Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Behind that masked grey visage by Chuck Baclagon

On Sunday, September 20, Chang(e) Caravan joined the citizens of Chanchoengsao, in their local festivities that combined the Global Car-Free Day with the provincial river- protection day.

Strangely enough, this was our first day in a town, after walking for days skirting around the Khao Yai National Park, and none of us, including our great friends and fellow-travelers, the elephants were particularly happy about it.

But the enthusiastic welcome by hundreds of bikers from local bike club, students from the local schools and colleges, farmers and traders who are members of agri-nature foundation and soldiers of local military unit, made the short walk through town worthwhile.

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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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Walking with the elephants! by Chuck Baclagon

Day213 September 2009

I have walked for many causes in the past.

Inspired by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, I walked with people of the Narmada valley in India who were opposing the  hugely controversial Sardar Sarovar dam, that has wiped out the lives and livelihoods of thousands while delivering very little to those who were supposed to benefit from it.

Moved by the never-say-die attitude of the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster, I have walked with them many times in their campaign to seek justice from the American multinational, Dow chemicals. This December 4th will be the 25th anniversary of the disaster and one of the longest running people’s struggle.

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The future depends on what we do in the present by Chuck Baclagon

September 12, 2009

Om Jai Shri Ganesha! As is the practice amongst millions of believers, especially the Hindus, the blessings of the elephant-headed god, aka Ganapati, the remover of obstacles and god of all beginnings, were sought today to launch the Chang(e) Caravan near the famed UNESCO world heritage site, the magnificent rainforests of Khao Yai National Park.

Later, sitting amongst hundreds of school children, watching the ancient ceremony of Wai Pakam, being performed by mahout elders of the Kui tribe, calling upon the spirits for protection of all life in the forests, I was amazed by the simple animist beliefs that have persisted despite the disappearance of the forests , thousands of species and the traditional way of life.

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