Organized Panel Session
Scientists have proposed that the impact of human activities on the planet is such that humankind has become a geological force that has transformed the way the earth system works and that the modern era constitutes a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene—the age of humankind. Climate change and the accelerating loss of biodiversity are only the best known manifestations of this new epoch. On an increasingly urbanizing planet, the challenge of the future will be how to adapt to these dramatically changed circumstances. What new forms of community, politics and economic activity are emerging in Asia to suggest how the most populous region of the planet will cope with these changes? The three papers on this panel, originally presented in the AAS sponsored/ LUCE funded workshop on the Anthropocene in Asia, offer answers. John Zinda examines the implementation of forest policy in China to highlight the emergence of a more ecologically and politically resilient state, but at the cost of a more democratic order. Philip Paje describes how state driven policies to mitigate the impact of disasters and of climate change is realized at the local level in the urban Philippines, in cooperation with the private sector. Finally, Victoria Nguyen contrasts two approaches to sustainability in urban China: that of the state, in which environmental precarity becomes naturalized through management of its consequences, versus local modes of sustainability in Beijing’s historic old city that make life legible and meaningful.