Vietnam and the neighbouring countries of Southeast Asia face diverse challenges created by the rapid evolution of their social, economic and environmental systems and resources. Taking a multidisciplinary perspective, this book provides a comprehensive assessment of the Vietnamese situation, identifying the factors shaping social vulnerability and resilience to environmental change and considering prospects for sustainable development.
‘The book will appeal and be instructive to members of the scientific community who already consider or wish to learn more about the human element to environmental change … provides a useful examination of how the people of Vietnam have responded to these changes and the social vulnerability, adaptation and resiliance that governs how they will respond to changes in the future.’
– Land Degradation and Development, M.Simpson
A Land On Fire: The Environmental Consequences Of The Southeast Asian Boom
by James Fahn
Published by Basic Books, 2003
The future of Earth’s environment will be decided in Asia, home to 60 percent of the world’s population and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. As an award-winning investigative journalist based in Bankok, James Fahn spent a decade grappling with the challenges facing the region’s mega-cities, tropical forests, coastlines, and societies dashing toward modernity. In A Land on Fire, he shares his findings – the profound implications for global issues such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the greening of world trade. He explores Southeast Asia’s environmental battles through the eyes of the people fighting them, and recounts his many adventures while covering them. Whether chasing down log smugglers along the Thai-Burmese border, exposing the dumping of toxic mercury into the Gulf of Thailand by multinational oil corporations, or covering the controversy surrounding the filming of the movie The Beach, Fahn provides unique insight into the relationship between sustainable development and democracy, the crippling impact of corruption, and the environmental challenges facing us all.
“Along the Mekong, from northern Tibet to Lijiang, from Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh to Can Lo, I moved from one world to another, among cultural islands often ignorant of each other’s presence. Yet each island, as if built on shifting sands and eroded and reshaped by a universal sea, was re-forming itself, or was being remolded, was expanding its horizons or sinking under the rising waters of a cultural global warming. It was a journey between worlds, worlds fragiley conjoined by a river both ominous and luminescent, muscular and bosomy, harsh and sensuous.”
From windswept plateaus to the South China Sea, the Mekong flows for three thousand miles, snaking its way through Southeast Asia. Long fascinated with this part of the world, former New York Times correspondent Edward Gargan embarked on an ambitious exploration of the Mekong and those living within its watershed. The River’s Tale is a rare and profound book that delivers more than a correspondent’s account of a place. It is a seminal examination of the Mekong and its people, a testament to the their struggles, their defeats and their victories.
Soul of the Tiger: Searching for Nature’s Answers in Southeast Asia
by Jeffrey A. McNeely and Paul Spencer Sochaczewski
Published by University of Hawai’I Press, 1995
In Soul of the Tiger, conservationists Jeffrey McNeely and Paul Sochaczewski draw on more than two decades of experience in Southeast Asia to examine the relationship between its people and animals. What, they wonder, has this relationship meant in the past? How is it changing, and what relevance might it have for the future? Combining sound scholarship with an engaging style, their fascinating and often humorous accounts reveal the vital connection between rural people and wildlife: between the Bornean farmer and the yellow wagtail, without whose arrival rice goes unplanted; between the wife in Papua New Guinea and her pigs, whose breeding rate determines when she gets a break from housework and when her husband goes to war; between the guards in Java’s Ujung Kulon National Park and the rhinoceros, whose urine they collect as a cure for earaches. The authors identify four major ecocultural revolutions that have significantly altered the relationship between people and nature. They suggest that a fifth revolution, characterized by respect and understanding of the traditional knowledge and insight reflected in myth and memory, will enable modern society to develop nature conservation programs with a chance of lasting success.