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Climate Change and Conflict Management


Lara Fowler,

About the Project

Climate Change and Conflict Management was funded by Penn State's Sustainability Institute's Reinvention Fund at the University Park campus in the amount of $49,500.

The project's primary goal is to bring people together to identify climate-related impacts, potential conflict areas, and potential solutions. This project builds on the significant work already on-going at Penn State on climate change issues in the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and in the dispute resolution world. By convening such expertise, we can begin to understand and work towards finding potential solutions to the critical conflicts that occur at a scale that ranges from the personal to the international.

Limited natural resources often play a crucial role in areas caught in a cycle of conflict; impacts related to severe weather and climate change are expected to make such conflict worse. For example, a major drought in Syria displaced thousands of farmers and is attributed by some as a significant reason for the on-going civil war. Hurricane Sandy represents a huge regional event that continues to cause considerable conflict in how to address community and environmental needs. Even here locally, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching Penn State’s power supply from coal to natural gas have led to considerable community conflict.

Project Goals:

  • Convene scholars and students from different disciplines to share knowledge and begin to identify potential solutions through a widely advertised speaker series of both internal and external experts or panel of experts;
  • Hold a workshop to deeply explore issues of climate-related conflict areas, using case studies that range from local to international to examine these issues and lessons learned;
  • Develop a white paper summarizing the current state of multi-disciplinary knowledge in conflict studies preparation for potential research grant applications; and
  • Develop a toolkit that could be used for classes, education and outreach to address these issues and techniques for climate-related conflict management and resolution.


Download the report.

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