Post-Typhoon Haiyan: Challenges and Opportunities for the Philippines (part 2 of 2)

Memo #252

(See Part 1 of this Memo)

By Leonora C. Angeles – nora.angeles [at]

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, even as climate justice advocates raise concerns in regional and international arenas, post-disaster reconstruction and long-term recovery challenges confront Philippine local and national governments and civil society. There are some hard-learned lessons by international development agencies and… Continue reading

China’s Environmental Education: A Mandate Unfulfilled

Memo #245

By Rob Efird – efirdr [at]

China’s environmental impacts are front-page news. We have all seen the pictures of smog-choked cities and fouled waterways, and many of us know that China is the single largest source of the carbon emissions that drive global warming. It is encouraging, then, that in 2003 China’s Ministry of Education mandated environmental… Continue reading

Time to Act: Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines

Pacific Prospective features the research of graduate students.

Memo #243

By Sarah Thomas – sarah.thomas [at]

For a country like the Philippines, which is feeling the effects of climate change and has seen significant changes in weather patterns over the last few years, the need for adaptation is poignant. With floods now an annual occurrence… Continue reading

Japan as Test Case for a New Age: The Importance of Understanding Local Places

Memo #240

By Anthony S. Rausch – asrausch [at]

Japan faces an aging population and rural out-migration, a sluggish economy and drastic divisions between urban-rural economies, a critical techno-environmental catastrophe and vital debates regarding energy policy. A bleak set of problems, but also a fair representation of some of the issues the… Continue reading

Water, Scarcity, and Tibetan Plateau Frontiers

Memo #142

Theme Editors: Tashi Tsering and Jack Hayes

Freshwater (in)security is quickly rising as a critical global challenge. Today, March 22, is World Water Day. The focus is freshwater and measures for conservation and management.

Last fall, Asia Pacific Memo published four Memos as part of its Theme, “Water, Scarcity, and Tibetan Plateau Frontiers.”

Freshwater security is a global… Continue reading

The Disappearing Rivers of India

Memo #120 – The vital rivers of the state of Uttarakhand in northwestern India may soon disappear. A multitude of feeder streams and tributaries that run through the state carve tight passages through steep mountains before joining the sacred river Ganga (Ganges). Ancient and contemporary Hindu traditions are steeped in worship of these tributary rivers, and their sacred confluences are named “prayags”. But Uttarakhand is part of a frantic push across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and China to harness the rivers of the Himalayas for hydroelectric power.[1] This movement threatens to alter entire river systems in an unprecedented way. Continue reading

Polluted Water Challenges China’s Engineering Efforts

Memo #114 – Water is central to China’s environmental challenges. While not water-short overall, the geographic and temporal variations in China’s precipitation are extreme. Some areas suffer from dangerously lower per capita fresh water availability. Water conservation innovation does happen, but shortages usually elicit familiar engineering responses such as dams and diversions. Most notable is the South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP), which aims to take nearly 45 cubic kilometres (45 billion cubic metres) of water annually from the water rich Yangtze River basin to water scarce regions around the Yellow River basin in the north. The diversion would essentially replace the Yellow River’s total annual runoff of 30 billion cubic metres. Continue reading

Water Conservation on the Tibetan Plateau

Memo #112 – China’s most pressing water issues may not be its maritime claims in the South China Sea but matters of freshwater security. For many analysts, China’s domestic and international water security begins and ends with waters of the Tibetan Plateau. And the picture they paint is, to say the least, bleak. Unfortunately this ignores many grassroots and local water conservation efforts in western China. Continue reading

China’s Plans to Divert Water on the Tibetan Plateau

Memo #110 – The prospect of China controlling the taps of Asia’s main rivers is a subject of intense debate. Downstream countries are understandably concerned. But Chinese experts say it is the Chinese who should be most worried about its government’s plans. Continue reading

Interview with Dai Qing, the Environmental Activist, Investigative Journalist, and Writer

Memo #39 – The indomitable Dai Qing (戴晴) has chosen to demand answers to uncomfortable questions and bring to account a system that dreams big dreams but harms those it is meant to serve. Ms. Dai is perhaps best known for her active opposition to the Three Gorges Dam project, which led to her imprisonment for ten months in 1989. Her new work with her long-term partners Toronto-based environmental NGO Probe International is an oral history of Beijing residents’ responses to their city’s water crisis. Rapid development has drastically reduced the capital’s water supply and sparked a massive new project to divert (highly polluted) water from the south to the north. This project would displace several hundred thousand people en route and promises to be at least as problematic and disruptive as the Three Gorges Dam. Continue reading