as a result of flooding, drought, soil erosion and poor land management practices-will lead to a loss of arable land, and there will also be a decline or geographical shift in other food sources. Taking into account the mass usage of water (70 percent worldwide used for agriculture), water shortages seem likely to create tension in some regions of the world especially where several countries rely on the same water sources. In that sense, food insecurity is a massive current and future problem that should be handled globally and nationally. As a result, rises in protests aimed at governments over inadequate policy changes or aimed at corporations over environmental damage should probably be expected. On the fringes of social and environmental movements there are always those who will resort to violence and sabotage, namely eco-terrorism. Overall, it would not be wrong to assume that these will somehow lead to an increase in international terrorism. In order to take the necessary protective and response measures, which may have to be taken to reduce the risk and mitigate the consequences of these threats it is necessary to determine the vulnerability components for protecting ecosystems. This chapter will include the above-mentioned topics from the scope of risk analysis, benefits, and trust with implications. In this respect the consumer perception(s) of food chain security hazards will be detailed focusing on risk communication in the field of food security.