A Land on Fire: The Environmental Consequences of the Southeast Asian Boom

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9780813342672: A Land on Fire: The Environmental Consequences of the Southeast Asian Boom
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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.

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About the Author:

James David Fahn spent nearly a decade working at The Nation, an English-language daily newspaper based in Bangkok, where he served as environment editor. A former Watson Fellow, he accepted the UN Environment Program's Global 500 award for The Nation's environmental coverage in 1997 and received an award from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in recognition of his work in service to Thailand. He currently works at the Ford Foundation and lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Fahn, a longtime environmental editor for the Nation, an English-language Bangkok daily newspaper, bases this study of the precarious state of Southeast Asia's environment on his own research. Focusing on Thailand, Fahn demonstrates how industrialization and the expanding economy turned Bangkok, Thailand's capital, into a congested, traffic-choked city, with dangerously polluted air. The sharp increase in tourism has resulted in overdevelopment of formerly pristine beaches, the destruction of coral reefs and a construction boom in golf courses that require enormous amounts of water (a scarce resource) and ground chemicals that leach into and pollute the surrounding water supply. In nuanced and nonjudgmental language, the author examines how unrestricted logging so decimated Thai forests that timber began to be illegally smuggled from Burma. While the writing is dense, Fahn clearly explains the complex environmental problems in Southeast Asia. Although regulations exist to protect Thailand's environment, government corruption has weakened their enforcement. With a large poor population, Thailand lacks a substantial middle class that, in developed countries, can successfully advocate for cleaner air and water. The author also points out that Asia as well as Africa and Latin America will suffer the most from a worldwide warming trend. According to Fahn, the best hope for the world's environment lies in global cooperation.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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