Traditional and Modern Approaches to the Environment on the Pacific Rim

Tensions and Values

Edited by Harold Coward
Foreword by Maurice Strong

Subjects: Environmental Studies, Comparative Religion, Asian Studies
Paperback : 9780791438466, 260 pages, July 1998
Hardcover : 9780791438459, 260 pages, July 1998

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Table of contents




Part I: Tensions Between Traditions and Modern Development

Roots and Values Inherent in Modern Development
Ivan Head

The Pacific after Rio: Population, Consumption, and the Environment
Arthur Hanson

Modern Communications and Opportunities for Pro-Environmental Networking in East Asia
Jan Walls

Part II: Belief Systems, Institutions, and the Environment

Traditional and Modern Institutions and the Commons
Elizabeth A. Wilman and R. Douglas Burch

Ecofeminism, Religion, Gender, Hierarchy, and Environment
Rosemary Radford Reuther

Pacific North American First Peoples and the Environment
Nancy Turner and Richard Atleo

Mountains, Water, Wood, and Fish: Chinese and Japanese Perspectives on Nature and Ecology
Jan Walls and Masao Kunihiro

Immigration, Environment, and Public Policy in Australia
Fazal Rizvi

Part III: Reconciling Traditional and Modern Approaches

Forest Management in British Columbia: The Transition to Sustainability
Stephen Owen and David Greer

Water in the Columbia River Basin: From a Source of Permanence to an Instrument for Economic Growth
David H. Getches

Changed Land, Changed Lives: Energy and the Aborigines in the Russian Pacific
Vassily I. Sokolov

Social Values and Development Patterns in South China: The Case of the Pearl River Delta Region in the 1900s
Graham E. Johnson and Yuen-fong Woon


About the Authors


An interdisciplinary exploration of the tension between traditional and modern approaches to the environment in Pacific Rim countries.


The most vigorously developing economies and largest markets today are located on the Pacific Rim, suggesting that the economic "center of gravity" is shifting from the shores of the North Atlantic. Yet the Pacific Rim is also the location of much of the earth's natural beauty as well as the home of still thriving traditional aboriginal societies. The Pacific Basin's environmental assets and its aboriginal peoples are confronted by the forces of development. The resulting tension between traditional and modern approaches to the environment are addressed in this book by an interdisciplinary team of scientists, social scientists, and humanists.

Part I introduces the tensions between traditional and modern values; Part II examines the problem in more detail with regard to the relationships that exist between some belief systems, institutions, and the environment; while Part III presents case studies from Canada, the United States, Russia, and China where attempts have been made to reconcile the tension between traditional and modern approaches to the environment.

Harold Coward is Director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society and Professor of History, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of Derrida and Indian Philosophy and Jung and Eastern Thought; editor of Hindu Ethics: Purity, Abortion, and Euthanasia (with Julius Lipner and Katherine K. Young); Derrida and Negative Theology (with Toby Foshay); Modern Indian Responses to Religious Pluralism; and Population, Consumption, and the Environment: Religious and Secular Responses, all published by SUNY Press. In addition, he is the editor of the SUNY Series in Religious Studies.


"…a volume that furthers the conversation around environment and development, while at the same time focusing on a fast-developing large region of the planet, the Pacific Rim … this book makes at least two much-needed contributions to the literature on the environment: (1) it reinforces the crucial religious/culture component of any viable solutions to the environmental crisis and (2) it does so in a manner that shows the effective functionality of meanings and values in the construction of society, in particular a society that takes the natural world seriously. " — Studies in Religion

"In this book the thematic surveys of the Pacific region range from case studies of the Colorado River, the forests of Western Canada, to energy in Siberia, and urban growth in the Pearl River Delta of southern China. These chapters offer fresh insights into the various tensions between traditional and modern environment and development values in the Pacific. The broad interdisciplinary nature of this study makes it a unique and important contribution to both scholars and those who make policy decisions in both government and the private sector. " — Maurice Strong, from the Foreword