SUST 2001 - Module 3 Environmental Security and Conflict

  1. What was Thomas Homer Dixon's theory of environmental security
    • 1. Environmental Scarcities lead to violence
    • 2. Population growth is a major factor
    • 3. Violence is likely to be intra-state rather than inter-state
  2. What some critiques of Homer Dixon's theory?
    Political Ecology Critique

    • 1. The Blame Game
    • - the Global South (poor and developing nations) are to blame and the problem lies with them not us. 
    • BUT - the our (the first world) history, lifestyle and demand really influence the situation of developing countries 

    • 2. Militarizing the environment
    • - Environmental security is founded on an outmoded notion of national security
    • - The security void left behind by the end of the cold war allowed for environmental security to conveniently slip into the policy of governments
    • BUT its not about Us vs Them

    • 3. The casual role of poverty
    • PE argues that poverty is the real cause of violence

    • 4. Environmental Determinism
    • Human activities are influenced by social, political, and economic factors, not just the environment

    • 5. Neo-Malthusian
    • - Draws from Malthusian notion of resource scarcity and population growth - outdated
    • Too linear - what about cooperation or abundance?

    • 6. Scale 
    • Too much synthesis where each case is different
  3. Explain the case study of the Nile River
    1899 - British controlled most of the Nile River Basin --> Egypt and Sudan was irrigated to grow cotton

    • 1929 - The Nile Waters Agreement
    • Egypt gets 2/3 water

    • 1959 - Full Utilization of the Nile Waters Agreement 
    • Egypt gets 75% water rights and veto power over any project on the Nile. , Sudan 11%

    • 1960s - Upstream countries all became independent and Ethiopia begins development on the Nile 
    • Egypt is pissed - "the only matter that could take Egypt to war is water" (president) Egypt wages proxy war with Ethiopia via conflicts with Eritrea and Somalia. 

    • 1999- Nile Basin Commission 
    • A multilateral forum governing access to Nile's water resources - 9 countries are equal members
  4. What is the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea?
    Establishes a country's sovereignty within its EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone)

    • Establishes the freedom of the high seas in terms of 
    • Navigation/Over-flight/Fishing/Scientific Research
  5. What causes/allows for Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing and piracy.
    How is it a case of resource scarcity and conflict?
    • Economic
    • Over Capacity
    • - Too many boats, too little fish
    • Ineffective Management
    • - Lying about catches and a feeling of entitlement
    • Subsidies
    • - Creates the situation of overcapacity
    • - money spent on keeping fishermen there

    • Institutional
    • - Gaps in international legal framework
    • -Insufficient monitoring and surveillance
    • - Tax havens
    • Social
    • - Prevalence of poor economic conditions - people are desperate  
    • - Countries that are less stable politically are susceptible to have their fisheries exploited by developed countries

    • Resource Scarcity
    • Fish is the shared resource but there is too much demand for this resource and this leads to conflicts (violence and in negotiations) between countries.
  6. Explain the case study of the Somalia Pirates
    Somalia - People were encouraged to fish close to shore --> became dependant on the resource

    • 90s civil war --> regime falls--> trawlers come in (dump toxins, exclude fishermen)
    • --> locals can't access fisheries 

    • The locals decide to fight back - origin of somalia piracy 
    • --> turns into a business (boats kept hostage and ransoms demanded)
  7. Explain the Strait of Malacca case study
    The Strait of Malacca is a success story of sort for addressing piracy

    • The strait was an important shipping route and piracy existed for centuries
    • However, cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore brought down piracy in the area 
    • Three countries decided to coordinate patrols, share information, etc

    • Could have been a problem of poverty 
    • --> Aceh, Malaysia - people torn apart by social strife and piracy created jobs.

    Lessons learned - Strong states can combat piracy (Somalia can't without outside help)
  8. Explain the case study of the Caspian Sea
    • The Caspian sea bordered by 5 countries
    • Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan

    • Baku, Azerbaijan - history of oil fields and wealth
    • The Kaspian sea itself could hold 12 trillion $ worth of oil and gas 
    • The past influence of the soviet union exists with their pipelines for the oil dictating availability of the resource (but the other four are proposing several new pipelines to counter this)
    • This has led to some significant tensions in the area over the resources - surprisingly cooperative though

    • There are two ways for resolving this, 
    • Sea - countries maintain area at a certain distance from their coast, the middle is international waters
    • Lake - Countries divy up the area (most likely)

    • Bilateral agreements on Caspian sea borders have ben established between Russia and Azerbaijan, R and K, and K and A
    • Iran does not recognize these agreements (wants more) 
    • Turkmenistan's position is unclear

    Environmental concerns include the endangered status of the Sturgeon, tectonic activity in the area, the Volga River, and its connection to the Aral Sea
  9. What are the three major causes of climate refugees and give examples for each?
    • 1. Sea Level rise (Cataret islands)
    • 2. Extreme Weather Events (Bangladesh)
    • 3. Drought and water scarcity (Chad)
Card Set
SUST 2001 - Module 3 Environmental Security and Conflict
Environmental Security and Conflict