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Environmental Studies: Life & Culture in the Pacific

The journal “Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific,” by Antony Hooper describes how different cultural beliefs in the Pacific affect development. According to Hooper, culture and development are factors that are always intertwined. The relationship is affect in every aspect of life including the media and political debates. Most of the time individuals associate these terms with progress, good governance and economic rationality (Collins et al., 2016). The article states that individuals view cultural decay as fashioned or structured in a particular way by development. On the other hand, when there is less development, it is generally due to individuals sticking to their cultural beliefs. In this case, culture is perceived to derail development, while adapting to new ways of life is seen as development (Keller, 2017). Hooper mentions that the issue between the two is that people do not understand them and, therefore, cannot utilize them to achieve the benefits associated with culture and development.

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For numerous reasons, particularly in the pacific, economists have avoided the topic of culture and its involvement in the development of a country. Nevertheless, there is a general perception that culture functions as a guidance tool when it comes to developing a country. Hooper acknowledges that culture and development is not an easy subject and proceeds to describe it as a fragile topic that requires careful attention. He states that for a country to develop, certain aspects of culture must be taken in to account. For instance, there are particular cultural elements that do not necessarily derail the development of a country. Contrarily, there are certain aspects of culture that limit development, and these, according to Hopper are very few. Finding a way to combine culture and the economic development of a country is an essential factor to the whole development of a country.

Aswani and Ruddle (2013) in their article “Design of Realistic Hybrid Marine Resource Management Programs in Oceania,” primarily describe the culture of those living in marine regions in relation to environmental protection. Those living in the Pacific regions, especially those near the ocean, interact differently when it comes to environmental protection. In developed countries, there are measures that are in pace to ensure that people behave responsibly when conducting activities around the ocean. Currently, there are global issues that relate to global development. Furthermore, the world today is attempting to adopt a sustainable perspective that would ensure that the next generation is protected. To ensure that this takes place, such places as the marine regions must be protected, particularly the marine animals.

Aswani and Ruddle (2013) further discusses culture and environmental protection. These phenomena are discussed in terms of the culture of the Asian-Pacific people. There are certain activities that take place within these regions that compromise biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean. The goal of the authors, in this case, is to attempt shift the perception of individuals to protect the environment. To make sure this happens, there are numerous suggestions that the authors make. Aswani and Ruddle (2013) suggest that culture must be understood to implement new reforms. In other words, government in the pacific must consider the indigenous people’s culture to implement reforms that would make changes. The advantage of this is that it would be easier to make changes for sustainable development. Marine animals and plants would be protected, thereby providing more opportunities for tourism, which increases the economy of the pacific regions.

Oliver (2013) describes the Pacific as a very small region of the world and was discovered last by human beings. Despite being last in terms of discovery, its diverse islands and biodiversity is vast. The article further investigates how different cultures interact within these regions. Furthermore, the author investigates the social, cultural, and economic activities of different people. In the pacific, there are numerous cultural beliefs that affect the region, some of which are harmful. The intersection between culture and the environment is something that should not be denied. Significantly, this relationship exists in the art and agricultural activities that the pacific people participate in (White, 2016). It is important to ensure that everyone protects and preserves their culture while protecting the economy. The essence of the study is to ensure that everyone participates in environmental protection for the development of the country. There are some cultural practices that harm biodiversity, especially in the Pacific region. The most significant part of this study is that it evaluates the economy in terms of culture and the beliefs of the people.

Society is an essential part of environmental protection and, therefore, it must be involved in the process of protecting biodiversity. Education is one of the factors that should be included when it comes to protecting the environment. An educated society is one that understands the consequences of preserving cultural practices that pollute the environment (Cunha and Britto, 2018). As such, teaching the people in the pacific to preserve their environment should be the priority. Marine life and the economy are two element that are connected and one cannot exist without the other. For the global economy and that of the Pacific region to prosper, these regions have to leverage resources from the ocean to contribute to the financial position of the country. Thus, for these regions to develop, education should be one of the factors that every country should consider.

On the other hand Glen (2013), talks about the Pacific in terms of minerals being processed. There are numerous minerals that can be excavated from the bottom of the ocean. The extraction process usually employs different chemicals that are released in the ocean water. The chemicals often affect the biodiversity found at the bottom of the ocean. Glen (2013) produces a detailed research that seeks to educate people on the various harms associated with mineral extraction around the pacific region. The study evaluates the dilemma related to digging deeper in order to reach mineral ores. When it comes to development, minerals play a huge role in enhancing the economy of a country. Nevertheless, there are negative effects that result to digging deeper that may derail economic development. As much as the country is gaining from mineral exports, part of the financial gain is used to reconstruct the areas destroyed due to increased digging.

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The article further provides details relating to resource ownership in relation to development. Countries that have adequate mineral ores can build their economy based on these resources. However, there are some challenges that arise in relation to ownership of these particular minerals. For a country to trade in minerals, it needs to ensure that it owns the mineral resource to avoid complications. This is not the case because certain minerals are found on private land and this causes challenges. Governments have to compensate individuals for their land and this is an expensive affaire. These governments have to incur these costs since these are what develop the economy.

Ram-Bidesi (2013) further touches on the subject of the Pacific Ocean and how it is affected by the economic activities occurring in the region. The author categorizes these activities as indirect and direct uses of the ocean. These can further be classified as nonextractive and extractive resources of the ocean. Additionally, Ram-Bidesi (2013) categorizes resources from the ocean as living and non-living. Living resources are fishes and non-living are such elements as oil, minerals, gas. These are important factors when it come to the development of a country. In other words, nations can trade in resources such as oil and different types of fish to develop the country. The most important factor is that these nations should make sure that these resources are not depleted. The significance of this is that when they are depleted, then the progress of such nations will be halted. These sites act as tourist attraction regions which generate profit to the country or the Pacific regions. Protection of these cites should be treated as the most significant section towards the development of a country.

Tuwere (2002) in his book Towards a Fijian Theology of Place explains the terrain of a place in in relation to the culture of a place. The author acknowledges that this is important because it influences the nature of a particular terrain. It is essential to note that for a country to develop, society has to be involved. To ensure that this take place, those in power have to ensure that they take into account different aspects of the community. Tuwere (2002) mentions that particular aspects of the economy have to be considered when it comes to the development of a country. These elements of the economy include culture and the way of life of the Pacific community. To ensure that certain aspect are adhered to, policies have to be put in place that seek to manage these experiences. Currently, the world is developing into a sustainable economy, which means certain practices must be implemented. These polices should seek to protect the marine environment because these determine the overall economy of a place.


Aswani, S., & Ruddle, K., 2013. Design of realistic hybrid marine resource management programs in Oceania. Pacific Science, 67(3), 461-476. Web.

Banks, G., 2013. The Pacific islands: Environment and society, revised edition. UH Press. Web.

Collins, D., Chua, P., McKie, D., Subramaniam, B., Escobar, A., Harcourt, W., Lai, M.Y., Moallem, M., Prabhu, A., Klouzal, L. and Shayne, J.D., 2016. Feminist futures: Reimagining women, culture and development. Zed Books Ltd..

Cunha, A.M. and Britto, G., 2018. When development meets culture: the contribution of Celso Furtado in the 1970s. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 42(1), pp.177-198.

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Hooper, A., 2005. Culture and sustainable development in the Pacific. Web.

Keller, H., 2017. Culture and development: A systematic relationship. Perspectives on psychological science, 12(5), pp.833-840.

Oliver, D. L., 2013. The Pacific islands: environment and society. University of Hawaii Press.

Ram-Bidesi, V., 2013. The Pacific islands: Environment and society, revised edition. UH Press. Web.

White, L.A., 2016. The evolution of culture: the development of civilization to the fall of Rome. Routledge.

Tuwere, I. S., 2002. Vanua: Towards a Fijian theology of place. [email protected] usp. ac. fj.

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