Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Washington, we have a problem. by Chuck Baclagon

Xiaowei, a Chinese rock-star, Tshepo, an African activist and Shane, an American-Indian student are part of the small Greenpeace team of Thai and Filipino staff and volunteers, that walked the entire distance of 12 kms with the Chang(e) caravan today.

Watching them through the view finder of my camera, I was reminded of Margaret Mead’s words, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Today we skirted around the Khao Yai National Park, a 2168 square kilometer sanctuary that was established in 1959 by General Sarit Thanarat and today represents the best practices in forest conservation in  Thailand.

At Bannonkradone school near the park, our small group of Chang(e) activists were greeted by over 300 children, who began screeching and screaming excitedly “chang, chang, chang, chang” as we turned the corner to enter the school, our first stop of the day.

Xiaowei dressed up as a hornbill, Tshepo in his tiger suit, and Shane in his Organutan suit led the elephants into the school, while the children clapped and jumped with enthusiasm. They touched the elephants with awe and shook hands with the Orangutan and the tiger.

Between you and me, I see children; I see problems, of elephantine proportions. A very large group of very young children fills me with anxiety and worry.

To know what we know today, about the accelerating impacts of climate change, the ever-increasing competition over limited natural resources, and the insatiable greed of my generation, I despair thinking about what future holds for these innocent and happy children.

Setting aside my depressing thoughts, I sat and watched our wonder-girls, the Public Outreach team, Fa, Ploy and Jeeb, sing, dance and play games, all designed to educate and entertain the children about the Change that we want to see. After which the children lined up to sign the Chang(e) petiton.

Later, while counting the number of petitions to Mr. Obama we had collected today, I wondered if he would ever hear the voices of the people of Southeast Asia and take action demanded of him or will he succumb to domestic pressures and let the whole world down that had greeted his election to be the American President with so much hope.

At dusk, we set up our tents in the temple premises near the school, tired but exhilarated, as we quietly watched our great friends and fellow travelers, elephants, lay down on their sides to sleep. Which is when Dr. Alongkot told me about a budding romance between two of our elephants. Our 13 year old tusker Kachapat is head over heels in love with the 38 year cow Dokkaew. Both of them have been showing all classical symptoms of mating elephants, and unlike us humans, I was told they don’t waste time in elaborate courtship and are expected to get down to business of procreating very soon.

Having seen the elephant’s appetite for food and water, having observed the shrinking forests and water resources around Khao Yai, , I spent rest of the evening fretting whether the forest will be able to provide for another elephant. Washington, we have a problem!. Help us save our forests. Now.

Shailendra Yashwant

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[…] Washington, we have a problem. « Greenpeace Southeast Asia – view page – cached September 15, 2009 at 8:14 am · Filed under Change Caravan, Stop climate change ·Tagged asiatic elephants, change caravan, Climate Change, climate change activity, Climate Impacts, climate treaty, deforestation, elephants, forest protection, Forests, Global Warming, Obama, un copenhagen climate — From the page […]

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Wow! such a great writing again. Eye-witnessing, Educating & Tempting. Thanks for sharing this.
Yes, Washingtone, we definitely have a problem!

Comment by Rin

[…] trained by their mahouts, can comprehend upto 40 voice commands. Which btw, is way more than, Shane,  my son, is willing to respond to.  […]

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