China's Food and Environment

August 2016
Mon 15th



5.30pm to 7.00pm


This free public talk is co-hosted by the Environmental History & Garden History Research Unit (EHGH), Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato and the Hamilton Gardens. The talk will be introduced by Director of the EHGH Research Unit, Associate Professor James Beattie.


Venue: Exhibition Hall, Hamilton Gardens Pavilion

Abstract: For thousands of years, China has had to balance food production and environmental protection. This has led to a great deal of what Karen Thornber calls “environmental ambiguity” - caring for the environment but still compromising it to produce food. China excelled in developing systems that produced the maximal possible amount of food for minimal - but still real and serious - environmental degradation. The world is now running out of resources and will have to do even better at minimizing resource use for maximal food production. China’s successes and failures are possibly the best guide for this endeavor.

Presenter Bio: E.N. Anderson is Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at the University of California, Riverside. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. He has done research on ethnobiology, cultural ecology, political ecology, and medical anthropology, in several areas, especially Hong Kong, British Columbia, California, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. His books include The Food of China (Yale University Press. 1988), Ecologies of the Heart (Oxford University Press, 1996), Political Ecology of a Yucatec Maya Community (University Press of Arizona Press, 2005), The Pursuit of Ecotopia (Praeger, 2010), and Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). He has five children and five grandchildren, and lives in Riverside, California, with his wife Barbara Anderson and three large dogs. Contact Further information at