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Leslie Sponsel (Ph.D. Cornell 1981) is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, where he directs the ecological anthropology concentration. He has conducted research on the cultural ecology of the subsistence hunting and fishing of several indigenous societies in the Venezuela Amazon during several trips from 1974-1981. Since 1986 he has been working in southern Thailand comparing the cultural ecology of adjacent Buddhist and Muslim communities, and as a Fulbright Fellow during the summers of 1994-95 he initiated a long-term research project on the role of sacred places in biodiversity conservation in Thailand. Among other publications, Sponsel is editor of the book Indigenous Peoples and the Future of Amazonia: An Ecological Anthropology of an Endangered World (1995) and coeditor with Thomas Headland and Robert Bailey of Tropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension (1996).

Abstract of paper given at Buddhism and Ecology conference:
The Buddhist Monastic Community as a Green Society in Thailand: Its Potential Role in Environmental Ethics, Education and Action

Leslie Sponsel and Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel

In principle, monastic communities in Thailand may approximate a green society to some degree and in certain ways. This paper applies anthropological and ecological theories to explore the potential contribution of monks in trying to deal with environmental problems in Thailand. This is contrasted with some examples of what is actually happening in practice.

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