Dr Eliana Cusato, Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral research fellow at the Amsterdam Center for International Law, has published her new book, ''The Ecology of War and Peace. Marginalising Slow and Structural Violence in International Law.'' Available now through Cambridge University Press.
The interrelation of 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 possibly armed conflict; to resource ‘abundance’ as an incentive for initiating and prolonging armed struggles; to dysfunctional resource management and environmental degradation as an obstacle to peacebuilding, this literature has exerted a huge influence upon academic discussions and legal/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 undertheorized. Drawing upon environmental justice perspectives and other theoretical traditions, this book unpacks and problematizes some of the assumptions that underlie the legal field. Through an analysis of the practice of international courts, the United Nations Security Council, and truth commissions, it shows how international law silences and even normalizes forms of structural and slow environmental violence (notably, uneven access and distribution of natural resources; less visible forms of violence associated with the environmental aftermath of wars). This in turn jeopardizes the prospects of creating more peaceful societies, while perpetuating deeply rooted inequalities. Ultimately, the book urges us to imagine entirely different legal notions of justice, peace, and security in times of ecological disruption.