Chapter 9, “Environment and Conflict”

Chapter 9, “Environment and Conflict,” by Cullen Hendrix

Environmental degradation and natural resource competition are linked to nearly all forms of political violence.  This chapter is unique: a comprehensive, theoretically informed, and up to date treatment of environment, resources, and conflict, written for an undergraduate audience.  The chapter builds on the classic tragedy of the commons insight to lay out how, when, and where different forms of environmental degradation and resource consumption – and climate change – can make political violence more likely.  It includes a case study of the Syrian Civil War, examining the argument that the war may have been caused at least in part by the worst drought Syria had experienced in some 900 years.  There is also a summary of a quantitative case study on the possible connections between drought and conflict.

Most appropriate for classes on introduction to international relations, war and politics, and environmental politics.

Why this chapter is different:

●Only approachable, scholarly treatment of environment, resources and conflict on the market written for undergraduate readers.
●Written by a leading scholar in environmental sources of conflict.
●Links together scholarly arguments and current policy concerns, such as the potential conflict-causing dynamics of climate change.

Dr. Cullen Hendrix is associate professor of international studies at the University of Denver.  He is the author of several leading articles on environment, resources, and violent conflict, as well as Confronting the Curse: The Economics and Geopolitics of Natural Resource Governance (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2014, with Marcus Noland).

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