Suhrke, A. (1993) Pressure Points - Environmental Degradation, Migration and Conflict.

"The environmental refugee has appeared in the literature on environment and security, and with it the refugee as both a cause and victim of conflict. Some fear environmental degradation will produce "waves of environmental refugees that spill across borders with destabilizing effects" on both domestic order and international stability (Homer-Dixon 1991:77). Others focus on Africa, as the presumably most vulnerable area, arguing that deepening desertification already has displaced millions of people and generated acute as well as long-term structural conflict (Hjort af Omas and Salih 1989, Bennett 1991). This paper attempts to systematize the links between environmental degradation, migration and social conflict that are present in the literature. The starting point is one of skepticism towards the catastrophic notion that environmental degradation will generate massive population displacement which in turn will ignite social conflict. Conflict is obviously not a necessary consequence of migration; nor is it clear that environmental degradation by itself is a magor cause of population movements. To determine under what conditions the sequence of degradation-displacement-conflict develops, we must address two central questions: first, is environmental degradation associated with particular migration patterns, i.e., are there environmentally driven migrations? And, second, when do such migrations result in conflict?" Suhrke, A.