Introduction: The Dynamics of Sustainability and Environmental Governance in the Asia Pacific

  • Helen JamesEmail author


Challenges to achieving sustainable communities and societies in the Asia Pacific are daunting. As Cribb (Chap.  3, this volume) shows, human actions and interests guide environmental policies rather than scientific understanding. When politicians continue to support and subsidize the coal and oil industries in defiance of scientific data showing that use of fossil fuels for energy generation is the most significant factor contributing to increasing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, their decisions arise from self-interest, not cerebral comprehension of the risk to future quality of life in human societies posed by such policies. The politics of the environment are strongly associated with conflicting interests. The chapters in this volume put these conflicting interests under the spotlight; they examine the multitude of ways how quality of life in human societies is subject to exploitation, degradation and impoverishment of the spiritual and material well-being and the ways how human beings seek to challenge, adapt and overcome the societal limitations arising from continued exploitation of the environmental envelope.


  1. UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015–2030. Accessed 27 June 2018.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia PacificAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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