Alex Alvarez, "Unstable Ground: Climate Change, Conflict, and Genocide" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)

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Unstable Ground: Climate Change, Conflict, and Genocide (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017) looks at the human impact of climate change and its potential to provoke some of the most troubling crimes against humanity—ethnic conflict, war, and genocide. Alex Alvarez provides an essential overview of what science has shown to be true about climate change and examines how our warming world will challenge and stress societies and heighten the risk of mass violence.

Drawing on a number of recent and historic examples, including Darfur, Syria, and the current migration crisis, this book illustrates the thorny intersections of climate change and violence. The author doesn’t claim causation but makes a compelling case that changing environmental circumstances can be a critical factor in facilitating violent conflict. As research suggests climate change will continue and accelerate, understanding how it might contribute to violence is essential in understanding how to prevent it.

Jeff Bachman is Senior Lecturer in Human Rights at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC.

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