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IP-CALS Seminar Series: Another Perspective On Climate Change and Conflict

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 12:20pm to 1:10pm

Emerson Hall, 135

Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown is an Associate Professor and Director of Environmental Studies, a multidisciplinary liberal arts and science program at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.  She obtained both a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a Master of Science in the natural sciences, before venturing into the social sciences for her PhD. Carolyn completed her PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Management at Cornell University in 2005.  Prior to doing her PhD she lived and worked for over 10 years in a small village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she and her husband initiated an agricultural and community development project in partnership with the local church. Following her doctorate she was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in the Global Environmental Change group at the University of Guelph.  She also lectured at the University of Toronto and at the University of Guelph.  An award winning teacher, Carolyn also conducts research with a focus on strategies in environmental governance that can contribute to the goals of sustainable resource management and improved livelihoods.

A senior research fellow with the Earth Systems Governance project, her research is guided and informed by her interdisciplinary background in both the natural and social sciences. She has research projects in Central Africa, Atlantic Canada and the Caribbean. Carolyn has also worked as a consultant for World Vision Canada and The World Bank.

There has been a growing discussion at various levels over the last few years about the interaction between climate change and conflict. Much of the focus has been on climate change as a cause of increased social instability due to increasing natural resource scarcity, intensification of natural disasters and sea-level rise. The United Nations Security Council considers climate change to be a ‘threat multiplier’ - having a direct impact on human security while also exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. It is seen as placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world increasing the likelihood, intensity and length of conflict.

Others are less certain of a simplistic, direct link between climate change and conflict. In this presentation I will briefly examine the scientific literature to support these perspectives, but propose to move the discussion beyond the potential impacts of climate change on conflicts around the world. With a focus on conflict-affected countries of Central Africa, I will explore the possible direct and indirect connections between climate change adaptation and conflict.  The potential of a climate change response to contribute to the process of reconstruction, reconciliation and peace building will be briefly addressed.

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International Programs


Carolyn Brown

Speaker Affiliation

Professor of International studies, Univ. of Prince Edward Island, Canada

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