Environmentally Sustainable Development in Thailand


Written by: Jojo Poon

What is “development”? What kind of development will lead to better living? In what way will go by contraries? We might be able to find out more from the experience of the farming tribes in Northern Thailand.

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Bringing Sustainable Development to Lahu through Ecological Improvement

Unsustainable consumption and production are among the major causes of continual deterioration of the global environment. In early years, the Lahu ethnic minority living in northern Thailand gave up their traditional agricultural practices, and started using pesticides and chemical fertilisers massively to plant cash crops in order to meet the agricultural market demand. They were making profit initially, but as the market price and oil price fluctuated, and the farmland became infertile, their harvest gradually dropped to a point where it could no longer support their living. What was worse was the negative impact on the health of villagers, whose bodies were found to contain too much residual chemical toxins as a result of prolonged consumption of crops with high levels of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

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Pray for Victims of Trafficking in Northern Thailand

Thai-Lahu Foundation (TLF) is CEDAR’s partner in Chiang Mai, Thailand. TLF’s director, Pastor Prasang recalled, “One day, a TLF co-worker discovered a group of girls belonging to the Lahu ethnic group from a village situated in the mountain regions of Northern Thailand wandering around the bus stop. The girls were not waiting for bus, but were waiting for something. The confused look on their faces showed that they were not certain what they were waiting for. The TLF co-worker walked up to the suspected coordinator and asked where she was taking the girls to. Shockingly, the coordinator was not sure either. The bus stop was only a transit hub and she only knew she had to take them to an unidentified location. At the end, the TLF co-worker recorded the identity card numbers and addresses of the girls and also of the coordinator, and warned the coordinator to ensure each girl would return to their village safely. The TLF co-worker later checked with the village and was reassured that all girls were safely at home.

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