Ecological Causes of War

Ecological causes of war or a “green war hypothesis” trace armed conflicts to their hitherto underexplored natural roots. Mary Kaldor christens green wars as one type of “new war” brought on by the global risks of epidemics and vulnerabilities to natural disaster. Ian Bannon and Paul Collier echoed this thinking by spotting an intersection of resource scarcities with violent conflicts. Later, Collier explained the ways in which natural resources pervade the political economy to generate conflicts.

In his vast empirical survey, Collier finds natural resource and primary commodity exports at the root of insurgent violence—hence, “resource curse.” Thomas Homer-Dixon detects causality of environmental degradation to growing poverty and insecurity, which in turn makes conflicts likely. Environmental scarcities, in his view, are capable of igniting preexisting ...

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