Environmental Crises in Central Asia
From steppes to seas, from deserts to glaciers
Environmental conditions do not exist in a vacuum. They are influenced by science, politics, history, public policy, culture, economics, public attitudes, and competing priorities, as well as past human decisions. In the case of Central Asia, such Soviet-era decisions include irrigation systems and physical infrastructure that are now crumbling, mine tailings that leach pollutants into soil and groundwater, and abandoned factories that are physically decrepit and contaminated with toxic chemicals.
Environmental Crises in Central Asia highlights major environmental challenges confronting the region’s former Soviet republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. They include threats to the Caspian and Aral seas, the impact of climate change on glaciers, desertification, deforestation, destruction of habitat and biodiversity, radioactive and hazardous wastes, water quality and supply, energy exploration and development, pesticides and food security, and environmental health. The ramifications of these challenges cross national borders and may affect economic, political, and cultural relationships on a vast geographic scale. At the same time, the region’s five governments have demonstrated little resolve to address these complex challenges.
This book is a valuable multi-disciplinary resource for academics, scholars, and policymakers in environmental sciences, geography, political science, natural resources, mass communications, public health, and economics.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Examining the Terrain Part I: Climate Change 2. Less Water from the Mountains? Consequences of Glacier Changes in Central Asia Part II: Water 3. Increasing Human Security to Avert Water Wars in the Ferghana Valley Part III: Energy 4. Energy Exploration and the Caspian Region: Sturgeon, Seals, and Sulfur 5. The ‘Great Future of the Country’? Dams and Hydroelectricity Discourses in Kyrgyzstan Part IV: Public Policy and Mass Media 6. Separating Environmental Myths from Realities in Central Asia 7. Tajikistan: An Environmental Scan 8. Newspaper Coverage of Water and Other Ecological Issues in Kazakhstan during Perestroika and Today 9. Western News Coverage of Environmental Issues in Post-Soviet Central Asia Part V: Environmental Health 10. Radiation Health Risk Studies Associated with Nuclear Testing In Kazakhstan Part VI: Ecology 11. Kazakhstan’s Northern Aral Sea Today: Partial Ecosystem Restoration and Economic Recovery 12. Conservation and Multipurpose Management of the Unique Walnut-fruit Forests of Southern Kyrgyzstan 13. Ecologically-based Integrated Pest Management Programs for Food Security Crops in Central Asia 14. A Treasure in the Desert? Carbon Stock Estimates for Haloxylon aphyllum in the Northeastern Karakum Desert 15. Conclusion: Through the Crystal Ball
Eric Freedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, is Knight Chair and Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University, USA.
Mark Neuzil is a professor of communication and journalism at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., USA, where he teaches environmental communication, multimedia reporting, communication history, and communication ethics.