Dr. T.J. (Thijs) Jeursen

Dr. T.J. (Thijs) Jeursen

Universitair docent

I am a conflict studies scholar examining the nexus of climate change and violent conflict. My current research consists of three main projects.



This broader project examines how conflict actors use the environment as a weapon, and how the weapons of war damage the environment and ecosystems. The impact of war on the environment goes beyond borders, affecting, for example, maritime life and ocean ecosystems. Assessing such damage will require a multitude of complex methods to establish the impacts and plan recovery activities. 



Militaries act as major climate actors also because of the production of military weapons and materials, as well as the logistical supply chain that makes its acquisition and consumption of hydrocarbon-based fuels possible. This seems particularly urgent in light of what scholars have called the “everywhere war”: an intensifying imperative for military responses and readiness across a multitude of converging dimensions and geographies. Instead of delineating where military operations and warfare begin and end, then, it is necessary to recognize the role of state armed forces in climate change as a political actor and consumer of fossil fuels, much like any other industry.



While monitoring environmental damage in times of violent conflict has incredible potential, it also has the risk of advancing various political and military objectives, intensifying existing and limited imaginaries of how sustainable futures may look like, in addition to zooming out on the human and social costs of environmental harm. The exponential growth in the use and accessibility of satellite imagery necessitates a critical analysis of the potentials and pitfalls of remote visualization and mapping methods in documenting the environmental costs of conflicts and war.