In Asia, adult sun bears are poached for body parts which are thought to have medicinal properties. Many orphaned cubs, with their small size and endearing features, are kept illegally as pets. Malaysian ecologist Dr Wong Siew Te, or “papa bear”, has dedicated his life to saving the world’s smallest bear from extinction.
Most urban populations in the world are far removed from the unfolding and the consequences of global warming. Therefore, their reflections on global warming tend to revolve around corporate greed, economic policies and the nature of expectations people have from development. In her book, Caring for Glaciers: Land, Animals, and Humanity in the Himalayas, Karine Gagné turns to the community of elderly farmers and herders in Ladakh to understand how they make sense of the melting of the glaciers, a phenomenon directly visible to the people living there. She finds that their responses to questions about the melting of the glaciers invariably involve the words “One day the Pakistanis came …”.
Geography used to be considered destiny, but this once-popular notion that terrain and climate drove history has gone out of fashion. Now a new generation of environmental historians are bringing hard, physical materiality back into mainstream history with a more nuanced approach, looking at the historically situated interaction between people and their physical environments.
Hong Kong is a surprisingly green place: the skyscrapers that form the stunning cityscapes that are the territory’s most common and iconic images hug the coast. Some three-quarters of Hong Kong is in varying degree countryside and 40 percent set aside as parkland.
Brian Eyler isn’t a fan of dams, perhaps any of them, but at least not those that are, or may be, on the Mekong.
A tiger hunt! In No Beast so Fierce, Dane Huckelbridge tells the exciting true story of the extirpation of a man-eating tiger in colonial India in 1907. This was no safari with a fleet of elephants and an army of bearers. It was one Irishman with a rifle and three cartridges on foot against a tiger that had killed and eaten about 440 persons over a span of about a decade. The numbers are inexact because deaths of rural women collecting firewood weren’t carefully recorded in those years.
As oceans warm and ice caps melt, it’s hard to be optimistic about slowing, let alone stopping, global warming. Barbara Finamore nonetheless finds reason for optimism in her authoritative look at China’s unfolding energy transition.