The Globe as you know it is changing.
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To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Lower Sesan 2 dam putting livelihoods and environment at risk

By: Giorgio Taraschi - Posted on: November 19, 2015 | Cambodia

The giant dam is one of the most controversial construction projects in Cambodia. The electricity-generation potential of the Lower Sesan 2 is massive but, for the Mekong River’s aquatic life and nearby villagers, the price of such progress could be colossal

The mighty Mekong River is the primary artery of mainland Southeast Asia. More than 60 million people depend on it for food, water and transport, but the region’s ever-growing thirst for power could bring about massive changes to the river itself and the lives of those that rely upon its gushing, greenish-brown waters.

Giorgio Taraschi, Lower Sesan 2 dam
Under construction: work continues at the Lower Sesan 2 dam building site, located at the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers, two of the main tributaries of the Mekong. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi

The Lower Sesan 2 dam project in Cambodia’s northern province of Stung Treng was approved by the country’s government in November 2012, despite the dam’s environmental impact assessment report failing to meet international best practice, according to a report commissioned by the Rivers Coalition in Cambodia.

Giorgio Taraschi, Lower Sesan 2 dam, Kbal Romeas, Stung Treng
Under construction: a fisherman from Kbal Romeas in Stung Treng province. His house will soon be under water. “What am I going to do in the new place without my river?” he said. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi

The $800m project is a joint venture between China’s Hydrolancang International Energy, Vietnam Electricity and Cambodia’s Royal Group, and activists have stated that the dam will have a disastrous effect on the Mekong’s fisheries and biodiversity. A 2012 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stated that the project would result in a 9.3% drop in fish stocks and endanger more than 50 fish species – impacts that would be felt not only in Cambodia but downstream in Vietnam and upstream in Laos and Thailand.

Giorgio Taraschi, Bunong, Srepok river
End of days: an ethnic Bunong woman outside the sacred forest of Kot Bou along the Srepok river. She says she will not moveuntil the water “rises to my knees”. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi

The construction of the Lower Sesan 2, which is located close to the confluence of the Sesan and Srepok rivers, two of the Mekong’s most significant tributaries, will also have a direct impact on thousands of families who have lived along and relied upon the river for generations.

lower sesan 2 dam, cambodia, giorgio taraschi
Ripples: a fisherman stands in a river that has been tainted by calcium chloride, severely affecting local livelihoods. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi

Approximately 5,000 people will be forcibly evicted from nearby villages to make way for the dam’s 34,000-hectare reservoir. Worryingly, communities that have been similarly resettled in China, following the construction of the Manwan and Dachaoshan dams on the Mekong, have been blighted by problems including food security, increased incidence of disease and inadequate compensation. For the innocent Cambodian families who live in the vicinity of the Lower Sesan 2, there is just one word that sums up their future: uncertain. 

lower sesan 2 dam, phluk
Balancing act: a girl heads back to her home in Phluk, a once-famous fishing community, after filling buckets with river water. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
lower sesan 2, kbal romeas, giorgio taraschi
Scavenging: workers from the relocation site arrive in the village of Kbal Romeas to collect teak wood from an abandoned house. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
Giorgio Taraschi, lower sesan 2, srae sronok
Cut deep: a boy from Srae Sronok village carves wood that will be used in construction at the relocation site. Many villagers do not want to move into the new concrete homes due to concerns over build quality. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
Giorgio Taraschi, lower sesan 2
Hard place: a father and son outside their home. The red paint reads ‘LSS2’ and means the family must be relocated. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
lower sesan 2, kbal romeas
That’s entertainment: children watch a film on a laptop powered by a car battery in Kbal Romeas. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
lower sesan 2, cambodia
Site for sore eyes: the relocation site for villagers, who were offered $6,000 per family to build their own home or settle in one of these small concrete houses. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
lower sesan 2, diamond island
View of the future: Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island seen from the window of a new Japanese hotel. Developing cities in the region are thirsty for electricty. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi
lower sesan 2, Snow Town
Bread and circuses: Snow Town, an attraction at one of the hundreds of shopping malls in Thailand that require ever more electricity. Photo: Giorgio Taraschi

Keep reading:
Gone: fishing” – How will a population so dependent on rivers and lakes stay afloat when faced with a series of mega-dam projects?