Written by Julien Laporte. Following the closing of Taiwan international borders in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tao people have seen an unexpectedly high number of visitors on their territory. Since 2020, they have been experiencing the consequences of that overtourism that calls for respectful and sustainable tourism.
Written by Tsaiying Lu. “Go Nuclear to go green.” Under this catchphrase, during Taiwan’s 2018 referendum, pro-nuclear activists have successfully framed green energy as “unstable” and “unmatured” electricity-generating technology. They proposed to abolish Section 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which states terminating all nuclear power plants by 2025, was passed with a 40.27% approval. The result is a significant setback not only to President Tsai Ing-Wen’s (2016-2024) energy policy, “Nuclear-Free Homeland by 2025,” but also to offshore wind energy’s (OWE) development.
Written by Huang-Hsiung Hsu. Taiwan is currently suffering a severe drought. Water use restriction on agriculture, livelihood, and industry has been mounting since autumn 2020. No landfalling typhoons (except a minor one passing through the Luzon Strait in early November 2020 that brought very little precipitation) for the first time in 57 years led to our low water level in major reservoirs. These dry conditions were compounded by the following spring rainfall failure in 2021 (likely caused by the prevailing La Niña) that worsened the drought impacts. Nevertheless, a drought that usually lasted for few months was not uncommon in Taiwan and seemed to occur more frequently in recent decades.
Written by Dafydd Fell. Twenty-five years ago, Taiwan was amid the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis and its first direct presidential campaign. It was not only the closest China and Taiwan had come to military conflict since the late 1950s but also the moment that Taiwan was first internationally recognised as a full democracy. At this crucial moment in Taiwan’s modern history, the Green Party of England and Wales issued a press release with the headline ‘Penny Helps Taiwan Greens Win Seat.’
Written by Natasha Heller. Rising global temperature increases and predictions about sea levels can be abstract, even for adults. How can the phenomena of global warming be visualized? How can climate change and environmental degradation be made understandable by young children? The earth’s round shape, as imagined from space, lends itself to the addition of eyes and a mouth to convey unhappiness or illness on a global level. Distressed or lonely polar bears also convey the negative effects of global warming but are still quite distant from most children’s everyday lives.
Written by Brian Hioe. Taiwan’s international climate conference participation has been subject to the same dynamics applicable to other international organisations. However, Taiwan has often been pushed out because of Chinese pressure. Namely, when the Ma administration held power, Taiwan could participate as an observer in climate change summits that it was later excluded from when the Tsai administration took office.
Written by Milo Hsieh. Recently, discussions around energy have emerged again as interest groups fight over whether it is right for the Tsai administration to install a new natural gas receiving station in Taoyuan near an algae reef habitat. Although the term “algae reef (藻礁)” became social media’s hot topic in Taiwan for a while—similar to how “Salmon” has grabbed the attention of many these past weeks—underlying energy issues have not really been discussed.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Incident. It is also likely to be a decisive moment for Taiwan’s anti-nuclear movement. Taiwan’s voters will head for a referendum on August 28 to decide whether to reactive the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP).
Written by Ma’ili Yee. A year after losing two of its Pacific Island allies, Taiwan continues to feel the mounting pressure of Chinese influence in the South-Pacific ocean. Within recent years, China has pointedly increased its presence in the Pacific through financial aid, commercial trade, and high-level diplomatic engagement. The four Pacific states of Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau now compose nearly a third of the remaining countries that officially recognize the ROC. Despite their small geographic and economic size, Taiwan would be wise to recognize these Pacific island nations’ immense political weight and properly address their top concerns—sustainable development and climate change—through concerted foreign policy.
Written By Shun-nan Chiang. Taiwan and the Philippines have various points of connections regarding agricultural development. When I conducted my dissertation research on agriculture-nutrition linkages in the Philippines, I frequently encountered references to Taiwan in the Philippine agriculture sector. I was told by a Filipino geographer researching the Philippine agritourism policy that the government’s primary model was Taiwan’s farm tourism. Indeed, I soon discovered that a farm owner I met in a conference toured around Taiwan with a group of business owners to survey Taiwan’s farm tourism. The day I finished my fieldwork in the Philippines, I also met some governmental officers from Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture and other agencies. They have been collaborating on a project with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) since 2015.
Written by Natasha Heller. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that the world faces. A United Nations report has cautioned that greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity are at a record high, “with no signs of slowing down.” Many nations are recording weather extremes, higher average temperatures and rising seas. Meanwhile, the first wave of increasing numbers of climate refugees points to how a changing environment will reshape human life.
Written by Robin Winkler. In terms of biodiversity, Taiwan ranks near the top of all countries with past natural historians referring to Taiwan as “the Galapagos of Asia.” For nearly forty years of martial law, most of the general population other than fishers and soldiers were kept away from the oceans for purported security concerns. However, as the Taiwan government becomes more mature in its self-discovery, particularly during the past two and a half decades, it has rediscovered that we are an island nation.