extreme environments

In its Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040, the UK Ministry of Defence, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), underlined that “resource and the environment” was one of the major dimensions shaping the future. Notably, the highly likely growing resource scarcity would lead to strengthened interest in what they call “Extreme Environments” – i.e. the deep sea, space, the Arctic, Antarctica and the deep underground – and in their exploitation.

“The search for alternative sources of energy, minerals, food and water, enabled by the assured transfer and access to information, will become more urgent. Consequently the exploration of extreme environments such as: space; the Polar regions; the deep ocean; and deep underground regions is likely to increase.” p.115 Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040

Here we shall progressively explore the future security components of those extreme environments, understand what they entail, how they could interact with and modify other issues and the futures we foresee, as well as impact actors, as both opportunities and threats. Regular scans on specific issues are mentioned in the related sections below.

Deep-sea resources security

Space resources

The Arctic region

See all Arctic related in-depth articles.


See all Antarctica related articles

Deep underground


The picture was made out of the following images:

  • An asteroid mining mission to an Earth-approaching asteroid by Denise Watt, NASA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Earth seafloor crust age 1996 by NOAA, http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Nuclear icebreaker “Yamal” on its way to the North Pole By Wofratz (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons.
  • Map of Antarctica from en:Image:Antarctica.jpg – Political map and research stations (2002) – CIA – Public domain.
  • Blender3D_EarthQuarterCut.jpg by SoylentGreen, Earth-Texture is from NASA) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.


Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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