GURU COVER STORY
Ademonstration against a controversial dam project in Mae Wong National Park will start at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre tomorrow. The dam plan has been criticised for its lack of transparency, questionable effi ciency in preventing future fl ooding and its threat to irreplaceable trees and wildlife. To deputy PM Plodprasob Suraswadi, forests can be regrown and wildlife bred, but an online petition against the project on Change.org has garnered over 113,401 signatures, becoming the biggest campaign of its kind in Asia (who knew that Thais are such environmentalists?!).
This week we rally your inner activist with a round-up of green groups you may want to get behind, figures regarding the state of the Thai environment, and more ways to be eco-friendly.
You don't have to look too deeply into Bangkok to find green causes. Here's our selection of groups that support a greener life. Check them out to keep yourself posted on their upcoming activities.
1. Launched Oct 9, Green Move Thailand is organising the rally against Mae Wong dam that will take place tomorrow. Go to its Facebook page (tinyurl.com/krpe725) to find out more details about the demonstration. There are also images you can use as your profile picture to show that you support their cause and spread it. People who say “No” to the dam idea are expected to gather and walk to Government House and UN to deliver the signatures against the project printed on a 50m banner.
2. BIG Trees (facebook.com/BIGTreesProject) puts the spotlight on green areas in the city and around the country that are under threat of development as well as organises various events for tree-loving people. They recently visited Rayong to investigate a plan to cut down 400 big old trees to make way for roads. They are also focusing on a proposal to build an elevated road from Asok intersection to Rama IX to relieve traffic congestion as it may cause visual pollution and could possibly sacrifice some tall trees in the area.
3. Makkasan Hope (facebook.com/MakkasanHope) proposes that 700 rai of undeveloped-but-lush land belonging to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) be turned into something that is useful for all. The group opposes the idea of using the land for commercial purposes — aka another shopping complex or hotel — as was first proposed by the SRT.
4. Thai City Farm (www.thaicityfarm.com, facebook.com/thaicityfarm) promotes urban agriculture as a way to increase food security in city areas, serve as an emergency source of food, reduce household spending, increase green areas in tall buildings and use resources more efficiently (due to the reusing of household waste as fertiliser). You'll get to realise your FarmVille fantasy for real and be sure that your produce is healthy and free of chemicals. Go to the website to find locations of their learning centres.
5. Hip Incy Farm (11 Nakniwas 30, Lat Phrao Soi 71, 080-586-0822, facebook.com/HipIncyFarm) wants to make organic farming hip. Inspired by HM the King's self-sufficiency principle, interior-designer-turned-farmer Thammasak "Oh" Luepuwapitakkul founded this organic farm on one rai of land that used to be a football field for rent. His farm features a rice paddy, a variety of trees, storage for farming equipment, and free-range chickens. He receives guests who wish to see his self-sufficient lifestyle from time to time and if you're really serious about organic farming, you can visit his farm (by appointment only). He also sells his produce at events.
6. Bike to Work — BKK (facebook.com/BikeToWorkBkk) encourages Bangkokians to ride bicycles to their jobs. Their Facebook page features snapshots of urban cyclists from different walks of life as they brave Bangkok roads, interviews with regular riders, preferred routes, and more.
7. Change.org (change.org/th) features a lot of online petitions for social and environmental issues such as better public buses, less plastic bags at 7-Eleven stores, growing trees with edible fruits on traffic islands in Bangkok, and no TV ads on the BTS. Go to the website and browse for a cause that you feel passionate about or create a new campaign to address a worthy issue and recruit people online to sign your petition.
8. CreativeMOVE (www.creativemove.com) is a social innovation agency seeking to create social impact through creativity, art and design. They work as a creative consultant for companies who wish to do corporate social responsibility campaigns, a design agency, as well as a fund finder for ideas to improve society. They focus on addressing social, environmental, educational, natural disaster and health issues. On their website, CreativeMOVE features articles on creative ideas used to solve problems or raise awareness around the world. Through their Infographic MOVE (facebook.com/InfographicMOVE) section, they offer many infographics in Thai language to make relevant issues easy to understand as they believe such graphics can inspire people and change society for the better. Examples include a rundown on the Mae Wong dam project, how much money you can save if you ride a bicycle, how a bicycle can help the environment, how important trees are, and so on. They are also running a contest for people to design a Facebook cover photo on the Mae Wong dam project to share and spread the cause. Some entries are pretty cool.
9. To keep yourself informed on pretty much everything that is related to green life in Bangkok, we suggest The Urban Green Scene (www.theurbangreenscene.com, facebook.com/urbangreenscene). The site features calendars on green events in town, a map showing organic stores, green initiatives as well as places to eat, shop, live and play in a green way.
We take a look at the state of our natural environment (of lack thereof) through some stats.
TRASH OR TREASURE?
According to a survey published by Thurakij Bandit Poll at the end of last month, Bangkokians voted the garbage problem as the most pressing issue they want the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to address. However, we would like to encourage you to do your part in tackling this stinky issue as well. Since recycling is good for the environment why not start with how you handle your garbage in your everyday life? Here are our tips.
If you still drink milk before going to bed, why not make the most out of your milk carton while making merit in one swift, green move. Greenroof (www.greenroof.in.th, facebook.com/Thaigreenroof) recycles donated used milk cartons into roofs for good causes. You can't just simply give them the empty cartons, though. Go to the website for simple instructions on how to prepare the used milk boxes. There are many donation spots in Bangkok and other provinces. Go to their Facebook page or website to find the nearest Big C that accepts donations. Roofs made of recycled boxes have been used for homes for people who have been affected by floods.
Exchange your trash into consumer goods at Zero Baht Shop (facebook.com/0bahtshop). There are currently 10 such shops, three of which are in Bangkok at On Nut Sib See Rai community in Prawet district, Din Daeng flat community and Chandrakasem Rajabhat University. The concept of this unique store is that you bring recyclable waste such as glass bottles, newspaper, aluminum cans from your household and use it as currency to trade for the likes of shampoo, detergent, and more.
The ring pulls on soft drink cans can immensely improve someone's life. The Prostheses Foundation accepts donations of can rings as they can be reused to make prosthetic legs for people who lost their legs. You can donate them at the Bangkok office of the foundation (693, Bamrungmuang Road, 02-224-5764) or Chiang Mai office (99 Moo 4, Don Kaew, Mae Rim, 053-112-271-3) or Bangkok Can Manufacturing (1,13 Soi Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok, Pathum Thani, 02-533-0277).
Protests in pictures
Protesting for the environment doesn’t always have to be a serious and solemn business. We take a look at the lighter side of the practice.
Believe it or not, but the flag of Bangkok is actually green.
We take a look at some interesting figures to show you exactly how “green” this city is.