Article Title

Asia Pacific Perspectives Vol. 15 No. 2, Spring/Summer 2018

Document Type

Full Issue



Editor's Introduction by Melissa S. Dale

The editor reflects on this issue's new articles, which focus on climate change as it is being experienced across Asia, and the different local responses it has provoked. From China to India to Southeast Asia, the relationship of nature to each local worldview shapes how communities view climate change, its effects, and their responses to it.

Fengshui Forests as A Socio-natural Reservoir in the Face of Climate Change and Environmental Transformation by Christopher R. Coggins and Jesse Minor

Chinese lineage villages are social-ecological systems (SESs) designed according to principles of fengshui (“wind-water”). Fengshui is a composite of cosmological beliefs and landscape management strategies, including the protection of sacred groves, aimed at optimizing the collective, long-term wellbeing of lineage groups by enhancing long-term natural and social resilience. Along with other adaptive management features, village fengshui forests promote social-ecological vigor by conserving plant, soil, and water resources, enhancing social memory, and serving as living models of resilience in the face of social, economic, and political changes. Modern programs to transform rural communities through state-led agricultural production systems included bans on fengshui practice and the destruction of forests. Many communities protected their fengshui forests, providing contemporary opportunities for local, regional, national, and international conservation initiatives incorporating locally preserved forests. Drawing on field studies in 57 villages in five provinces, we document the centrality of fengshui forests for the protection of biodiversity and regional resilience. We examine post-reform environmental policy, including state initiatives to map, describe, and protect fengshui forests in conjunction with large-scale reforestation efforts. Supranational agreements on biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation provide impetus for state support of community-based forest protection, with great potential for adaptive governance regionwide.

Climate Change Impacts on Philippine Communities: An Overview of the Current Literature and Policies by Heather Tribe

This paper aims to explore the impacts of industries and climate change on communities in the Philippines. This will be done through a review of relevant social and environmental literature and then the application of this to the current political, environmental, and economic state of the Philippines. The economy of the Philippines is unique, while a significant proportion is still from agriculture, mining, and other primary industries, the Philippines also has a significant proportion of income from a rapidly growing services sector, including tourism, business process outsourcing, and overseas Filipino workers. The article will discuss the expected impacts of climate change on the low-lying collection of islands, and the subsequent consequences this will have on Filipino industry. Further consideration will be given to the anticipated impacts climate change will have on public health, and how theoretically this could interact with the economy to play out for communities in the Philippines.

Eco-swaraj vs. Global Eco-catastrophe by Ashish Kothari

Across the world, "ordinary" people are coming up with extraordinary responses to the deepening ecological crises facing humanity. Whether in the form of resistance or of response, people are finding creative alternatives to the dominant ideology of ‘development.’ India’s “eco-swaraj” movement is just such an alternative, playing out across hundreds of initiatives in local Indian communities, and linking to similar approaches arising in other global contexts.

The Philippine Environment: Epicenter of Wealth, Beauty and Destruction by Enrique Quezon Avanceña

Despite the great natural bounty possessed by the Philippines, the island nation’s environment is at grave risk from pollution, depletion and climate change impacts. Will pleas from spiritual leaders make an impact in time to curb the nation’s environmental destruction?

"Wave" by M. R. Hasan

The people of coastal Bangladesh are greatly impacted by the effects of climate change, with many riverine villages disrupted or destroyed by temperature change, flooding and erosion. As major rivers like Padma, Jamuna, Meghna, Brahmaputra and other rivers along the coast erode massively, the 'waves' - whether present or absent - destroy hope, taking away precious land and livelihoods, leaving nothing but parched, cracked river-beds.

Eco-Criticism in Japan (2018), Wake, Suga and Masami, editors (Review) by Stephanie A. Siehr

Viewed through the lens of traditional Japanese poetry and artwork, Japan is a place of beautiful yet fleeting cherry blossoms and waves so fearsome they are known world-wide by their native name of tsunami. From the onset of Western industrialization and world wars, Japan has also become known for man-made disasters inflicted on nature and society, and these disasters figure prominently in modern Japanese literature and film. This new book explores Japanese literature and film through the themes of environmental crisis, harmony with nature (or lack thereof), and the 'slow' injustice of long-term environmental damage.