Conclusion: A Bioarchaeological Model of Climate Change and Violence

  • Ryan P. Harrod
  • Debra L. Martin
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Anthropology book series (BRIEFSANTHRO)


Anthropological approaches to the analysis of the research on climate change and conflict shows that the relationship between these two variables is not necessarily causal. Using data from a number of archaeological and cultural contexts from around the world, we argue that it is crucial to acknowledge that correlation does not equal causation. If it is argued (without supporting data) that there is a basic human drive to violence when changes in the climate affect resources, lawmakers will quickly assume inevitability and act accordingly. The Biocultural Model presented here demonstrates that there are solid data supporting a number of possibilities for what causes violence and climate change is only one of a suite of factors. These factors (ethnic identity and social fragmentation, inequality, environmental degradation, migration, and fear) interact with each other in complex ways depending on the culture, environment, and constitution of the population under study. Arguing for inevitability in how humans will react, downplays the alternative choices they have as a species to deal with an unstable and changing climate.


Climate change Violence Biocultural model Ethics 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan P. Harrod
    • 1
  • Debra L. Martin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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