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The Ecology of War and Peace
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Book description

The connection between ecology and conflict has been the object of extensive study by political scientists and economists. From the contribution of natural resource 'scarcity' to violent unrest and armed conflict; to resource 'abundance' as an incentive for initiating and prolonging armed struggles; to dysfunctional resource management and environmental degradation as obstacles to peacebuilding, this literature has exerted a huge influence upon academic discussions and policy developments. While international law is often invoked as the solution to the socio-environmental challenges faced by conflict-affected countries, its relationship with the ecology of war and peace remains undertheorised. Drawing upon environmental justice perspectives and other theoretical traditions, the book unpacks and problematizes some of the assumptions that underlie the legal field. Through an analysis of the practice of international courts, the UN Security Council, and Truth Commissions, it shows how international law silences and even normalizes forms of structural and slow environmental violence.


'This book lucidly analyses how international law regulates and often exacerbates the ‘slow violence’ of ecological damage. Eliana Cusato unravels the interconnectedness of conflict and environmental destruction, exploring the tensions between the values of militarism and warfare on the one hand and ecological sustainability on the other. The book is startling and important, calling for a reframing of the relationship between conflict and the natural world.'

Hilary Charlesworth - Melbourne Law School

'Eliana Cusato’s illuminating book demonstrates the impoverished and limited ways in which existing international law protects the environment in conflict. In revealing and exploring these inadequacies, Cusato provides us with a compelling account of the work that needs to be done if we are to address the many challenges arising from the complex relationship between the environment and conflict. Deeply researched, richly inter-disciplinary in its approach and written with impressive clarity, this is a valuable and urgently needed book.'

Antony Anghie - National University of Singapore and University of Utah

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