Vol. VII No. 5 - Tuesday
January 29, - February 4, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

“International Citizens of Chiang Mai”

Chiang Mai Goes Green

“International Citizens of Chiang Mai”

New environmental group formed

Noi Jasper, Mike Hamilton, Phra Sangkom, Taoy Ounchua, Phra Sorayut and Col. Tahnat (l/r) attend the meeting about the environment.

Bo Paterson, Ric Richardson, Dave Arthurs, Zenon Gorgol, Adrian Pieper,
 Ron Bator, Ricky Ward, John Hobday (back row l/r). Dr.Wasan Jompakdee,
Rasmee Varana, Ratree Chorram, Supannee Mahannopkul, Dr. Nobutaka Ito
and Nikhom Tripitak (front row l/r).

Dave Arthurs
Winter’s almost over and we all know what’s coming next. Most of us who have experienced the “burning season” are well aware of how unpleasant the combination of soaring temperatures and soaring pollution levels are. Some local residents have now decided to take some action. The problem of air quality is a serious one but to solve it involves tackling complex and difficult issues. The approach needs to focus, not only on adapting traditional agricultural practices, but also on the protection and regeneration of the critically threatened forests of Doi Suthep / Doi Pui National Park upon which Chiang Mai relies so greatly as a pollution sponge, water source and air cooling system.
The International Citizens of Chiang Mai, which is made up of both Thais and foreigners has formed in response to these issues and is determined to help tackle the area’s worsening environmental problems. It has been organised by Dr Wasan Chompakdee, a professor at CMU and someone who has been shrewd in his realisation that Chiang Mai could benefit from the increased civic participation of its farang population.
The group has a diverse background and includes specialists in a many relevant fields: From rural development, agro-forestry, biodiversity and ecological management, the group is serious about trying to find working solutions for the city and the local area in concern of its environmental problems. Crucially, the group also contains influential representatives from the business sector who have long recognised that a healthy environment and a flourishing tourist industry are inexorably linked.
The group has been growing in numbers and influence and feels that this growth of ground support is crucial to its success. All over the world we are seeing the failure of governments to take action on pressing environmental problems; it is most likely that these issues will be solved by public involvement at a local level. We must all start looking after our little corner of the world. If anyone is concerned any environmental issues that have come to their attention or would like to find out more about what the group is doing, they can contact Ricky Ward at [email protected]


Chiang Mai Goes Green

Chiang Mai Green Project enthusiastically received at launch party

Elle Faraday
Tuesday, January 22, saw residents of Chiang Mai, both expat and Thai, come together to celebrate the launch of Green Chiang Mai.

U.S. Consul General Michael Morrow, Sudchai Kannakkulsoonthorn, Duenpen Chaladlam and Junnapong Saranak (l/r) at the launch of ‘Green Chiang Mai’ and ‘Retire in Chiang Mai’.
This project is the brainchild of Duenpen (Boong) Chaladlam. She developed the concept in the hope that it will ensure that Chiang Mai stays green and beautiful. The main objectives of the project are to plant a minimum of 2,000 trees donated by the government throughout the province every year, to promote the use of organic vegetables which have been locally grown as part of HM the King’s project, and to encourage local businesses, especially those working within the tourist industry, to be aware of the importance of the environment.
Green Chiang Mai has been launched in conjunction with Retire in Chiang Mai, which has been set up to offer assistance to anyone considering retiring here. Both projects have the support of the mayor, the director of TAT and a number of local businesses. Everyone involved wants to minimise pollution levels throughout the city, put an end to the burning and support the successful rejuvenation idea which is known as ‘One visitor, One tree’.
The launch, which was held at Tuskers, saw over 100 people attend, including Sudchai Kanakulsoonthorn, who represented the mayor, Junapong Saranak, the director of TAT’s northern office; and Michael Morrow, the United States Consul General. There were also a number of representatives from local businesses, friends and local villagers from Papa village in Doi Saket. It was the most diverse crowd, but everyone there was working together to make Chiang Mai a better place to live. The theme for the evening was “Lanna Style”, with traditional Lanna dress being worn by most people in attendance and a Lanna buffet being served.
The proceedings began with speeches from Kanakulsoonthorn, Saranak and Seewapong Kamwang from Horizon Village. All of the speeches were very well received; then it was time for Boong to officially open both projects. After everyone had enjoyed the feast which was provided, there was another ceremony which saw the local villagers telling how they want to help to promote Green Chiang Mai. A young boy from the village made a very moving speech in which he thanked everyone who was involved and stated that he wanted to become a tour guide so that he could give something back to everyone who had helped him.
After a thoroughly enjoyable evening, all the guests left with a big smile on their faces and took with them the motivation to really try to help cut pollution levels throughout the city. Green Chiang Mai, along with Retire in Chiang Mai, has managed to bring both the local Thai and expat communities together to work towards a common aim - making Chiang Mai a better place to live. This project is a prime example of how people working together can make a real difference. With continued support and hard work from all involved, it cannot fail to be successful. Hopefully, many more people will be inspired to join in the struggle of making and keeping Chiang Mai green.
For more information, please visit www.retireinchiangmai. com/greencm.

Guests of Duenpen Chaladlam (Boong), (wearing the orchid garland) at the launch of ‘Green Chiang Mai’ and ‘Retire in Chiang Mai’ included June, Dr Lina and Charlie Thompson, Seewapong Kumwang, and Chris Ackerman (l/r).

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