The role of the military in environmental peacebuilding

Authored by: Saleem H. Ali , Rebecca Pincus

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Conflict and Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138202528
eBook ISBN: 9781315473772
Adobe ISBN:


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Discourse on how adverse environmental changes and climate-induced resource scarcity may give rise to armed conflicts between and within states has been increasing remarkably; and it is having a considerable impact on how environmental change is being securitized in public policy (Floyd and Matthew 2012). Yet frequently overlooked in environmental security debates are how adverse environmental and ecological conditions can actually create conditions for the resolution of conflicts and peaceful interactions between parties to ongoing or potential conflicts. The role of existing militaries in this context deserves particular attention from an instrumental perspective of peacekeeping, as well as from a strategic goal of repurposing the military–industrial complex. Past scholarship in human geography has particularly focused on the ways the military shapes environmental processes through entrenched power structures and infrastructure impacts (Woodward 2004; Davis 2015). No doubt the negative impact of militaries cannot be underestimated or diminished. However, the opportunities to consider a positive transformative role for the military nevertheless deserves greater attention, given the enormous resource base of military establishments and continuing public investment in militaries worldwide.

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