Conflict Resolution after the Pandemic
Building Peace, Pursuing Justice
Edited By Richard E. Rubenstein, Solon Simmons
In this edited volume, experts on conflict resolution examine the impact of the crises triggered by the coronavirus and official responses to it.
The pandemic has clearly exacerbated existing social and political conflicts, but, as the book argues, its longer-term effects open the door to both further conflict escalation and dramatic new opportunities for building peace. In a series of short essays combining social analysis with informed speculation, the contributors examine the impact of the coronavirus crisis on a wide variety of issues, including nationality, social class, race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. They conclude that the period of the pandemic may well constitute a historic turning point, since the overall impact of the crisis is to destabilize existing social and political systems. Not only does this systemic shakeup produce the possibility of more intense and violent conflicts, but also presents new opportunities for advancing the related causes of social justice and civic peace.
This book will be of great interest to students of peace studies, conflict resolution, public policy and International Relations.
Chapter 3: From the Frying Pan to the Fire: The Next Stage of Environmental Crisis and its Implications for Conflict Resolution
By Michael Shank
“Two environmentally rooted crises – the planetary crisis and the current pandemic – deserve the conflict field’s attention with preventive, not only responsive, approaches. Conflicts emerging from these crises, such as climate refugee claims, resource wars, unequal socio-economic impacts from COVID-19, and disputes over health mandates, merit response. But prevention is paramount when transforming systems that exploit natural and human capital. The systems that caused the climate crisis and coronavirus rely on resource extraction, fossil fuels, factory farming, deforestation, and destruction of natural habitat. They intersect on impacts – e.g., higher COVID-19 death rates are linked with air pollution (Friedman 2020)1 – and they will continue to instigate conflict until production and consumption of energy and food are sustainably managed. In response, this chapter presents pathways for the conflict community to assist in transforming these conflict-promoting systems. A first step is to narratively position them as structurally violent; a second step is to widen the field and build a multidisciplinary practice in order to dismantle these systems and rebuild regenerative alternatives.”