Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. After the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government’s astonishing policy responses in containing the outbreak of COVID-19, the new battleground that would determine the trajectory of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Government’s approval rate lies in their ability to revitalise Taiwan’s economy. With the official launching of the “triple stimulus voucher” (三倍券) programme in July, it provides a good opportunity to evaluate the underlying rationale for this economic stimulus package and why it was a missed opportunity for Tsai to further her green agenda.
Written by Tzu-Ming Liu. Due to Taiwan’s geographical location and geological properties, the country is particularly at risk of the impact of climate change. Some apparent phenomena of climate change are that the frequencies of extreme precipitation events. Furthermore, extreme typhoon intensity is increasing. These phenomena have caused giant landslides, extensive landscape changes, and severe casualties across Taiwan. Many of the giant landslides occurred on the lands inhabited by indigenous peoples, and thus they suffer from the most adverse impacts of climate change. Indigenous peoples are, but not the only, climate victims.
Written by Daniel Davies. On June 3rd, 2020 Taiwan Sugar Corporation CEO, Chen Zao-yi, travelled south to Pingtung County for the most recent talks surrounding a proposed 230-hectare solar farm project at Xinchi Farm in Wanluan Township. The green-energy project, which is to be built alongside the No.185 County Road, has been at the centre of sustained protests by local residents due to the planned felling of Taiwan’s largest planted forest. The site of the development is within the 10,815-hectare forest planted in 2002 by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, using 5.2 billions of dollars of state subsidies, after the contraction of the sugar industry caused by Taiwan joining the WTO.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. Upon winning the re-election in January 2020, Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party government is set to realise the goal of abolishing nuclear energy by 2025. At the same time, they wish to raise the proportion of green energy in the electricity mix to twenty per cent. While the dream of “nuclear-free homeland” has been championed by Taiwan’s environmentalists for more than three decades, the top-down push for renewable energy has unexpectedly met some opposition from the same camp.
Written by Jing-Yi Zhong, Shun-Te Wang and Wan-Ting Hsu. Youth environmental NGOs, such as TWYCC, have their unique and flexible roles inside the UN-based climate governance framework. As a part of civil society, they can narrow the gap between Taiwan and the UN-based climate regime. Furthermore, as youth non-state actors, they can even access some of the UN’s resources regardless of their Taiwanese identity.
Written by Manuel Zehr. During her speech, President Tsai repeated and underlined her policy from four years ago. The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) ultimate goal was always to win over voters by shutting down nuclear power plants in Taiwan. Besides keeping this former political promise, renewable energy has the positive side effect of reducing energy imports, which is currently at 97.8%. This is important as China could cut off economic and life support lines at any time.
Written by Simona Grano. Energy provision and environmental issues have faded into the background since the beginning of the Hong Kong protests in June 2019. Candidates and parties have focused on new ways to deal with the ‘China Threat’, such as the DPP’s recent proposal to pass an anti-infiltration bill and the KMT’s counter-proposal of an anti-annexation act. According to a Greenpeace survey on the three main presidential candidates’ energy policies, none had presented any concrete plan to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions (…)
Written by Polina G. Karimova and Kuang-Chung Lee. The Satoyama Initiative’s introduction to Taiwan in late 2010 became a timely and much anticipated solution to the revival of Taiwan’s SEPLS. The Initiative’s social-ecological systems thinking was similar to that of local and indigenous communities and it benefited from Taiwan and Japan’s shared historical and cultural bonds, as well as Taiwan’s comparable socio-ecological threats and agricultural patterns.
Written by Tzu-Ming Liu. The traditional culture of the local aboriginal Tao tribe on Lanyu Island has a very strong cultural taboo regarding the Green Sea Turtles. Their habitat is close to the local population’s traditional cemetery and the area is regarded as the living space of evil spirits. The organisms living in these areas, such as green sea turtles, are believed to have devil spirits.
Written by Natalie Wong.
The economic boom and intensive urbanisation of the late 1970s generated a mountain of garbage in Taiwan. Improper waste disposal and poor municipal solid waste management (MSW) led to sanitary problems and environmental pollution. Although the Taiwanese government implemented a municipal waste policy in 1984, the citizens protested industrial landfills and open dumping sites for years. Later, the Taiwanese government implemented a recycling and waste scheme and the volume of waste was successfully reduced.
Writen by Giulia Mengato. My research on Indigenous communities in Taiwan shows that the needs and wishes of Indigenous peoples are still considered secondary to those of government. I argue for a more nuanced approach wherein public institutions work alongside local people. Government restrictions should not suffocate community will and should not limit the agency of local people.
Written by Brian Hoie. Although the majority of media attention yesterday focused on demonstrations by over one thousand marriage equality advocates outside the Legislative Yuan, another demonstration involving over one thousand took place outside the Executive Yuan at the same time. This demonstration involved over one thousand members of the Taiwan Association for the Rights of Non-Aboriginal Residents in Mountain Indigenous Townshipsprotesting against the Council of Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to protect indigenous traditional territories.