Seasonality in the Anthropocene: Understanding Transboundary Haze in Southeast Asia

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre

Room MAR 1.09, 1st Floor, Marshall Building


Dr Helena Varkkey

Dr Helena Varkkey

Associate Professor, Universiti Malaya


Dr Thomas Smith

Dr Thomas Smith

Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography and Environment, SEAC Associate

SEAC hosted Visiting Fellow Dr Helena Varkkey (Associate Professor, Universiti Malaya) who presented Seasonality in the Anthropocene: Understanding Transboundary Haze in Southeast Asia

This presentation explored the idea of how seasonality affects social resilience and shapes mitigative actions in relation to haze. The study drew from survey data and dove into what 'personal' actions people take to reflect that behaviours change according to changing seasons. It compared this with how ‘institutions’ have used seasonality to either galvanising action to drive change and/or to manage public uproar. Individuals may make light of the helpless reality of the annual recurrence of the haze season through jokes and means; institutions may dampen public displeasure towards haze by emphasising that it will pass.

Speaker and Chair Biographies:

Dr Helena Varkkey is an Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, Universiti Malaya. Her areas of expertise include transboundary haze governance in Southeast Asia and global palm oil politics. Her monograph on “The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia: Palm Oil and Politics” was published by Routledge in 2016.

Dr Thomas Smith is Associate Professor in Environmental Geography at the LSE. He teaches on a number of environmental courses, focussing on innovative technology-enhanced experiential learning and field-based education in geography. He holds a PhD in Physical Geography from King’s College London and has held Visiting Fellow posts at the National University of Singapore, Monash University Malaysia, University of Wollongong (Australia), and Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Tom is a geographer and environmental scientist, specialising in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the role of biomass burning in the Earth system. Tom enjoys highly collaborative research focusing on greenhouse gas and reactive emissions from wildland fires in savannas and tropical peatlands. He is particularly interested in complex interactions between agricultural practices, land degradation, fire emissions characteristics and their associated impacts. Expertise include infrared and VNIR spectroscopy, tropical environmental change, wildfire spread modelling, knowledge exchange, and land management decision support.


This event was recorded and the video can be viewed here

Photo by Natasha Kasim on Unsplash