Unstable Ground

Climate Change, Conflict, and Genocide

by Alex Alvarez

Series: Studies in Genocide: Religion, History, and Human Rights

Unstable Ground looks at the human impact of climate change and its potential to provoke some of the most troubling crimes against humanity—ethnic conflict, war, and genocide. Alex Alvarez provides an essential overview of what science has shown to be true about climate change and examines how our warming world will challenge and stress societies and heighten the risk of mass violence.

Drawing on a number of recent and historic examples, including Darfur, Syria, and the current migration crisis, this book illustrates the thorny intersections of climate change and violence. The author doesn’t claim causation but makes a compelling case that changing environmental circumstances can be a critical factor in facilitating violent conflict. As research suggests climate change will continue and accelerate, understanding how it might contribute to violence is essential in understanding how to prevent it.


In The Press

Alvarez has written one of the first, and most assuredly the best, analyses of the connection between climate change and genocide. As one of the top genocide scholars, he has combined his in-depth knowledge of that subject with the most important and up-to-date research on climate change. Alvarez is not afraid to confront the possible connection between future political violence and the changing environment on our planet. His analysis is a warning that must be heeded by policy makers from both industrialized and less industrialized countries.


About The Author

Alex Alvarez is a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. He was the founding director of the Martin-Springer Institute for Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance, and Humanitarian Values. He is the author of several books, including Governments, Citizens, and Genocide, Genocidal Crimes, and Native America and the Question of Genocide. He has also served as an editor for the journal Violence and Victims, and he was a founding coeditor of the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention.