October 7, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Writer and journalist James Fahn, a 1987 graduate of Amherst, will give a talk titled "A Land on Fire," about the environmental costs of economic growth in Southeast Asia, on Thursday, October 16 at 4:45 p.m. in Merrill 3 at Amherst College. Sponsored by the physics department, his talk is free and open to the public.

Fahn's talk will focus on his recently published book, A Land on Fire: The Environmental Consequences of the Southeast Asian Boom (Westview Press; 2003), which "explores Southeast Asia's environmental battles through the eyes of the people fighting them, and recounts Fahn's many adventures while covering them," according to the book's Website (www.alandonfire.com). A Land on Fire, the result of nine years' experience in Southeast Asia, is based on the premise that "the future of Earth's environment will be decided in Asia, home to 60 percent of the world's population and some of the world's fastest-growing economies." Fahn considers the relationship between sustainable development and democracy, the effects of corruption and universal environmental challenges. In his talk, he will discuss the discrepancy between the developing world and the West in viewing environmental issues, and how these issues are balanced between democracy and globalization.

A physics, astronomy and history triple-major at Amherst, Fahn received his master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University. A former Watson fellow and TV journalist, he has worked for The Nation, Newsweek and The Economist, and currently works for the Ford Foundation as a program associate in the field of environment and development.