The Butterfly Effect: How Environmental Change Shapes Political Opportunity and Power in Afghanistan

  • Annika Olea Bratton Pacific University


While Afghanistan is no stranger to global scrutiny from a political standpoint, a key area of the country’s struggle is often absent from mainstream analysis: environmental change.  How has environmental change influenced political opportunity and power? Additionally, do these findings have potential application in other case studies? By measuring environmental variables alongside relevant political indicators over a fifteen-year period, clear trends emerge suggesting that there is, in fact, significant correlation between the environment and sociopolitical conflict. While it is apparent that there is complex causality within this study, it becomes clear that drastic environmental change does affect political proceedings, which carries exciting implications about potential changes to the way scholars examine political conflict and unrest in the future, particularly in regions experiencing increasingly extreme conditions from climate change.