Globally, Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. In just the past few months alone, the region has already experienced a typhoon in the Philippines, two tsunamis in Indonesia, and a tropical storm in Thailand. In the face of the complex challenges that climate change poses to the region, journalists are in a unique position to inform the future of the region. We look at some climate journalism highlights on Southeast Asia in the past year.
In this series, Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Filipina street and documentary photographer, explores the devastating climate impacts of Indonesia’s palm oil industry on the country’s forgotten: local farmers, indigenous communities, and migrant workers.
In Cambodia, too, climate change is forcing rural farmers to migrate to the cities where they are vulnerable to the risks of human trafficking and slavery. In this investigative piece, Kasztelan and Chhit demonstrate how “a legion of Cambodians are trapped as debt slaves in the brick-making industry as skylines and climate change expand.”
Even Southeast Asia’s most wealthiest country isn’t immune to the impacts of climate change. This six-part multimedia series by Singapore’s Straits Times looks at the impact of climate change on Southeast Asia’s coral reefs, water supplies, refugee populations, rice plantations, mosquito-transmitted diseases, and green energy.
In this article, part of a six-part series on infrastructure projects in Peninsular Malaysia, the author explores how rapid development in George Town, Penang, is worsening the impacts of climate change on the island. An excellent analysis exploring how this UNESCO heritage site is grappling with economic development, environmental sustainability, and global climate change.
It’s impossible to understand the future of climate change in Southeast Asia without first understanding China’s plans in the region. This article isn’t about climate change in Southeast Asia, but about some of the gepolitical decisions that will shape it. As Hilton writes, “China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, has been described as the most ambitious infrastructure project in history. It is a plan to finance and build roads, railways, bridges, ports, and industrial parks abroad, beginning with China’s neighbors in Central, South, and Southeast Asia and eventually reaching Western Europe and across the Pacific to Latin America. The more than 70 countries that have formally signed up to participate account for two-thirds of the world’s population, 30 percent of global GDP, and an estimated 75 percent of known energy reserves.”