Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Steven Vanderheiden

Second Advisor

David Zierler

Third Advisor

Lucy Chester


The issue of climate change in society and within the government has not received the necessary attention to drive forward with the appropriate policies that combat climate change and its impacts. This thesis examines the intersection of climate science and violent uprisings via a case study of Egypt. I frame the issue through a security lens by connecting the effects of climate change on the physical land of Egypt to the political and social problems brought to light during the Arab Spring. I argue that the causal connection between climate change and violent uprisings is made through an examination of human security and the ways in which it was threatened by climate change. In the case of Egypt, climate change is responsible for the rising sea level of the Mediterranean Sea that weakened the agricultural capacity of the land. In turn, I argue that the state of Egypt was unable to properly address demands for food, directly threatening the level of human security of the state. The paper outlines the fact that while there were a number of economic, social, and political issues already present within Egypt, climate change served as a threat multiplier pushing Egyptians over the edge.