Environmental Change and Violent Conflict; February 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, Jeffrey H. Boutwell and George W. Rathjens; 8 Page(s)
Within the next 50 years, the human population is likely to exceed nine billion, and global economic output may quintuple. Largely as a result of these two trends, scarcities of renewable resources may increase sharply. The total area of highly productive agricultural land will drop, as will the extent of forests and the number of species they sustain. Future generations will also experience the ongoing depletion and degradation of aquifers, rivers and other bodies of water, the decline of fisheries, further stratospheric ozone loss and, perhaps, significant climatic change.
As such environmental problems become more severe, they may precipitate civil or international strife. Some concerned scientists have warned of this prospect for several decades, but the debate has been constrained by lack of carefully compiled evidence. To address this shortfall of data, we assembled a team of 30 researchers to examine a set of specific cases. In studies commissioned by the University of Toronto and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, these experts reported their initial findings.