Category Archives: Nature, Wild Life & Environment

How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

Rohun Bevan, is an ex-English tennis player, amateur jungle trekker, swims like a shark and until yesterday was a friend of mine. Over a glass of wine a week or so ago he suggested that I may like to enjoy a leisurely Saturday followed by a couple of beers and join him on the ‘Hash House Harriers’ Saturday run, which he quickly changed to walk as I choked on my drink. I hesitantly agreed and at 3.15pm on the following Saturday we assembled, along with 100+ others, at a clearing in the forest behind Tesco supermarket in the Chalong area of Phuket. Continue reading How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

The death of Earth

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not know that 22nd April was ‘Earth Day’.

So, to atone for my sin – mea maxima culpa – I have put together this short post.

I feel much better already!

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have known, for more than half a century, what we have done and continue to do to the Earth . Yet despite considerable progress we still persist with destructive acts.

English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Sprin...
English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Official photo as FWS employee. c. 1940. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rachael Carson told us in her absorbing book ‘Silent Spring’ published in 1962.

She puts it so eloquently when she says:

 “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”

Continue reading The death of Earth

Balancing a love for wildlife with the demand for fossil fuel

In today’s world, when we think about preserving wildlife, it’s rare that you can mix it with the continuous use of oil and gas. The negative effects of fossil fuels on nature have long been publicized in the media. Amongst the most recent was the effects of unused oil and gas, its surrounding environment and most notably the region’s water supplies.

Texas Parks & Wildlife mentioned 4 steps to implement voluntary conservation practices:

1. Start with planning
2. Operations
3. Reclamation
4. Monitoring

There is more general guidance in minimizing impacts of fossil fuel to natural resources in a Texas Parks and Wildlife report. Continue reading Balancing a love for wildlife with the demand for fossil fuel

Fires already?

I have written many times on the subject of atmospheric pollution and although I am taking a break from blogging for a while I cannot contain my emotions when it comes to being exposed to deliberately started forest fires.

While I am managing a building project in Northern Thailand I am staying on the hill slopes of Huai Kaew village, 30 kms north of Chiang Mai, bordering the forests. The climate at this time of year is comfortable. Cool at night and early morning rising to 30c + in the day with no rain except the occasional shower.

But now the burning season starts when the monsoon rains have gone and farmers burn off the dry dead grasses and stubble to stimulate new growth next year around May/June’; then Cutting back excessive growth, clearing land and deforestation for fruit and vegetable farming.

Unfortunately making a living takes preference over self- health and the health of others. The natural environment, habitat and animal life are hardly a consideration.

Despite the annual government warnings and penalties, seldom imposed, slash and burn techniques continue unabated. Ask the locals and they will tell you ‘This is the way it has always been.’

Ask if they think it is OK and you will probably get a shrug of the shoulders or, at best, ‘What can I do’.

In other words, total apathy.

Having nearly choked to death in Phuket, due to the horrendous forest fires in Sumatra, in September/October I have a more than a vested interest in finding a solution to the Global air pollution problem.

Apart from helping to raise awareness in a small way I am virtually powerless.

And so the global problem of Global warming continues on its merry way and we all suffer the consequences.

You may say ‘The Sun will eventually destroy us so what does it matter anyway.’

I say I am thankful I have no grandchildren!!!

I leave you with this hurriedly written poem induced by indignation and wine and would like you to look at my picture of the beautiful forest I am looking at tonight which is burning as I write.

 

Why are you killing us?

Burning our land.

You have no rites of passage.

You have no right to stand

 

I watch in despair,

Each night as I laze.

Your fires that destroy us;

My lungs are ablaze.

 

The world is at war

With natures reaction,

To warming the globe

And our interaction.

 

The ice caps are melting.

The land is enveloped.

Species facing extinction.

No chance to develop.

 

I ask you again,

Please consider your brother.

Remember your learning and

How you treat your mother (Earth).

 

 

Are we human?

As Koh Phuket suffers from deliberate crop burning in far-away Sumatra and Northern Thailand prepares itself for the same treatment in February and March each year, I wonder are we obsessed with fire?

Rawai Sunrise – September 2015

Air pollution drifting in from Indonesia changes the landscape in Rawai Bay, Phuket
Air pollution drifting in from Indonesia changes the landscape in Rawai Bay, Phuket

Rawai Sunrise – August 2015

Sunrise in Rawai Bay - August 2015
Sunrise in Rawai Bay – August 2015

We are human after all – or are we human at all?

Do those who cause the problems feel guilty that 50% of the people of Northern Thailand suffer from respiratory problems? If they don’t care for their own health then the answer is obvious.

In March 2014 I posted on this topic in ‘Is North Thailand a Health Hazard’  In the light of the recent fires in Indonesia it seems appropriate to air the issue once again.

In that post I wrote:

“Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai only have populations of between 2 and 3 million. Pollution is mainly caused by subsistence farmers employing outdated ‘slash and burn’ techniques used for hundreds of years to clear forest and scrub land and grow crops. The government is well aware of the dangers to health but is failing the people miserably. Together with the many ‘Forest Fire Control Centres’, throughout the provinces, the authorities are once again proving to be either unwilling or powerless to prevent the recklessness of ignorant rural people. It would seem that most have little or no concern for their own or others health and safety.”

We know that the very star that gives us life will eventually destroy us; consuming us in a fire of cataclysmic proportions.

Surely this cannot be the reason we are committed to prior self-destruction by the constant burning of our planet?

Is the knowledge that the Sun will take away the life it gives reason for our own pre-emptive strike on the World.

Forest fires, wars and crop burning rage across the world with never-ending regularity.

Despite the fact that laws are in place governments are powerless to stop the destruction of the planet by its inhabitants. Ignorance prevails and prosecutions are few and far between.

Have we such disregard for our neighbours that we continue to burn our lands and stand by as the smoke drifts on the wind thousands of miles across the seas to choke our brothers?

And let us not forget the never ending environmental problems and the silent suffering animals, birds, sea creatures and insects affected by our actions.

Despite all the knowledge at our disposal it seems we still fail to understand that we desperately need nature but nature does not need us.

 

 

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