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Editor’s Message

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I hope readers are anticipating an improved summer 2021 relative to what many experienced last year. As this issue goes to press, the magnitude of India’s COVID-19 crisis became apparent. Our thoughts and prayers go to the Indian nation.

This issue’s special section is “Asia’s Environments: National, Regional, and Global Perspectives.” In contemplating what might be the most useful approach to this topic, a reoccurring thought became my conceptual foundation for this issue’s theme: at the most general level, humans desire necessities, luxuries, and the chance to live in a world that is not toxic. Economies and ecosystems are integrated. Some environmental and economic development problems can be easily solved, but most are more complex and lend themselves to unintended consequences and often, partial solutions. Environmental and economic education begin with this basic understanding and to glibly dismiss either aforementioned human desire has the potential to maximize problems. To put it another way, it is critical for young people to understand these truths. Consideration of multiple evidential perspectives regarding economic development and living in an environmentally safer world is an important educational first step.

Reuel Hanks’s “‘Louder than Words’: A Profile of the Destruction of the Aral Sea and Its Consequences” is a careful account of the twentieth century’s worst environmental disaster; USSR central planners’ willful destruction of the Aral Sea through sacrificing environmental impact to massively increase cotton production. Pamela McElwee, who earned a joint PhD in Anthropology and Forestry, in “The Politics of Climate Vulnerability in Asia,” uses Việt Nam as a case study illustrating how government officials, not only in Việt Nam but other developing countries as well, manipulate international aid programs to both procure funds to reduce climate change and acquire economic development funds that increase the probability of climate change disasters such as flooding.

Ken Schoolland and Barun Mitra’s “Developments for Tribal Farmers in Rural India” and Thomas Wilson and his coauthors’ article “Turtles All the Way Down: An Update on the Asian Turtle Crisis with New Directions” are both solicited follow-up features that update readers on two environment-related articles published, respectively, almost five and ten years ago. In the India feature, readers learn how abjectly poor Indians, first granted property rights fourteen years ago, have subsequently fared. The turtle articles go back well over a decade to consider Asia’s turtle crisis. Links to the original articles are included in two editor’s messages in the issue.

Adam Liebman’s “Waste Politics in Asia and Global Repercussions” is an evidence-based analysis intended for students and teachers in developed countries, many of whom, after reading the essay, will most probably, at the least, have entirely new perspectives about recycling. Morris Rossabi’s “Mongolia’s Environmental Crises: An Introduction” gives readers recent historical context and a contemporary overview of the substantial environmental problems that exist in one of the world’s largest but least populated countries. Helen Kaibara’s account of a freewheeling guru’s efforts to save a river in “Cauvery Calling: A Possible Solution for a Dying River and Desperate Farmers” is one of the most interesting special section articles, in part because, as readers will learn, the strong support and opposition the project has garnered. The article appears as an exclusive online special section feature.

Special section teaching resources essays include what is intended to be an objective introductory analysis of the costs and benefits of renewable energy, as well as reviews of three environment-related documentaries crafted by the 2020 Franklin Buchanan Prize winner Gary Marcuse and his committed colleagues. Readers learn more about the documentaries, how to access them, and how to benefit from the thoughtful perspectives of the review essayists, all of whom have extensive teaching experience and an interest in the relationship between environmental and other human aspirations.

The non-thematic portion of the issue includes Tommy Lamont’s “Making China and India Great Again? Why China’s and India’s Paths to Power May Hit a Wall, Part II: Foreign Policy Challenges” (See EAA winter 2020 for “Part I: Domestic Policy Challenges”); Patit Mishra’s online supplement feature “India’s Historical Impact on Southeast Asia”; and two reviews of juvenile historical fiction, Julie Lee’s Freeman Book Award 2020 Young Adult/Middle School winner, Brother’s Keeper, and Diane Wolff ’s Batu, Khan of the Golden Horde: The Mongol Khans Conquer Russia.

Ezra Vogel, deservedly remembered for his multiple contributions to Asian studies and for his warmth and humility, passed away on December 20, 2020. Please read the “in memoriam” essays that appear in this issue.

The fall 2021 special section is “Engaging Asia: Film, Documentaries, and Television.” The winter 2021 and spring 2022 special sections comprise a two part series: “Asia in World History: Comparisons, Connections, and Conflicts.” The deadline for winter 2021 (Part 1) is August 1, 2021, and spring 2022 (Part 2) is November 30, 2021. The fall 2022 special section is “Teaching Asia in Middle Schools,” and the deadline for receipt of manuscripts is May 6, 2022. For information on two additional planned EAA issues, as well as author guidelines, please visit the EAA website: Nonthematic manuscripts are also considered for each issue.

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Cordially, Lucien Ellington

Editor: Education About Asia

Send formal EAA submissions to:

Jeffrey Melnik

Managing Editor, Education About Asia

261 CSOB, Dept. 2222

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN 37403

Phone: (423) 425-2118

Fax: (423) 425-5441

Email: (Please also copy the editor, Lucien Ellington, at