Book Reviews

Bandyopadhyay, J. and S. Perveen (2003)

Review of International Equity and Global Environmental Politics by Paul G. Harris (Aldershot, Ashgate) 2001 in Progress in Development Studies forthcoming

Abstract:

The core of the book is an analysis of the factors, which has decided the fate of international equity being adopted by US in multilateral environmental agreements and discourses. The author argues that in multilateral negotiations, participation of both the developed and developing countries is an indispensable priority and hence the idea of equity being mooted by a few. However, the author is of the opinion that the fuzzy concept of international equity still acts as a stumbling block in the formulation of many international agreements and treaties. As US saw a change in political actors, with Bush giving way to Clinton, the attitude of the administration changed from one of reluctance to that of acceptance albeit limited in their foreign policy objectives to embrace the concept of equity either on grounds of economic interests or moral positions. The reviewers feel that there exists important gaps in scholarly analyses of global environmental politics and the nebulous concept of international equity, following which the author deserves praise for filling in this void in literature.

Shylajan, C. S. and M. Mandal (2003),

Review of Tourism, Biodiversity and Information by F. di. Castri and V. Balaji (Leiden, Backbuys Publishers) in Journal of Industrial Ecology forthcoming

Abstract:

The book under review is the product of a symposium held in the French island of Port-Cros in the Mediterranean Sea in 2000. Tourism is the largest and rapidly growing economic sector of the post-industrial society. The book is an enquiry on how the benefits of tourism can be attained in a sustainable way with the help of highly expanding sector of information technology (IT) and with the wise use of biodiversity. Many of the chapters of the book discuss how the access to information technology at low cost offers unique ways for promoting tourism in a sustainable way. Authors seek the need for an ecosystem approach, which recognizes that humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of ecosystems as a basis for sustainable tourism. Potential impacts of tourism on the ecosystem in general, and biodiversity in particular, need to be clearly understood for making this sector ecologically sustainable.

J. Bandyopadhyay and N. Ghosh (2003)

Review of S. Mahendrarajah, A.J. Jakeman and M. McAleer (Eds) (1999) Modelling Change in Integrated Economic and Environmental Systems in Journal of Industrial Ecology 6(1)

Abstract:

The reviewers have immensely appreciated this publication, which, seemingly, is a wonderful attempt in reporting on the dynamic and significant changes that have been taking place at the cognitive interface between economics and the environment. The volume consists of contributions mainly by the economists, who have been engaged in research at the very challenging interface of environment, economics and various social sciences. While "modelling" of the various environmental phenomena has become a ubiquitous exercise, this volume really provides something very distinctive and interesting. While some articles have been found to be typically abstruse and not really meant for the "non-technical" neophytes, some others have been extremely lucidly written. The reviewers, however, have criticised some of the articles, for their lack of clarity of expression. They have also emphasized the need for the incorporation of case studies in the subsequent editions. Overall, the reviewers feel that this book will open up new dimensions of thought for the "the visionaries and leaders in the subject".

Bandyopadhyay, J. and K. Mukhopadhyay (2002)

Review of P. Soederbaum (2000) Ecological Economics (London, Earthscan) in Journal of Industrial Ecology 5(4)

Abstract:

The core of this book is a critique of what can be called the 'environmental blindness' of neo-classical economics. On the basis of this critique, Soederbaum has tried to construct a methodology for policy making towards sustainable development. The author finds 'environmental economics', the new branch put forward to address the environmental issues by the received paradigm of neo-classical economics, as grossly inadequate for addressing the environmental challenge. As a mechanism for generating a more acceptable economic framework for sustainable development, the author suggests a strongly pluralist approach based on the co-existence of various ideologies In the interest of the ongoing process of environmental sensitisation of the economists, the arguments of the author could become more impressive if he had used a less descriptive and abstract approach in the book, and reflect more on some real-life instances. Nevertheless, these shortcomings do not lessen the crucial importance of the argument in favour of democracy and pluralism that runs through the whole book.

Bandyopadhyay J. (2001)

Review of Shyam Divan and Armin Rozencranz (2001) Environmental Law and Policy in India: Cases, Materials and Statutes (New Delhi: Oxford UP) in Decisions 28(2), December 2001.

Abstract:

The environmental scenario in India is dominated by several vocal activists who are demanding sustainable development. How can sustainable development be achieved and what are the difficulties in that process, thus, constitute an important question. At the ground level, the answer to this question lies to a great extent in the adoption of policies and effective functioning of the regulatory instruments governing development and the environment. The book by Divan and Rosencranz concentrates on these issues in the Indian context and would prove to be an important resource book for the students of law, administrators, industries, environmental activists as well as policy makers in India. The authors present a great number of interesting cases, the reading of which will offer to many environmental NGOs as well as the citizen at large, an idea of how the remedial measures existing in the law, can be utilised effectively to combat environmental destruction and damage. The book is an important piece of scholarly presentation, which would have a wide public utility in India and in comparison to the length of the book.

Bandyopadhyay, J. and B. Mallik (2000)

Review of J.V. Sutcliffe and Y.P. Parks, (1999) The Hydrology of the Nile Special Publication No.5, IAHS (Wallingford) in Water International 25 (1).

Abstract:

A high quality scholastic work in hydrology, the book provides an account of the hydrological structure of the Nile river basin. A detailed appraisal of the geographical complexities of the basin helps restore the regional integrity and the interdependence of the various parts of the basin realistically, in the reader's mind. The wealth of hydrological data and information in the publication will prove useful in future hydrological modeling exercises. Designed for water resource engineers and hydrologists, the book however, does not invite a wider readership amongst policy makers and managers.

Bandyopadhyay, J. and B. Mallik (2001)

Review of R. Jefferey and N. Sundar (Eds) (2000) A New Moral Economy for India's Forests?: Discourses of Community and Participation in Review of Development and Change 6(2).

Abstract:

The need for a fundamental overhaul of the institutions for the protection and management of the forests in India has been most clearly expressed through the emergence of the term 'Joint Forest Management' (JFM). Not that a solution has emerged, but in all the official documents of recent origin related to afforestation and forest protection the frequent reference to this new term does not go unnoticed. In A New Moral Economy for India's Forests? the editors, Jeffery and Sundar, present a similar fundamental change in the flavor of literature on the social and institutional dimensions of India's forests. The book makes a much-needed and well-researched contribution to social aspects of forests and forestry in India that provides a comprehensive backdrop to examine the emerging interests in JFM. The book, on the whole, is a very significant professional contribution on the question of forest management in India as a whole. For a change, a book on the forests has been written, not by foresters, but by assorted experts ranging from the Secretary of the Planning Commission to academicians to grassroots activists. This variety is the strength of the book and extends a good amount of credibility to the title of the book.

Bandyopadhyay, J (2004)

Review of Resource-oriented Water Management: Towards Harmonious Coexistence between Man and Nature by Wang Shucheng (Beijing, China WaterPower Press) in Water International (forthcoming)

Abstract:

This book is a compilation of selected lectures and papers by Wang Shucheng, Minister for Water Resources of China. It is destined to go a long way to transmit to the wider world readership, the rapid emergence of a new and interdisciplinary approach to water management in the most populous country in the world, which also faces some typical water related challenges. The ideas of the author as expressed in the book, indicate a clear trend towards widening of the conceptual framework of water management. At the core of the new ideas of Wang is the recognition of the need for liberating the practice of water resource management from the confines of engineering projects and establish clearer and closer links with the social, economic and ecological processes related to water. The need for having a perspective that is informed of the ecological processes occurring in the various parts of a river basin, is exemplified in his approach to the Yellow River basin, for which Wang identifies floods, drying up and ecological degradation as the three major problems. In order that water management can lead to sustainable use of this resource, Wang calls for a clear departure in China from the present project-based approach to, what he calls the resource-oriented approach. The book opens the window to the dynamics of thought and innovation in water management in China.