Weaponization of the Environment Conference 2023


Green Conflict Studies 

Our aim is to focus on empirically and conceptually informed contributions that advance a green conflict studies agenda. This approach centers around the question of how environmental issues and challenges impact or are impacted by violent conflict and inequalities. We are specifically interested in work that uncovers the relational context in which various environmental conflicts are embedded, including the historical and contemporary milieus that trigger and fuel conflicts and how these affect differently positioned individuals and societies. Linked to this are social movements and various activist groups struggling to control discourses and knowledge making, competition over perceived incompatible interests, resulting in environmental discourses that privilege elite and exploitative use of land while simultaneously trying to erase Indigenous presence by overlooking certain spiritual and cultural matters pitted against supposed economic growth.

Environmental security
Environmental security analyzes threats to the environment caused by individuals, groups, or nations and uncovers the ways in which conflict and conflict actors both affect and exploit the environment. The theme of environmental security focuses on the weaponization of the environment as a physical phenomenon by discussing the realities of direct conflict, violence and post-conflict reconstruction. The focus will be on the outcome and dynamics of specific conflict situations and the positive utilities of environmental and resource management for conflict mitigation. Topics of discussion can include environmental peacebuilding, conflict resolution, environmental warfare, national security, and militarization. Additionally, the conference aims to discuss the tangible realities of conflict through case studies.

Environmental governance
Environmental governance has shown that both the state and political opposition can use environmental discourses as a justification for behavior, policy, and actions. Environmental and climate change discourses legitimize the way different actors interact with environmental issues such as land grabbing. These justifications and narratives hold bigger power structures in place and reinforce larger inequalities. This conference’s approach to the weaponization of the environment takes into account the various dynamics that underpin the relationship between the environment and different stakeholders.

The environmental governance theme will contribute to discussions on structural violence by shedding light upon the inequalities and power relations that contribute to and are a result of the weaponization of the environment. Discussions within this theme will ask who has power to weaponize the environment, who benefits and why, and what is the role of agency amongst various stakeholders. These questions can be discussed  in relation to various aspects of governance, such as policy, politics, public-private partnerships, and the exercising of rights (e.g. Indigenous rights, land rights, etc.).