Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

The Education and Sustainability book is in press

In case you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard much from me lately, for the last few months I’ve been busy preparing the manuscript that just went to the publisher.  I can now officially say the following are “in press” (and not just “in preparation”):

Merrill, M.Y., Burkhardt-Holm, P., Chang, C.H.., Islam, M.S., Chang, Y. (editors), Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia.  (edited volume at Routledge, Singapore, due out mid-2017)

Merrill, M. Y. Introduction: Education for Sustainability in Asian Contexts, (Chapter 1). In M. Y. Merrill, P. Burkhardt-Holm, C.-H. Chang, M. S. Islam, & Y. Chang (editors), Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia (pp. tbd). Singapore: Routledge.
Chang, Y., Dang, T.Q.T., Merrill, M.Y.  Economics Approaches to Sustainability: Methods and Applications, (Chapter 3) in M. Y. Merrill, P. Burkhardt-Holm, C.-H. Chang, M. S. Islam, & Y. Chang (editors), Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia.  (pp. tbd). Singapore: Routledge.
Merrill, M. Y., Chang, C.-H., & Burkhardt-Holm, P. Conclusion: The Current State of Higher Education for Sustainability in Monsoon Asia, (Chapter 17).  In M. Y. Merrill, P. Burkhardt-Holm, C.-H. Chang, M. S. Islam, & Y. Chang (editors), Education and Sustainability: Paradigms, Policies and Practices in Asia (pp. tbd). Singapore: Routledge.

The book emerged from the conferences and community of practice I helped to organize around themes of Education for Sustainability in Asia. We had chapters that were submitted by authors in Singapore, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Thailand, China (mainland, Hong Kong and Macau), Indonesia and the Philippines.

More than half the world's population lives within 4100km of Guiyang, Guizhou Province, Southwest China.

There are more people living inside this circle than outside of it.
You may remember that putting this book together was a process I started a couple of years ago, not long after I started my job in Singapore:

For the Introduction to the book, I updated and reconsidered these comparisons (for the countries that are actually included in the book).  The conclusion then looks at how those contexts relate to the differences described in the preceding chapters. It also makes some comparisons between those efforts toward Education for Sustainability (or Education for Sustainable Development) in these countries of monsoon Asia, and some examples from Europe (the Master’s in Sustainable Development program Patricia Holm chairs at University of Basel) and North America (the Sustainable Cultures class I designed and taught at Cabrillo College).

It’s so good to have this stage of the project done! Now, back to that job search

Latest article on the Palm Oil threat to the Leuser Ecosystem

A recent summary of the current challenges facing Leuser, where I went 16 years ago to study orangutans, then watched their home being desecrated by the relentless chainsaws.

“Right now, huge swaths of vital forest habitat in Indonesia are being cut, cleared and burnt to the ground to make way for industrial-scale palm oil inyourpalm480pxplantations. These illegal operations produce a cheap supply of palm oil to a voracious international market that is growing at an exponential rate. Demand for this vegetable oil has sky-rocketed in the past decade as palm oil companies have managed to keep consumers in the dark about the hideous crimes being committed against humanity, endangered creatures and the planet.

I hope I have managed to impart even a sliver of the exceptional uniqueness and immense beauty that is embodied by this special place. Only then can one begin to fully understand the weight of loss that is sustained with every single fallen tree. Yet the true measure of this problem extends far beyond the initial insult of deforestation and spreads like a virus into lives of hundreds of innocent people and animals alike. ” ~Heather Rally

Note especially Michelle Desilets’ comment: “May I suggest readers have a look at campaigns by groups such as the Rainforest Action Network and the Union of Concerned Scientists to urge manufacturers and retailers to source only deforestation-free, conflict-free Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.”   This problem is so big and so pervasive that a handful of us tree-huggers refusing Oreos is going to barely make a dent – the companies involved won’t budge without a large, organized push.  So by all means, reduce your complicity, but don’t forget to organize and collaborate for maximum effect.

Sustainable Living, NTU Style

So, I’m finally moving into my first green building!  We’ve moved into one of the apartments at the top of Crescent Hall.  Erik has posted some pictures at colorjedi.tumblr.com, such as:

Crescent Hall, NTU, SingaporeClever features of this building include

  • the rainwater bioswale system you can see
  • shading structures to keep the direct sun out
  • some solar panels on the rooftops
  • double-glazed windows and insulation to keep the cool air in
  • air conditioners that are paid for with usage cards, so users can track how much that luxury is costing them
  • water heaters that benefit from waste heat from air conditioner use, and have “eco” mode (only heat on demand) as a default, and a vacation mode to not heat at all

Learn more about NTU’s sustainable building efforts here.

 

Link

Singapore’s outsized footprint

Singapore is putting some efforts into improving sustainability, but that doesn’t mean we’re outpacing the problem.

From Channel News Asia:

Singapore was found to have the seventh-largest ecological footprint [per capita]– a measure of the population’s demands on natural resources – out of more than 150 countries.

MtFaberStandard view - Photo by Erik S. Peterson

Read more: Lion City’s green ranking worsens

And then there was the transboundary haze at the beginning of the week:

Haze rating Monday night – mostly from fires on Sumatra.

So while there are glimmers of hope in the smog, it’s not all sunshine and roses here on the little island of Singapore.  There’s plenty of work left to do!

Link

Evidence of illegal logging activity detected by conservation drones in Gunung Leuser National Park

More logging in Leuser – ouch! At least the Gunung Leuser National Park officials seem to have given an appropriate response. Here’s hoping those conservation drones can catch more illegal loggers before they do much damage.

The ConservationDrones Asia Team and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) flew two separate missions over a part of the Gunung Leuser National Park (Indonesia) between two time periods barely a few months apart. In these two drone images you can see clear evidence of illegal logging within the national park. The loggers even left a strip of forest on the river bank to conceal the patch of logged forest from view. These images were given to park officials who subsequently acted to stop the logging activities.

Before

After

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Video

Conservation Drones?

When I was slogging through the swamps and slipping down the mud-slicked trails of Sumatra, following orangutans, I often daydreamed about how the right tech would make the job so much easier.  I even started to write a novel about it.

Now one of those gizmos I so wished for is a reality: small aircraft with cameras that can get above the canopy to see what’s going on up there from a much better vantage than on the ground.  And a colleague and friend, Serge Wich, who worked in Zaire and then on Sumatra at roughly the same time as I did (but always much more skillfully and proficiently over much longer timeframes), got some support from National Geographic to set the things up.  Here’s some video of my buddy Serge Wich talking to Nat Geo reporters:

and here’s a TED talk by his co-conspiritor at ConservationDrones.org, Lian Pin Koh:

Great job, team!

Link

Palm Oil Updates from UCS

Union of Concerned Scientists is starting a new campaign to get McDonald’s to “make a firm commitment to use only deforestation-free palm oil.”

“Tell McDonald’s to go deforestation-free!” Act Now »

For more information on the fast food sector and palm oil, read [UCS’s] latest blog on the issue, Palm Oil, Deforestation, and the Fast Food Industry: Would You Like a Side of Forests with That? and our new report, Donuts, Deodorant, Deforestation: Scoring America’s Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments.