Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Beautiful Moment #4 by Chuck Baclagon
September 18, 2009, 2:01 am
Filed under: Change Caravan, Stop climate change, Thailand | Tags: , , , ,


Lea Guerrero

Elephants, close up by Chuck Baclagon
September 18, 2009, 1:35 am
Filed under: Change Caravan, Stop climate change, Thailand | Tags: , , , , ,

You never get to know an elephant until you go on an elephant caravan.
And we’ve been really up close with five of them in this journey. More on each of them later….

Meanwhile, here are some interesting close up photos from Tui…


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People-Elephant-Forest by Chuck Baclagon

_MG_4105-websizeThis is a photo of a People-Elephant-Forest talk which the TERF (Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund) usually conduct.  Their audience varies and this one that we conducted last Tuesday is the talk for school children.

TERF conducts these conservation awareness talks mainly in support of their thrust to reduce Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) elephants (particularly wild elephants) are sometimes known to wander out of the forest (because the forests are getting smaller, or the herds are getting too big for the forest to sustain them, that they usually encounter situations with communities, like trampling on cornfields and eating the crops.  This becomes a source of conflict, so that some people regard elephants as pests and sometimes even kill them.
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You can never get tired of watching elephants taking a shower…. by Chuck Baclagon

Greenpeace-ChangeCaravan-17Sep09-05-webElephants can suck up to 14 liters of water at a time.  Just imagine how much water a large creature such as the elephant needs.

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Beautiful Moment #3 by Chuck Baclagon
September 17, 2009, 12:59 am
Filed under: Change Caravan, Stop climate change | Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s another beautiful moment from the caravan: Passing by rice fields in Saraburi Province.


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Dumbo Drop by Chuck Baclagon

September 15, 2009

No, I don’t mean what Um has to clean up, but the process of transporting elephants across provincial borders. An operation as complicated as the movie Operation Dumbo Drop.

As required by Thai law and provincial administration regulations, Elephants cannot walk across provincial borders, they can only be transported by trucks, with prior permissions of the livestock department.

So, early this morning after their usual enormous breakfast; with the help of the mahouts, our veterinarian and elephant transport experts, our great friends delicately clambered onto the back of a truck specially designed for them and were driven across the borders which an elephant can hardly tell, but let us not get into the irony of this bureaucratic joke.

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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.”

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Beautiful Moment #2 by Chuck Baclagon

The moment we saw this everyone called it the “perfect photo.” It was taken just at the right time when the sun had newly risen. The elephants went for a dip before they set off for the second leg of the Chang[e] Caravan.

The water reminded me that later on on this journey we‘ll be visiting climate impacted areas. in a watershed area. one of climate change‘s greatest impacts is on water availability.  we‘re not walking for elephants in this caravan, we‘re walking for all those whose future depends on stabilizing the climate.

Lea Guerrero

Beautiful Moment by Chuck Baclagon

Elephants and their mahouts take Thai Buddhist monks to the venue for the send of blessing for the Greenpeace Chang(e) Caravan.

September 12, 2009

Yes, after the  successful launch yesterday- with full work integration across all departments and 3 countries, today we started our journey early in the morning with a Buddhism traditional blessing ceremony. We all, Greenpeace team, together with other guests and community people gathered in front of the research center (launching place) to offer food to the monks while they were sitting on the 5 elephants – who are now walking with the caravan. This will surely bring us good luck throughout the journey. Beautiful moment- indeed.

Then we started walking.  Besides the Thai team, we also have the campaign team from the Philippines and Indonesia walk together – led by Shai and Tara. Our super Shai and his son Shane were ones of the few persons who could walk non-stop throughout the whole 10 km route today, despite a sunny day – wow.  Along the way, we stopped at the energy efficiency resort- they happily welcomed us and presented their energy efficiency design buildings which are powered by wind turbine and solar cells, which exemplify a good practice for climate change mitigation. They also gave us some donations for the Chang(e) Caravan.  Walked a few more kilometres, then we reached the place where we would stay overnight.

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What do ancient elephant poachers and Greenpeace have in common? by Chuck Baclagon
A mahout elder stands before an elephant while waiting to perform a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey.

A mahout elder stands before an elephant while waiting to perform a Pa-Kam ritual, a traditional ceremony to call on mahout ancestors for for good luck and safety before an elephant journey.

September 12, 2009

We launched the Chang(e) Caravan last Saturday with a traditional Thai mahout ceremony called the Pak-Am. Now, if you knew what the Pak-Am was originally, you’d wonder why on earth it would be part of a Greenpeace project launch!

The ritual’s origins can be traced to a centuries old Khmer (now Cambodia) practice –a mahout prays for safety before he goes into the jungle to catch elephants.  In other words, it’s a ritual that originated with elephant poaching.  Yes–you read that right –elephant poaching.

Interesting, eh?  But these days, now that elephant poaching is (thankfully) illegal, the Pak-Am has taken on a milder forms.

One is as a rite of passage for mahouts—to be a respected mahout one has to pass the Pak-Am.  (In the past, this meant that the mahout had to have caught 11 to 16 elephants.)

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