Environmental Crises That Lead To Conflict, And Natural Disasters

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Natural disasters are deeply and inherently political occasions that lead to conflict and create national or regional instability. Environmental crises overload political systems by disorganizing governments while adding or intensifying preexisting stressors (Albala-Bertrand, 1993; Barnett et al., 2007; Drury et al., 1998; Gawronski et al., 2010). Tendencies of frustration and discontent are not unusual. Disasters cause a multitude of social, political and economic worries that strain the coping abilities of governments, communities and individuals. Addressing societal demands for basic goods and services is crucial - a failure to do so can empower rival groups and competing organizations. Public dissatisfaction and criticism can easily rise if survivors feel neglected by their ruling political party. While government personnel and public leaders inherently wish to remain in power, natural disasters spur dissatisfaction and foster civil change, with some cases leading to political violence and instability (Walch, 2013). It is certainly possible to envision prolonged droughts in the Horn of Africa or rapid sea-level rises in the Indian peninsula as causing mass instability, potentially leading to violence or war. Having reviewed existing literature on the relationship between environmental crises, political violence and instability, this project will prove that there is indeed an association between natural disasters and civil unrest. The number of wars, revolutions, guerrilla movements and violent conflicts in which a natural disaster is a contributing cause is increasing in both frequency and scope (David, 1996). Notably, of the top ten countries affected by severe natural disasters from 2010 to 2011, half experienced or are st... ... middle of paper ... ...arative methods of study and commonly accepted explanations of motivation, incentive and opportunity (Nel and Righarts, 2008). Additionally, there is disagreement among quantitative researchers who criticize qualitative scholarship for its methodology. Qualitative studies arguably depend on generalizations and are based too heavily on specific case studies, thus creating bias (Gleditsch, 1998). Theoretical literature is seen as unable to control and sufficiently test the variables that influence the risk of conflict - it therefore draws conclusions based on causal relationships, overemphasizing the links between disasters and violence (Gleditsch, 1998). In opposition, quantitative scholarship undervalues the contributing links between environmental hazards and conflicts by relying too heavily on statistical procedures (Gleditsch, 1998; Slettebak and Theisen, 2011).

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