A Review: Keystone Environmental Problems are the Labyrinth Root causes that Resonate together with Socioeconomic Factors on Igniting Global Conflicts and Warfare


  • S. Sivaramanan Environmental Impact Assessment Unit, Environmental Management and Assessment Division, Central Environmental Authority, "Parisara piyasa," 104, Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9904-2977





When mitigating a man-made environmental problem, if it results in the permanent disappearance of one or more other environmental problems, then that mitigated problem can be considered a keystone environmental problem. Based on the aforesaid definition, eight environmental problems have been identified, such as population explosion, air pollution, deforestation, water pollution, scarcity and salination, overexploitation of natural resources, urbanisation (including industrialization, urban sprawl and settlements), intensive farming, and the global energy crisis. It has also been found that there is a significant relationship between these keystone environmental problems and global conflicts. For instance, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), over the last six decades, globally, more than 40% of the internal conflicts have been caused by overexploitation of natural resources, which is a known keystone environmental issue. Thus, the importance of identifying the role of keystone environmental problems in igniting global environmental conflicts and warfare has been widely realised. This study was conducted using qualitative content analysis methodology reveals that labyrinth established by root keystone environmental problems resonates together with socio-economic factors conflagrate global environmental conflicts and warfare, such as Cauvery River conflict between Tamil Nadu and Kerala States in South India, conflict from trespassing fishermen poaching in waters of neighbouring country from both India and Sri Lanka, Environmental Conflict in Northeast India and Bangladesh due to flooding (natural disaster) caused by climate change led to migration, West bank water crisis between Israel and Palestine, Russia’s invasion into Ukraine in 2022, Alto Cenepa war, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis between Ethiopia and Egypt, environmental conflicts in Philippines, conflict for land resources in Ethiopia, environmental conflict in Mexico, environmental conflict in Peru, Northeast India, Pakistan, Israel (Gaza), conflict of Mauritania and Senegal, Israel-Palestine (West bank), Somalia- Ethiopia, El Salvador-Honduras, Conflict between Kenyan tribes, dispute between North and South Sudan, and transboundary air pollution (causing acid rain) issue between the USA and Canada.

Keywords: environment, environmental problems, environmental conflicts, keystone environmental problems, primary environmental problems, wars