European Journal of International Security Annual Lecture – Ecological Security: Climate Change and the Construction of Security

Join us for the first annual lecture of the British International Studies Association’s European Journal of International Security hosted by the Centre for Global Security Challenges.

The Centre for Global Security Challenges (CGSC) at the University of Leeds is delighted to welcome Dr Matt McDonald (University of Queensland) to give the first annual lecture of the British International Studies Association’sEuropean Journal of International Security (EJIS).

Matt will present findings from his new book on ecological security and climate change, hot on the heels of COP26. Matt’s work has long been known for its contributions to critical security theory and his latest research tackles arguably the world’s foremost global security challenge. This work speaks to university-wide research themes on climate (e.g. ICAS and the Priestley Centre) as well as CGSC’s environmental security research theme. Both EJIS and Matt’s book are published by Cambridge University Press. Around COP26 and ahead of this talk, CUP have made the introduction to Matt’s book free to read until December. 


Climate change is increasingly recognized as a security issue. Yet this recognition belies contestation over what security means and whose security is viewed as threatened, with different accounts ranging from those focused on national sovereignty to those emphasizing the vulnerability of human populations. This presentation outlines the core contentions of a new book, a book which discusses the ethical assumptions and implications of these ‘climate security’ discourses and makes a case for moving beyond the protection of human institutions and collectives. Drawing on insights from political ecology, feminism and critical theory, the book suggests the need to focus on the resilience of ecosystems themselves when approaching the climate-security relationship, orienting towards the most vulnerable across time, space and species. The book outlines the ethical assumptions and contours of ecological security before exploring how it might find purchase in contemporary political contexts. 

Speaker biography

Associate Professor Matt McDonald is Reader in International Relations in the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland. He is the author of Security, the Environment and Emancipation (Routledge, 2012), co-author (with Anthony Burke and Katrina Lee-Koo) of Ethics and Global Security (Routledge, 2014) and author of Ecological Security: Climate Change and the Construction of Security (Cambridge UP, 2021). He is also co-editor of the 3rd and forthcoming 4th editions of Security Studies: An Introduction (Routledge) with Paul Williams. He is currently working on an Australian Research Council-funded project examining comparative national responses to the security implications of climate change. 

Joining details

This event is organised by CGSC Co-Director and EJIS Associate Editor Dr Jack Holland (if you have any questions please email Dr Jack Holland: 

There is no need to register.  

The event will be held on Zoom, please use the link and joining details below: 

MeetingID: 89025290490 
Passcode: 9zSCq*