According to Cambodian lore, the ocean was once ruled by the king of the Naga empire. The Naga were an amphibious people who made their home between land and water. A prince discovered this underworld when he traveled to an island and met its princess on the shore. Naturally, they fell in love. After the prince proved his mettle, the king blessed their marriage by swallowing the ocean, revealing the land below. “The land born of water was Cambodia,” writes journalist Abby Seiff in her new book, Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia.

It is widely accepted that Japan is a country deeply in touch with the natural world. From wall hangings of cranes and turtles, to carp banners flapping in the breeze, haiku about a frog in an old pond, and folk tales about foxes and badgers, Japanese arts and culture are suffused with images of nature. Moreover, in the present day, tourism is sold using images of cherry blossoms, autumn colors, and monkeys bathing in hot springs.

Environmental Movements and Politics of the Asian Anthropocene is a collection of eleven academic essays, by multiple scholars, edited by Paul Jobin, Ming-sho Ho, and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, that focus on the dynamic interplay between political systems and environmental movements in seven of the ten ASEAN regional economies, plus Taiwan and Hong Kong, over the past two decades.

Liz PY Chee vividly remembers the first time she visited a bear farm. It was 2009, and Chee, who was working for a Singapore-based animal welfare group, flew to Laos to tour a Chinese-owned facility. The animals Chee saw “were hardly recognizable as bears,” she later wrote, “because they had rubbed most of their fur off against the bars of the cages and had grown very long toenails through disuse of their feet.”