Areas of Research

The mission of my research is to analyze links between natural resource use, development and human displacement, and the conflicts taking place at their intersection. More specifically, this includes:

  • studying how our use of resources in industrialized countries affects environments and people living in far off, often unseen places

  • theorizing about "resource conflicts", and how its definition should be expanded

  • understanding local community response, via protests and social movements, to extractive pressures

  • analyzing the circumstances and needs of (environmentally) displaced persons and migrants who move to build lives in a new location

Much of my scholarship focuses on persons affected by these processes and conflicts, namely when they are harmed or forced to move due to development processes, climate change, struggles over natural resources, and war.

1. Connecting Resource Use to the Environment, Conflict, and Harm to Others

An article in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, “Urban Consumers and Natural Resources: An Ontology of Disconnection” (2022) presents the argument that deepening urbanization increases the disconnect between consumers and the impacts that their lifestyles have on the environment. It examines this through several theories related to disconnection and suggests that a potential solution can be found in the form of “spatial justice". A previous article in Praxis, a journal focused on human security, addressed ties between resource usage in industrialized countries, and the locations where raw materials are extracted. The ever-increasing use (and misuse) of natural resources has implications for conflict, and thereby forced displacement. This piece explains 1) the connection between natural resources and conflict; 2) the way these conflicts lead to displacement of populations; and 3) how economic growth and rampant consumerism require intense reliance on nonrenewable resources that are connected to conflict and displacement.

An additional avenue of research, beyond displacement, examines a particular area of direct impacts from natural resource use – the way air pollution from energy and industrial processes leads to increased mortality and morbidity among neighboring and downstream populations. My colleagues at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategy and I have two book chapters under review.

2. Theorizing About Resources and Conflict

In a recent article "From ‘Resource Wars’ to ‘Resources in Wars’", I argue that it is worth expanding the scope of what is considered as a “resource war”. The geopolitical perspective on resource conflicts focuses on the way in which key assets such as oil serve as a motivation for war, as governments struggle over their control. This article argues that this particular approach is often too narrow-minded to properly explain interstate conflict, since there are usually other key factors associated with war. Instead, it is necessary to shift the inward focus, on where the resources are located, outward and to the places to which they are connected. Upcoming research is considering the expansion of what types of resources are associated with authoritarianism. In a draft paper for the March 2023 International Studies Association conference, I expound upon the idea that we must look beyond valuable point-source resources like petroleum, gold, and timber, as funding for despotic regimes. In fact, other important commodities are associated with authoritarian leaders.

3. Local Community Response to Development (Extractive) Pressures

My focus on better understanding the intersection between development, the environment, and migration is considered within a forthcoming book chapter in the Palgrave Handbook of Social Change titled “Social Change in Relation to Extractivism and Social-Environmental Conflicts in Peru” (2022), and a previous article, “Reemphasizing Rational Choice in Community Mobilization: Comparing Case Studies of Mining in Southern Peru”, Social Movement Studies (2020). In these works I study the struggle by local populations against powerful global corporations. Investigation focused on a critical issue for local communities: whether or not they can pursue grassroots development on their own terms when facing external mining pressure. The research adds to our understanding of social movements theory, as well as the reasons that some rural communities are better able to oppose externally-imposed mining pressure. The findings have real-world implications for future interaction between companies and local communities, demonstrating how the latter can better protect themselves from unwelcome and potentially harmful mining, while promoting their desired form of grassroots development.

4. Integration of (Environmentally) Displaced Persons in Developed Economies

One aspect of this research examines persons displaced by environmental changes. Background research is based on a presentation at the “Climate Displacement, Migration, and Relocation” symposium, as well as time as a consultant for the World Bank’s Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD), when I researched the integration of forcibly displaced persons, whether approved asylum seekers or resettled refugees, in more-developed economies. The goal of my most recent study is to increase understanding of a particular aspect of climate resilience – how some climate-affected persons cannot remain in situ, while others migrate or are displaced, seeking to build better lives in a new location. What are the different situations and needs depending on the country the displacees move to?

Selected Publications


  • “Social Change in Relation to Extractivism and Social-Environmental Conflicts in Peru”, book chapter in the Palgrave Handbook of Social Change (forthcoming 2023)

  • “A Clean Air Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)”, book chapter in the Springer Handbook on Air Quality and Climate Change (forthcoming 2023)


  • "Environmental and Sustainability Implications of the Ukraine War for East and South Asia”, The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Issue Brief (2022)

  • “An Integrated and Inclusive Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) Strategy in Asia”, book chapter in Reducing Emissions of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Perspectives on Law, Policy and Science (2022)

  • “From ‘Resource Wars’ to ‘Resources in Wars’”, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (2022)

  • “The Sustainability of Food in Japan”, Tokyo Foundation (2022)


  • “Urban Consumers and Natural Resources: An Ontology of Disconnection”, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (2021)

  • “What’s in ASEAN’s First State of Climate Change Report?”, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (2021), contributor

  • “Perspectives on Teaching in Japan During the Covid-19 Era”, Tokyo Foundation (2021)


  • “Reemphasizing Rational Choice in Community Mobilization: Comparing Case Studies of Mining in Southern Peru”, Social Movement Studies (2020)

  • A Net-Zero World -2050 Japan-: Insight into essential changes for a sustainable future”, The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (2020) contributor

  • “Climate change threatens sakura, sushi and sake”, Nikkei Asian Review (2020)


  • “Nexus between economy-wide metal inputs and the deterioration of sustainable development goals”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling (2019) co-author

  • “Our health, our planet: a cross-sectional analysis on the association between health consciousness and pro-environmental behavior among health professionals”, International Journal of Environmental Health Research (2019) co-author

  • “Indonesia ‘discards’ its capital Jakarta for a new one, but we can’t just dispose of cities”, The Conversation (2019)


  • “Evidence-based Behavioral Nudges for CO2 Reduction”, Japanese Ministry of the Environment (2018) co-author


  • “Supporting Two Families: Remittance-Sending and the Integration of Immigrants in the United States”, The Tokyo Foundation (2017)

  • "Immigration, Trump, and Agenda-Setting in the 2016 Election", The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs (2017)


  • “Can Recycling Reduce Forced Displacement?”, Praxis: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security (2016)