For the authors of these papers, as is true for many of us, there is a special urgency associated with the acceleration of environmental degradation and its negative impact on individual human lives to which we bear witness in Asia and elsewhere. While truly “natural” disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis are strikingly devastating, it is the destruction of environments from anthropogenic sources that are often the most frustrating. That is, we believe that because human beings caused the problems, we should be able to fix them, and, indeed, as humanists it is axiomatic that we are committed to improving the human condition. Over the past few decades, however, there has been a growing awareness that human interaction with the natural environment may be creating a world, for the most part, unfit for human habitation. It is out of this awareness that the term “Anthropocene” has emerged, describing that epoch during which human activity has reached such a level of intensity that it has had a discernable impact on the earth itself. Thus, as these writers suggest, it is imperative for us as regional specialists to engage in conversations across disciplines and geographic areas that provide opportunities to increase our understanding of the Anthropocene in Asia in all of its local and global dimensions.

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