Friday, September 27, 2013

UN World Tourism Day 2013.. Make a Difference Globally Celebrate Locally in Chiang Mai!

For 2012 UNWTO's challenge to the global tourism industry was to applaud renewable energy  solutions.

A locally based Chiang Mai tour operator  [TC] met the challenge to self design and locally produce hydrogen fuel cells fitted to their company vehicles reducing energy bills and vehicle emmissions by a minimum 20%

....So for UNWTO 2013's WORLD TOURISM DAY  the challenge to the global tourism industry is to work towards sustainable initiatives to preserve 'at risk' global fresh water  resources. 

Long term advocates of Trekking Collective's
indigenous and urban initiatives, Gail and Roger Johnson were in town accompanying the annual University of Washington student study tour group that participate in TC designed 'special interest' community based [CBT]field treks for over 7 years.

Each year Roger Johnson and TC exchange ideas that support Trekking Collective's core values of sustainability of low tech 'doable' community initiatives that 1. Work 2. Affordable and beneficial for all 3. reduce, reuse and recycle locally 4. low maintainence 5. everyone can do! 7. Promote towards a low carbon global society.

Ajarn Sawat Chantalay a member of HEUSP with Students from the 'Connecting Classrooms'
initiative @ Yupparaj High School with Roger Johnson demonstrating his ideas.

2013 Roger gave his time to present his latest ideas to Faculty of Engineering, CMU and at a  lively 'Connecting Classrooms' session held at Yupparaj High School a ground breaking government school "think outside of the box" initiative created by Ajarn Sawat Chantalay an award winning local conservationist, Chiang Mai native and a member of HEUSP.

Parents and locals buying their weekend veggies!

Each Friday a local community group Holistic Environment Urban School Program - HEUSP co -supported by Trekking Collective puts together an ISAC Farmer's Organic Market at Puttisopon, a local Primary School in the Old City of Chiang Mai.

A great community meeting place to promote awareness and share local and global health and environmental issues... these cool Women Farmer's grow and prepare their own endemic vegetables and make local healthy snacks to sell direct to school parents, students, teachers. The local community and foreign visitors are all welcome!

This was a great spot for Roger Johnson to show how to put together his 'pee-dra-ponics' plant feeder or 'dry toilet'..... Read On!

Ajarn Roger putting together parts whilst the Women Farmer's juggle selling veggies and learning
how to make the 'Pee-dra-ponics' plant feeder

Simple Tools

Using local sourced and recycled products

Using 'Guesstimate' technology!

Science and English Dept. teachers from Puttisopon School
check the power point presentation
and help out with Thai-English translations
A couple of Student's Dads...obviously DIY experts joined the workshop!

Taking Notes!

The simplest ideas are always the best! with Ajarn Roger's hygenic system of converting liquid waste into organic plant food.
365 days access to FREE liquid fertilizer
2/3 Reduction in solid waste storage
up to 7 x production in vegetable plots compared to not using and fertilizers
100% chemical fertilizer free soil
improve soil quality organically
urban school projects can produce organic healthy vegetables in raised dry beds - no 'real' garden space necessary
Urban and rural local governments can upscale systems for efficient community clean sanitation management. 
So making savings in the amount of water resources used within communities.

Final peedraponic prototypes!

Success! An upscaled version of the system is now in place on an ISAC organic permaculture  farm. Next term the Science Department of Puttisopon School will have a working demonstration model and garden up and running in November 2013 with workshops planned for indigenous communities by Trekking Collective along with other parallel sustainable long term community initiatives since 1988.

Khun Aree from the ISAC Women's Organic Farmer's Group
with Roger Johnson who has a 'bedroom peedraponics system'
up and running in her permaculture garden.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Great Healthy Start for Kids in 2013!

Students and Parents from Anubahn Panee Nursery part of HEUSP pilot project
celebrate Children's Day @ their school.

 Thailand celebrates Children's Day every year along with Mother's, Father's and there is also a Teacher's day so everyone's role in society is highlighted during designated days throughout the year.

Pre Schooler enjoying healthy snacks @ Anubahn Panee's special
'Gad' Market during Children's Day activities promoting
Healthy Families = Healthy Kids!

Held on January 12 for 2013 and always celebrated on the 2nd Saturday with all Schools nationwide organising activities for Children's Day a day earlier on the 11th. 

Students @ Puttisopon School were treated to a
Police K9 show...Our Doggie student has been in training for 3 years..1 more year to go!

 HEUSP Holistic Environment Urban School Program has four Schools signed up promoting healthy activities improving the wellbeing of the children and the community as a whole. All Schools are within 10 minutes walking distance from the famous Chiang Mai 3 King's monument in the heart of the old city with museums and exhibitions relating to the history and folklore of the Lanna people with important "must visit" Temples dating from the beginning of Lanna History.

As an aside there are great tasty rice and noodles lunch time restaurants across from the 3 King's which line the road by the historic "Wat Sadeua" - Belly Button Temple of Chiang Mai easily found as there is an elegant Buddha Image  beautifully housed in the middle of the road which you need to navigate around if exploring the city on foot or by bicycle as the road is now one way.

........Lets get back to the market @ Anubahn Panee Nursery!...Now for the yummy local desserts stall
 made from healthy fresh coconut milk!

 HEUSP headed  to Doi Saket to collect 100's of economic plants with medicinal or food values to give away at Anubahn Panee Nursery and at the main Children's Day event the following day at UDIF creative urban planning centre which has a lovely teak building with local ideas and artifacts housed inside and gardens along with an unique to the city earth house built in the compound promoting recycling and reusing old for new ideas!

Lovely Aunty 'Sai Tong' helping to load up the plants in our truck
She was very knowledgable about all the local plants she tends in the nursery
and kindly passed on lots of health tips!

Here's Kung Foo 'Po' helping out @ Doi Saket..sunbathing:)

On the 12th members of LCLN - Lanna Commuity Life Network joined a fun packed afternoon event now in its 4th year with hundreds of children and their families coming along with many familiar faces! - promoting sustainable and healthy ways to enjoy Children's Day with all the family - and All for free! with quiz games highlighting the environment, amazing local Chiang Mai food prepared by local university students majoring in social sciences and sustainable urban planning, other community groups with skills in the Lanna language or famed artisan skills from Chiang Mai. Many local children took part in traditional costumed dance as well as the latest global dance moves plus prizes for everyone donated by local businesses.

Young Students on stage @ UDIF Centre

Kirk Hollis from LCLN signing up young visitors to the Chiang Mai Pledge

LCLN are a local Chiang Mai community group of Thai and global citizens that have a common goal in promoting a healthy sustainable future for Chiang Mai more in balance with nature.

LCLN and Student Banners offering solutions for a healthy sustainable Chiang Mai
all these ideas can be applied to every town and city around the planet!

LCLN's contribution to the event was to encourage children and family members to understand LCLN's message then sign up to a pledge that suggests 30 ideas towards a low carbon healthy future for our city and the planet.  More than 5000 citizens have signed to date!

Regualar visitors to the event taking home an edible local herb for delicious
Thai raw food dishes!

The prize was a choice of hundreds of plants to take home and care for and in turn help reduce the CO2 in the air.

Tomoko of LCLN handing out one of the many economic plants available for everyone to take home!

One person is not strong but there is strength in many people standing together

No one is ever too old on Children's Day to go home with a prize! plant or tree does not offer shade but many planted together can shield and protect us from the heat, the sun and create clean healthy air for Chiang Mai and the planet.

Caroline Marsh is co-founder of Chiang Mai based independent tour operator  Trekking Collective Co.,  .."Hands on Expertise, Ethical travel and Authentic Experiences contribute to making a difference to local communities and the environment." A social designer, passionate about new experiences, travel and environmental well being she writes for regional travel sites and coordinates local 'grassroots' community peoples actions for a better future society