“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).
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
Chiang Mai Goes Green
Chiang Mai Green Project enthusiastically received at launch party
Tuesday, January 22, saw residents of Chiang Mai, both expat and Thai,
come together to celebrate the launch of Green Chiang Mai.
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
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
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).