Barnett destabilizing the environment-conflict thesis

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London: Routledge, The Global Politics of the Environment. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, Sociologias, Porto Alegre, v.

Barnett J - Google Scholar Citations

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Environment and security: the clear connections. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, abr. Water and conflict: fresh water resources and international security. International security, v. Water and Conflict: Events, Trends, and Analysis — Washington : Island Press, Environmental Security? Journal of Peace Research, v. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, New Series, v.


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Environment, Scarcity and Violence. Princeton : Princeton University Press, International Union Conservation of Nature. The Coming Anarchy: How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet. The Atlantic, fev. LAL, Ratten.

Environmentalism in IR Theory

Agronomy Journal, v. The Science for Population Projection, v. Man, the state and nature: rethinking environmental security. Cheltenham: Northampton: Edward Elgar, Equity, Eco-Racism and Environmental History. Environmental History Review, v. The Zambezi River. Large Rivers: Geomorphology and Management. The Environmental Dimension to Security Issues.

Research Papers Pakistan Economy

The Environmentalist, v. Washington: Island Press, Critical Security Studies: An Introduction. Oxon : Routledge, Rebel groups were not fighting for the control of the resource but targetted them as a means of sponsorship De Koning, It can be asserted that such conflicts were not environmental conflicts per se but rather traditional conflicts related to the commercial value of the environment Libiszewski, This hybrid socio-nature of economic resources is driven by production: the transformation of oil from fossilised organic material to the petrochemicals that are central to our lives.

While nature creates these materials, it is societal reliance that converts them into conflict-worthy materials. The economic and strategic importance of oil and other non-renewable resource is indisputable. Yet the globalised character of international commerce has resulted in many nations ceasing to perceive resource dependency as a threat to autonomy or survival Deudney, This interdependence has resulted in the decreased likelihood of inter-state conflict over control of resources, due to the price shocks these actions could propel across the system and the increasingly technological developments Lipschutz and Holdren, Such dynamics are well illustrated by the oil crisis Dabelko and Dabelko, Although the move by the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries OAPEC to restrict exports resulted in record price rises and the transformation of the international sphere, thus illustrating the economic relevance of resources, it did not result in international violent conflict.

Furthermore, Le Billon has stated that the spectre of resource scarcity has resulted in the escalation of socioeconomic innovation and economic diversification — with the market mechanisms of contemporary capitalism creating an important impediment to conflict. In Botswana and Norway, minerals and oil, respectively, have been mobilised to ensure peaceful development rather than violent confrontation Le Billon, Furthermore, in many cases potential scarcity has resulted in increased inter-state cooperation due to the shared interest in continued supply.

The continued sanctity of the Indus Waters Treaty, between Pakistan and India, is an important example, with the spirit of cooperation over water resources enduring despite increased political tensions between the two nations Wolf, Notably, this definition will include renewable resources such as agricultural land, forests, water and fishing stocks — all of which depend on sustainable usage to ensure their continuation.

The operating role of the ecological factors as a cause of conflict has been relatively neglected, with much of the academic focus being on the environment as an economic resource WBGU, It is important to note that such conflicts predominantly occur on an intra-state basis, rather than between two nations.


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International conflict over environmental factors remain unlikely — whether due to the robust nature of the world trade system and dynamics of supply and demand or to the spread of small arms transforming the notion of traditional conflict Deudney, An important example can be found in the assertions of water wars. Although the management of rivers is often complicated by their crossing of territorial boundaries and nations dependent on water from beyond their borders Egypt, Hungary and Mauritania all rely on international watercourses for 90 per cent of their water , an international conflict exclusively over possession of and access to a shared water source is still to occur.

Environmental problems are not first felt at the international level but provide challenges to communities within the nation-state. Barnett and Adger suggested four key factors in the creation of environmental conflict: poverty, vulnerable livelihoods, migration and weak state institutions — all problems that are present at the local level.

The German Advisory Council on Global Change WBGU, found 73 examples of such sub-national ecological conflicts, primarily linked to natural disasters, between and All such conflicts took place within wider causal structures. The violence in both Haiti and Bangladesh occurred due to the role that the climactic shocks took in exacerbating existing tensions WBGU, Environmental factors often interact with the visible drivers of ethnic tensions, political marginalisation and poor governance to create a causal framework that allows degradation to affect livelihoods, interests and capital — which, in turn, lead to conflict.

The contemporary occurrence of violent unrest over food and water prices provides an example of popular outbursts of dissent and violence as the result of environmental factors. During the food price crisis, 61 nations experienced some form of unrest in protest at the conditions; 38 of these were of a violent nature Castles, The links between environmental stress and conflict are indirectly constructed, with a structural vulnerability necessary for the transition from poor harvests, caused by climactic factors, to food shortages and, thus, price inflation. Their occurrence is directly linked to the presence of a political vacuum in which the government either cannot provide stability and representation or is engaged in corruption and rent-seeking Benjaminsen et al.

All conflicts have particular geographies, in which a number of factors interact. Economic stability, regime type, demography, patterns of consumption, historical consciousness and power dynamics all play a role in the construction of this milieu WBGU, Such factors affect the vulnerability of populations, institutions and ecosystems to degradation and environmental change Evans, ; Gleditsch, Exposure to climatic shocks is likely to exacerbate existing societal tensions, such as poverty and exclusion, thus creating a driver for conflict in many regions Levy, The actual risk of violence, as a consequence of environmental change, is dependent on this vulnerability Evans, In Sudan, the Darfur conflict was the result of poverty and falling incomes, compounded by population growth and environmental pressures — ecological issues were not standalone Benjaminsen et al.

These factors are closely intertwined with those of politics and economy, resulting in a causative labyrinth — the presence of which results in assertions of exclusively environmentally driven conflicts becoming misguided and speculative. Sadly, this wider causality has been neglected in much of the research into the topic, representing an important methodological weakness Hauge and Ellingsen, In these cases, it is human factors rather than the environment that lie behind societal breakdown and violence.

Global Environmental Conflicts

Although the unprecedented population growth in Rwanda, coupled with traditional competition between the Hutu cultivator and Tutsi pastoralists, can be considered a primary causal factor in the genocide Dabelko et al. Colonial legacies have been blamed for the ecological grievances of many, with Moorehead stating that violent conflict in Mali was strongly linked to the land tenure system, a product of French colonial rule, rather than the scarcity of fertile land.

Similarly, state resilience in the face of environmental problems plays a pivotal role in the onset of violence, with climate change reducing capacity to sustain the livelihoods of the population Barnett and Adger, Hauge and Ellingsen found levels of economic development and regime type to be powerful predictors of the outbreak of conflict, with degradation acting as contributory cause rather than driver. Consequently, it has been predicted that the perils of environmental conflict are more likely to occur in less developed, poorly governed states Smith and Vivenkananda, For example, although deforestation and the resultant soil degradation led to the collapse of the state of Haiti in the s and s, it was the successive repressive regimes of Port-au-Prince that exacerbated such issues by failing to ensure human security within the nation Elliott, These competing variables also result in the absence of conflict in other states.

Although desertification and food insecurity were considered of causal importance in the civil war in Darfur, such factors have not led to conflicts in other states Salehyan, Thomas Homer-Dixon explored the potential for violence at a local level as a result of environmental degradation and resource scarcity. He identified two patterns of environmentally driven conflict: elite resource capture and ecological marginalisation, triggering migration to ecological fragile areas. Importantly, these routes to conflict both involve elite and economic interests in their fulfilment Homer-Dixon, Homer-Dixon cites the Moorish appropriation of newly fertile farmland in Mauritania, which resulted in skirmishes between the nation and Senegal, as evidence of violence stemming from elite resource capture.

However, the problems that created this conflict lay beyond the events of resource capture that provided an immediate cause. Anne Guest reported that such origins can be found in the struggle to develop a Mauritanian national identity in the post-independence era, which resulted in the patronage of the Moorish majority and the political and economic exclusion of the African minority.

Similar events occurred in Aceh, Indonesia, where a separatist struggle, although enveloped in a situation of resource capture, occurred in the context of national identity construction Aspinall, It is important not only to understand these causal frameworks but also to explore the different ways that the environment is perceived and interpreted by various people, communities and nations. Much of the scholarship on the topic has failed to explore important episodes of adaptation conflict — in which nature is transformed as a means to mitigate or adapt to future climatic change.

Critical Deconstruction of Environmental Security and Human Security Concepts in the Anthropocene

However, what one individual perceives as a route to sustainable energy and development, another perceives as the ecological transformation of a river and the displacement of local communities. Important examples of this can be found in the struggles of indigenous peoples to protect their lands. Such conflicts — primarily over forests and logging operations — are present across the world, from Brazil to Indonesia. For example, the unprecedented scale of logging operations in the Indonesian-controlled Kalimantan region of Borneo have led to intense conflicts between the native Dayak tribe and Indonesian forces Klare, The subsequent Sampit conflict of resulted in the murder and decapitation of Madurese migrants by the Dayak, before the Indonesian military restored control BBC, However, although this conflict was triggered by state-initiated environmental degradation, the Dayak fought not for environmental reasons but for cultural and economic purposes, as the forest provided them with their livelihood and their societal base.

Indigenous action was not motivated by the intrinsic nature of the environment but by its cultural role — the destruction posing an existential threat. The importance of competing variables, forming part of a greater causal web, is well illustrated in the case of ecological migrants Homer-Dixon, It is stated that environmental refugees place strains on their host communities, undermining the ability of local governments to provide the necessary services Salehyan, and resulting in threats posed to collective identity and social cohesion.

However, the narrow assertion that these conflicts are the direct result of migration — itself exclusively ecologically induced — is misguided. Migration is the result of both push and pull factors and the environment is only one element in a greater causal framework. Although this movement was principally peaceful, cases of extreme violence did occur, including the massacre in of approximately 1, Bengalis in the village of Nellie Homer-Dixon, However, mass migration from Bangladesh to neighbouring India was the result of a plethora of factors that pushed and pulled many towards emigration, including widespread impoverishment, ethnic divisions, patterns of private ownership, and institutional encouragement from many Indian politicians who were keen for more voters Homer-Dixon, ; Lee, Therefore, such migration was not exclusively the result of ecological factors; it was also the consequence of socio-political issues and the failure of the Bangladeshi government to provide adequate livelihoods and opportunities to marginalised populations.

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