Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Save the planet!

A Commitment to Help Save The Planet

Take a break from driving. Walk or ride a bicycle(the two most efficient forms of transportation ever devised). And if you have to drive, take a bus or carpool whenever possible.
Bring your own bag. Bring a cloth bag with you and reuse the plastic bags you do get wherever you buy anything. Tell the vendor you don’t need a bag! (Globally, we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every Minutes.)
Use fewer plastic bottles. Drink the water provided at restaurants, at school and at work- it’s filtered, it’s healthy and it’s free! Instead of buying expensive bottled beverages, like sugary sodas and teas.
Use recycled paper. There’s no need to use virgin paper for things like computer printing, envelopes, paper towels, or tissue. Recycled paper is now easy to find. Also be sure to print and copy on both sides of the page before taking it to the recycling bin.
Use rechargeable batteries instead of single-use batteries. They’ll save your money in the long run, and the trouble of trying to recycle used alkaline batteries (but be sure to recycle those regular batteries you have been using)!
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). They’re much more energy efficient- lasting up to ten times longer than traditional bulbs-and save you money over their lifespan.
Recycle. Separate your trash into things that can be recycled (plastics, cans, bottles, paper, etc…) and those that can’t (which isn’t much).
Turn of lights and power strips when not in use. Even if you’re only out of the room for a few minutes, it saves energy to turn off lights and power strips while you’re not using them, then turn them back on when you need them again.
Plant a tree. In fact, plant a lot of trees. They help offset CO2 emissions, reduce water runoff, and provide much needed shade.
Talk to your friends and neighbors. Tell them what you’re doing, about your concern and interests in the environment. You may be surprised how many of them join you!

There are many other things we can do, many other ways we can help. I encourage all of us to get involved.
Dried Tears from the Steep Hills

"Please don't cry because it is not only you who are at lost. Did you know that you do not have a citizenship card? Did you know that you do not have a country? You are a human just like me. Smile for me precious one. I will be the person who will wipe your tears. I love you my dear. But if crying makes you feel better then you should let it all out. Sometimes you may be the person who has to find out about the sad news as this." I tried my very best to twist my tongue in order to attempt to speak Thai in a serious manner while tears fell from my eyes into the bank of the Salween River. As the tears rolled down my face while holding her hands tightly, a big dark shadow the size of a mountain came down and swooped her away into the heavens. She cried in out in Thai, "please help me! Please help me!" I ran along the bank of the Salween River yelling at the top of my lungs "please don't take her way, please!"
I did not know how far I ran. I cried for her and kept running forward while my eyes were fixed on her. I did not know how far I had run and it was only when I tripped on a tree stump that I stopped. I tried to get up so I could continue running after her, but I could not do it. In just a short moment, a villager came running to me. I tried to push myself up with my left hand, but a large hand was pushing down on my shoulder. I heard someone say in their own distinct accent in Thai:
"Don't get up, you are hurt."
I was able to gather myself and sat up. I used my right hand to examine myself to see where I might have been hurt. At the end I discovered that my elbows and my knees were cut and blood was streaming out from them. I turned to the man standing to my side and asked:
"What are we going to do?"
"I just don't know what to do"
I was still sitting on the bank of the river and mumbled to myself: "Nothanutu! What should I do to bring you back? I am sorry that I let you fall into danger all by yourself."
"Mister, we cannot do any more to help her. They have already taken her." I tried to search for the voice that spoke these words. He was the man who told me not to get up to continue with my search. He was a dark man who was physically fit and had a sad look on his face. He helped me up to walk back.
"Did you know that we have settled here for 27 years? The banks of the Salween are our birthplace. You may not understand this since you are not a Karen."
"How did the villagers settle here?" I asked with interest. He stopped walking and stalled for a moment to contemplate and then turned around to ask me.
"Didn't Kathanutu tell you about this?"
"Yes she did, but I wanted to know more in detail from you."
He held on to my arms tightly, which I thought was a little too tight. Then he led me to sit on a log lying next to the road that led to the riverbank. His eyes glanced over the Salween River to the Burmese side, which was full of green forest and rolling hills that bended down as if they were staring directly at the riverbank. He took a deep breath and spoke softly in Thai, "Back then I was just a little boy, two years old. My parents moved here to this side of the Salween because we could not stay over the other side. Everyday, we Karen were haunted like wild animals. Everyday people suffered. The cries of sadness were everywhere. Every so often we would hear a gunshot, bang bang! That was a sign that another one or two Karen had left this beautiful earth. What followed were continuous cries. The trees were stained with blood." He stopped talking about the horrible and depressing story. The monumental shadow had moved to the northern side. I looked at it in wonder. It had large teeth the size of the Salween River. Its eyes were dark red. Saliva flowed from both sides of its mouth and a voice resonated from it "ha, ha, ha I will eat all the land." In just a moment, the terrible face disappeared, but the shadow was still dense and dark as usual. I tried to move into a hidden place to take a closer look. The shadow spread across both banks of the Salween River.
"There, there look it's eating the Mae Du Village and the other villages close by."
"Don't speak, it will hear us. We will for sure be dead." At the same time, Thanu pulled my arm close to the tree with thick bushes. Loud noise was heard all over. In just a moment, we heard a voice of a woman coming from the dark shadow. "Help me, please help me, I'm going to die, help me, help me." I recognized that voice and it could not be any other than Thanutu's. I jumped out of the hiding place and yelled back.
"Thanutu! I am here, get out of there. I will help you. Get out!"
"Why are you doing this? It's not just your life and my life here, you know? It affects all the Karen on both banks of the river who will all eventually be dead. Come in!" Thanu pulled my arm into our hiding place. The noise kept getting louder. It got so dark that we were not able to see anything around us. The laugh kept getting louder and the hills moved to and fro. The sound of the moaning was not different from that of a giant demon's. "I will eat all of the people, ha, ha, ha!" Thanu and I were lying so close to the ground that it felt difficult to breathe at times. I kept thinking how much longer it would be like this.
"How long will it be like this Thanu?" I whispered into Thanu's ear as I could not stand it like this anymore.
"As long as there are Karen people in this area this type of situation will continue to exist," Thanu whispered back.
When the noise diminished I looked out from the tree. Oh my Lord! I saw red everywhere as if the blood stained the leaves and grass. I looked up to the sky and saw the color that resembled the rust from metals. A voice came from a dark cloud in the sky in an unclear Thai accent.
"My love, please help me, help me. I am suffering so much in this place. If I stay here any longer I will die for sure (sniff, sniff) help me."
"I am here. I still love you as always Thanutu."
Suddenly I was awakened to a sitting position, feeling a short of breath. I walked over to a table, grabbed a hold of a water bottle, poured the water into a glass and took a big gulp. Using my right hand, I wiped off the dried tears from my eyes and mumbled to myself "Good luck everyone. We are humans just the same."
By Sengphouxay Inthavikham

The rain, the river, and the tears

A window has been blurred with an unceasing rain
That is listening to so much piled-up sadness…

deep in the heart of a young girl.
She sits there, and silently looks at the curtain of rain,
A white-dimmed drape is inundating her vision.

How many times must hide together with the rain,

she doesn’t remember all;
But forgettable, her memory lives on in a voice choked with sobs,
It does not return her sister nor her ancestor’s land

that also lost in a rainy night,
She has only one simple thing, she lives with the river.

The river has been still lying, under a dull rain;
It silently flows in common with the deep pangs of parting.
Because of its robbed partial bodies, from uncontrolled ambitions;
For the time being all are just in memory, she will never get them back!

But the sun will come back with the river,
And brings those who think about Mother river’s giving

birth and a settled position to.
The river still currents, but full of sinewy vitality;
Just remain a sparkle glint from the girl’s soul,

with the river bathed in radiant sunlight.

By Talong

E & R, and U and Me

I came here under full moonlight
And woke up with ER-M’s friends
Different voices in the same warm heart
We live together for a better life,
Life of the Earth and Rights of people
Shown right here with all board friends
Side by side and give us their arms

By Talong

The trip to Salween River!

The Trip to Salween River

The trip to Salween River, is a very long way by van, which we took about 5 hours. In order to get to Karen village, we need to ride a boat from the port at the point we got off the van and take about 2 hours in riding. The Salween river is the big one of the rivers. It has the source in Hunnan province of China and flow go to the Underman ocean. But it is not as big as Mekong river. I feel exited when I see are strong flowing in opposite direction with our boat and otherwise because I see the river bank are mountain lines with green tries. I also see there are some houses rotating a long the both riverbank which one side is Thailand and another side is Burma and beside this there are some floating houses. I am interested with the view along the river but the same time, I also feel sleepy because of cold and fresh air and tired of taking on the van.
At last, the boat stopped at the riverbank and I see a few people came out of the village to see, greet and help us to carry some baggage. That is the Karen people, who are living the riverbank of Thailand side. When we arrived village, I see many houses which some are located on low land and some on the high land. It was also in the evening, we were divided into 4 groups to sleep with villager in 4 houses and we divided food for each group. In my group there are 4 people. We help each other to the cook meal for dinner and after dinner we went to sleep.
In the second day, after breakfast we took a boat to upstream to see the Hutgyi dam site and it took about 1 hour. Along the riverbank, I still see some villages and school located along the riverbanks. We stop at the floating house, where one is the health center and other one is shop. Before we arrive the dam sit, we saw a note-No Dam putting in the riverbank. And not much time, we arrive the dam site, we got off the boat and had a meeting on the river beach and 3 staffs from Karen River Watch to present us about the situation of Karen people being violated by Burma militaries and about their some of their activities in helping Karen people to organize the movement to protest with the plan of building dam, lasting their work getting successful, that the Hutgyi dam have been delayed. In the evening we have a meeting with presenting by 3 staffs from SEARIN. They showed us some movies about Thai Bann Research (Local Wisdom Research), which the work focus on documenting of fish species, plant species, the way of catching fish by using local fishing gears and technique and also the life way of Karen people. The importance of this document is to make as a report and also as evidence.
In the third day, after breakfast we accompany villager to see their field which on the mountain. When we arrived the field, we took a rest in a shelter and we all ask many questions to our villagers. During this time, I learned many things such as the way of planting rice and other crops, their belief on the strange soul, the way of helping each other in daily live and also I know about their feel to dam construction. I learn about how to collect wild vegetable like mushroom, bamboo shut which is the main vegetable for every family. We cook all vegetable being collected from the forest and we eat lunch right there happily.
In the evening, villagers cooked one pig for dinner as a party for thank, friendship, and farewell. We all enjoyed eating dinner with villager and students in front of the informal school of the village. After dinner, all students played music instruments and sing many songs for us and we also sang some songs for them and we also dance together.
In the last day, after breakfast, I say good buy with my house owner and went down to the boat. Many villagers helped us to bring our baggage to the boat and before we left, we take some pictures with our villagers and then we say good buy to them and rode the boat back, this time I feel very sad while I saw those people are waving their hand to say good buy with us.
Through this trip, I feel that I’ve seen and learnt many new things outside, like the natural view the Salween river and especial like the situation of Karen people who being violated by Burma militaries on their right to life and right to participate in decision making like in the case of dam construction plan on the Salween river, which will affect ethnic people living along the riverbank and destroy environment. So I hop that when I meet some issues in my country, I will have idea how I can participate in helping solving the issue.

Date: 10 September 2006 Written by: Keat Kunthea

River for Life!

River For Life!
Burma Rivers Network Asks Burma’s neighbours to End Energy Deals with the Myanmar Military Junta

The Burma Rivers Network supports the Buddhist Sangha and citizens of Burma who seek solutions to Burma’s economic problems, release of political prisoners, genuine national reconciliation and the end of brutal military rule. We condemn the use of violence against unarmed, peaceful protestors. We call on neighbouring countries to pressure the junta to forego further violence against monks and civilian protestors.
Energy development deals with the military junta are by far the largest source of financial and political support to the regime. We call on Thailand, China, Bangladesh and India to withdraw from planned joint ventures. The multibillion-dollar energy projects push the military junta into ongoing environmental destruction and human rights.
The military junta ordered their forces to open fire on peaceful protestors. Monastery doors were smashed in and hundreds of monks were seized, beaten and dragged away. Thousands of civilians and monks are imprisoned, facing torture or secret execution. Hundreds have been killed or disappeared.
This violence is consistent with other aspects of Burma’s misrule. Along the Salween River where large dams are planned, a 60-year war continues with the help of neighboring countries. Burning, looting, landmines, forced relocation, forced labor, systematic rape, and extrajudicial killings are everyday occurrences. Ongoing partnerships with the Myanmar dictatorship will directly support arms acquisitions and military offensives against Burmese citizens
Dams on the Salween River alone could cost at least US $20 billion – a king’s ransom for the junta. In the second-most corrupt country in the world, this money will benefit the military, not nation or its people.
Burmese citizens must endure enormous hardships under the brutal and economically incompetent regime. Fuel price increases and attendant inflation devastate families’ lives throughout the impoverished nation. Despite Burma’s lack of electricity, hydropower and natural gas will be exported to fund further military expansion.
Dams in Burma built for neighbors, and the associated environmental catastrophe, will continue social and human health crises. Big dams like China’s Three Gorges Dam, are now recognized as creating more trouble than they solve. Dams in war-zones will bring even more problems, as the people of Thailand, India and China have already come to know.
Fisheries, floods and loss of farmland will disrupt the livelihoods of millions of people in many countries. The Salween Dams will displace 73,000 villagers in addition to the hundreds of thousands of people already forced to relocate. Thailand and other neighbors, in their quest for cheap energy, will face ever more refugees.
Engaging the military rulers of Burma brings responsibility for heinous crimes against Burma’s people, monks and morality. China has recently been strongly promoting the “8 Honors and Disgraces,” India its Gandhian heritage, and Thailand’s military government also promotes higher morality. Supporting the murderous Myanmar dictatorship is irreconcilable with a peace-centered ethical position.
Given recent attacks against unarmed, peaceful monks and demonstrators, we call on Thailand, China, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh and other countries to recognize these grave abuses. Burma’s partners should withdraw from business deals with the Burmese regime to stop further militarization and oppression of the people of Burma. The international community and civil society can and must actively encourage China, India, and ASEAN to establish targeted sanctions in the form of disinvestment from Burma’s destructive hydropower projects. Finally, we all must unite to pressure to the military regime to refrain from using force against peaceful protestors, and to respect the basic rights and needs of the nation’s people, especially the rights to life and livelihood.

Burma Rivers Network is made up of ethnic community organizations that represent people potentially affected by dams throughout Burma. We believe that use of resources must be based on ecological sustainability and social justice.

For more information please contact: Thay Law:, (66)-843636603