Tree Planting Huai Teng Tao 28th August 2015

Proposals submitted early this month for urban forest planting have fallen on deaf ears.

However staff and students from the International College at Payap University have asked for assistance from Gum Hak Doi Suthep to plant trees and this will take place at  Huai Teng Tao 28th August 2015.

Planting site

Planting site


The plan involves teaching some bush land management skills, direct seed planting and planting of trees. All welcome. The site is between the road around the lake and the lake just south of paddy fields north of the lake. Rendez-vous at the Scout Camp and toilet facilities 200 metres to the south by 1:30 pm.

Chiang Mai resident Mr Adrian Pieper has kindly provided financial assistance for this project

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Naomi – Everything REALLY Must Change

Naomi Klein is a truly shocking writer. Read her latest 466 closely typed pages and 60 more of notes in her latest book “This Changes Everything” and you will not fail to be shocked by many of the thousands of revelations therein. (Now available at Chiang Mai bookstores ).

Clearly though, in the lead up to this years Paris Climate Talks U.S. President Barak Obama, if he has read Naomi, has chosen with his recent announcement of greenhouse gas emissions targets in coming decades to ignore her dire warnings and Paris seems set for a feel good “success” while the ice melts and millions die.  Naomi however will likely shrug and say “told you so”.



Victoria, the southern most mainland state of the Commonwealth of Australia however aims to be a “Climate Leader” and has called called for submissions to a panel reviewing its Climate Act. Below is a personal submission and one which having but a smattering of detail raises issues either omitted by Naomi or left unclear such as Cuba, Yugoslavia, the Grand Tour and Cut Flowers.

To: The Victorian Climate Change Act Review Panel

Dear Panel,

My interest in the challenge of a heating world goes back many years. During the period of the Cain and Kirner governments 1982-92 I served as a member of the ALP Conservation and Environment Policy committee and also for a time on its Transport Policy committee.
During that period my comrades and I became aware of the negative environmental impacts and expanding Melbourne metropolis was having and especially the destruction caused by expanding roads infrastructure at the expense of public and bicycle transport.
During the period of John Cain’s Premiership the government introduced a State Conservation Strategy and in considering the draft document I noticed that the officers had omitted reference to the issue of climate change and at my initiative this omission was corrected, and to my knowledge became the first Victorian Government policy document to recognise the problem.

I regret to say that over the following years governments have not taken this issue to heart but on the contrary have promoted expansionist economic agendas which have greatly increased Victoria’s carbon footprint.

In answering the government’s brief to review the Climate Change Act a heavy weight falls upon the shoulders of the reviewers and I urge you to approach your task with due humility. You may have experience in areas such as carbon trading, please put this aside and invite fresh minds to join in preparing advice for the parliament.

Just as my comrades and I failed to stem the freeway construction tide a generation ago, the framers of the Kyoto protocol have failed to stem, let alone reverse, greenhouse gas emissions. The time for setting targets for the gradual reduction of emissions to effect necessary change has past.

Since the last review of Victoria’s climate laws it appears much has changed for the worse.

Take for example this recent Rolling Stone story replete with tales of looming extinction of much of life on Earth :

Looking at how close are we to the methyl clathrate tipping point which would make irrelevant any attempts to slow global warming by eliminating fossil fuel combustion?The views of appeared to be ignored.

Melbourne author David Spratt  in his blog explains how any continued fossil fuel combustion is incompatible with human civilization. He calls for an emergency response along the lines of the full economic and social mobilization of the Allies in the face of the threat of Axis in the 1940s. Together with the Soviet command economy this mobilization defeated Axis.

David’s approach may sound alarming. What will happen to our freedoms we may ask?

Better to ask “What will happen to the freedom of the 80?” . Who are the 80? They are the richest in the world who between them have as much wealth as all the rest of humanity. These are the people, as Naomi Klein details in “This Changes Everything” who have engineered the present economic system through the development of the World Trade Organisation and its rules which override national, state and local governments and their efforts to build green economies and deny Third World countries the means to care for their people by the fraud of intellectual property rights.

And the 80 run the world and the politicians whether we elect them or not. The 80 have locked us into life and production practices which are destroying life on Earth. Victorians need to be made aware of this if the state is to play a leadership role in the climate struggle, and this awareness needs to be taken forcefully to Paris to lobby every national delegation to the upcoming climate talks later this year.

Returning to the analogy of war time mobilisation I recall my grandmother who lived in Melbourne from the age of four talking about her taking a grand tour of “the Continent” during the early 1930’s and describing Budapest as the most beautiful city in the world. Of course come the outbreak of war in 1939 intercontinental touring came to an abrupt stop.

The perils the world faces today are far worse than the Nazi and Japanese horrors and a rational response today would likewise be to end intercontinental tourism. Just as the USA suspended auto manufacture overnight and turned to building the means of war, industrial societies today need to abandon enterprises such as oil and gas prospecting, or willfully trivial trade such as airfreight of cut flowers and in fact practically everything apart from life preserving medical supplies or famine relief. These activities do not warrant a phased shut down but immediate action.

The second world war was seen as an opportunity for some in the banking and resources sectors for enrichment and while nations suffered some in business prospered.  The social benefits of private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and of so-called intellectual property are now far outweighed by the monstrous economic machine that is its creation.

Victorian law needs to be a leader in requiring all enterprises be jointly managed by the workers and the communities they serve. This law needs to be applied comprehensively so that no foreign board rooms will be deciding what goes in Victoria. This was the model of socialism which was very successful in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In many cases this will involve closing down of previous production and converting resources to sustainable processing, and there are examples in the west where new cooperative enterprises have prospered under such arrangements.

Another example which could serve as a beacon for Victoria, is the sudden transformation of the Cuban economy with its industrialised export oriented agricultural sector  from one highly dependent on oil when the demise of Comecon brought this to a halt. The change forced Cubans to desist from motoring and millions of bicycles were provided for the people who showed a marked improvement in their cardio-vascular health. Also a team of Victorian Permiculture specialists traveled to Cuba during this Special Period and introduced measures to improve nutrition.

It is said that during the hardships of World War II in England under the Nazi blitz, there was never-the-less a strong fighting spirit and unity among the people. The challenge for Victoria which unlike many parts of the world presently suffering terrible suffering from climate changing floods and extremes of heat and cold is better placed to make changes and ensure social justice, is to build a new community spirit to transform our economy and our relations with each other and our mother Earth.

I give permission for my submission to be published by the review committee .


Might one hope that the Thai delegation to Paris, unlike the government with its head firmly buried in the sand, picks up some points and provides a positive influence on the talks?


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Bike for MOM – but don’t forget the trees.

We have written before about Thailand’s Crown Prince and his love of cycling and now the whole country has been alerted to the fact by his leadership of the “Bike for MOM” events to celebrate Mother’s Day and the Queen’s birthday.

2015-07-02 12.36.05 Bike for Mom

This event is a welcome promotion for cycling where Car Free Day means cars as usual, unlike say the cities of Bogota in Columbia or Jakarta closer to home.

But with the excitement of this event please give some thoughts and plan some action on one of the issues dearest to the heart of Queen Sirikit, namely the Conservation of the Environment.

In years gone by tree planting in honour of the Queen has been the norm, and this year, despite the impact of the drought, should be no exception.

It is not too late to organize a series of planting events beginning on the day of the bike ride and then over the following two weekends to plant three new urban forests as we suggested early this month.

So may we request during the next two weeks the office of the Governor organise teams of volunteers including soldiers and prisoners, as was done recently with cleaning rubbish from the Mae Kha Canal, to prepare the planting sites and with community assistance organize trees, stakes, mulch and tools for planting and watering the young trees. Each of the sites suggested:

1. South of the Government Center ( Sala Klang) for planting on 16th August

2. Railway Park for planting on 23rd August, and

3. Huai Teng Tao for planting on 30th August

have management crews who can assist with directing and undertaking weed control and watering trees as necessary during the dry.

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Panoramic Planting Possibilities

Things seldom come as we might prefer. Last year the rains were good but the government tree nurseries were in a state of chaos. This year almost no rain but as good supply of trees seedlings is available.

But if we plant where to plant? Chiang Mai has a new group of enthusiasts who have been planting trees around the moat and inner city places, but there are limitations to this approach, so how about broad acre forest restoration?

Here we present photos of sites which are crying out for trees, all on government land.  So choose one or two or more, talk to the managing body and seek their assistance and go for it!

NOTE: Click on a picture and keep clicking to see it blown up to full screen size and beyond, and please leave a commet to show your interest.

Sala Klang Government Center

Sala Klang Government Center

North of the Golf Course

North of the Golf Course


Ralway Park East for planting

Ralway Park East for planting


Huai Teng Tao Northern edge

Huai Teng Tao Northern edge

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ภูมิประเทศแบบเมืองเชียงใหม่ – ภาษาไทย – English

ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model

                                        – ภูมิประเทศแบบเมืองเชียงใหม่

Over the long history of the development of the Earth countless species of living things have evolved. As a  result of this evolution, and given its fortunate geographical position, Thailand has some of the greatest diversity of plant life on Earth. For example there are more species of orchids and also of the ginger family in Thailand than in any other country. The orchids and the gingers, both with their fantastic beauty and variety, however, do not live in isolation. They are plants of the forest, one growing mostly on the branches of trees, the other in the shade beneath them.

·      ตลอดระยะเวลาอันยาวนานที่สิ่งมีชีวิตชนิดต่างๆ บนโลก ได้มีวิวัฒนาการมาจนถึงทุกวันนี้  
·     ผลจากวิวัฒนาการดังกล่าว ทำให้มันเติบโตได้ในทำเลที่เหมาะสม
·      ประเทศไทยนั้น มีความหลากหลายของพืชพันธุ์ที่ยิ่งใหญ่ที่สุดแห่งหนึ่งของโลก
·      ตัวอย่างเช่น มีพันธุ์กล้วยไม้และพืชตระกูลขิงมากกว่าที่แห่งใดในโลก ซึ่งมีความสวยงามและหลากหลาย และอาศัยอยู่ในระแวกเดียวกัน  โดยต่างก็เป็นพืชป่า
·      กล้วยไม้ส่วนใหญ่นั้น จะอาศัยอยู่ตามกิ่งไม้  ส่วนพืชตระกูลขิงนั้นจะอาศัยอยู่ใต้ร่มเงาของต้นไม้

The trees of our country also show great variation in appearance, form and mode of living, with over 1000 species recorded in the north. Yet for those of us growing up the fertile plains of the valleys, and in the towns and cities, this may come as a surprise. When we look around we see mostly a few varieties of economic trees and of ornamental trees planted for shade and color. Most of the latter either come from distant continents, from  Africa, Australia or America or if from Thailand from distant provinces.

·      ต้นไม้ในเมืองไทยนั้น มีความหลากหลายในรูปลักษณ์และการเจริญเติบโต ซึ่งมีมากกว่า 1 พันชนิดในภาคเหนือของประเทศ ที่ได้รับการบันทึกไว้
·      แต่ทว่า พวกเรานั้นอาศัยอยู่ตามพื้นที่ราบอันอุดมสมบูรณ์ระหว่างหุบเขา เราอาศัยอยู่ในเขตเมือง ทำให้เราไม่รู้ถึงความหลากหลายดังกล่าว
·      เวลาที่เรามองไปรอบๆ  ส่วน ใหญ่แล้ว เราก็จะเห็นแต่พืชเศรษฐกิจเพียงไม่กี่ชนิดที่ปลูกขึ้นเพื่อเป็นไม้ประดับที่ ให้ร่มเงาและสีสัน ซึ่งส่วนใหญ่แล้ว ได้นำเข้ามาจากทวีปแอฟริกา ทวีปออสเตรเลีย และทวีปอเมริกา หรือถ้าเป็นไม้เมืองไทยก็จะมาจากต่างจังหวัดไกลๆ

As a result, our society is so losing touch with the natural world, that we have come to regard living trees as if they were inanimate pieces of furniture, perhaps at times also beautiful, but never-the-less just objects of utility to be shuffled around at will or cut or destroyed. So it is little wonder that we tend to shrug off news that a swathe of trees has gone for a road widening, or that yet another damaging fire sweeps through the forest destroying natural regeneration.

·      ด้วย เหตุนี้ เราจึงไม่ค่อยได้สัมผัสกับธรรมชาติของโลกอย่างที่ควร เรามองต้นไม้ราวกับว่า มันไม่มีชีวิต มันเป็นเพียงแค่ไม้ที่มีไว้เพื่อทำเฟอร์นิเจอร์ หรือบางทีก็แค่เป็นไม้ประดับเพื่อความสวยงาม เรามองมันเหมือนเป็นแค่วัตถุที่ให้อรรถประโยชน์ ซึ่งต้องถูกตัดไปเพื่อใช้ตามวัตถุประสงค์
·      ฉะนั้น จึงไม่น่าแปลกใจเลยว่า เรามีแนวโน้มที่จะไม่ใส่ใจกับข่าวเกี่ยวกับการตัดไม้เพื่อทำถนนให้กว้างขึ้น หรือการเผาป่า ซึ่งเป็นการทำลายชีวิตใหม่ในทางธรรมชาติ

With this attitude we stand to loose much of our natural heritage and what makes the place where we live unique.

·      ด้วยทัศนคตินี้เอง ทำให้เราละเลยต่อมรดกทางธรรมชาติของเราและต่อสิ่งที่ทำให้ที่ๆ เราอาศัยอยู่มีความเป็นเอกลักษณ์

Tall Trees & Electric Wires in a Shady Soi

Tall Trees & Electric Wires in a Shady Soi

To counter this we propose here in Chiang Mai we develop a program to reverse this trend and to bring our community, and especially the younger generation, back in touch with nature, and in particular the natural heritage of Chiang Mai.

·      เพื่อแก้ไขปัญหานี้ เราจึงได้เสนอและพัฒนาโครงการหนึ่งขึ้นมาชื่อว่า “ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model”(ภูมิประเทศแบบเมืองเชียงใหม่) เพื่ออนุรักษ์มรดกทางธรรมชาติของจังหวัดเชียงใหม่และนำชุมชนของเรา โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งเยาวชนให้กลับมาสัมผัสกับมรดกทางธรรมชาติของเมือง เชียงใหม่

So here in the city, near our river the Mae Ping we are beginning to replant the trees which grew here in ancient times as an early step in the development of the ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model.

·      โดยเริ่มปลูกไม้โบราณที่เป็นต้นไม้ท้องถิ่นของเมืองเชียงใหม่ ตามแม่น้ำปิง ซึ่งถือเป็นขั้นแรกของการพัฒนาโครงการ

Rather than planting trees in the tradition of feudal  Europe, evenly spaced and one species, the model copied by the

roads department, our model aims to be true to the natural heritage of the place we plant. This means selecting trees native to the location and its natural diversity, and attempting to restore this diversity in our parks and gardens. Similarly along the roads and lanes of the town we prefer a mix to reduce the problems of loss and disease which can result where only one species is planted.

·      เรา คงไม่ปลูกต้นไม้ในแบบดั้งเดิมที่ประเทศในโซนยุโรปทำกัน โดยปลูกเพียงชนิดเดียว แล้วเว้นระยะเท่าๆ กัน ซึ่งการปลูกแบบนี้ได้ถูกนำมาใช้โดยการทางแห่งประเทศไทย  แต่รูปแบบที่เราจะเอามาใช้นั้น เรามีวัตถุประสงค์เพื่อให้สอดคล้องกับความเป็นจริงในทางธรรมชาติของที่ๆ เราปลูก
·      นั่น หมายความว่า เราจะเลือกไม้พื้นเมืองของท้องถิ่นนั้นๆ และตามความหลากหลายทางธรรมชาติของมัน และจะพยายามฟื้นฟูความหลากหลายนี้ในสวนสาธารณะและในไร่สวน รวมไปถึงตามถนนหนทางและตรอกซอกซอยต่างๆ ด้วย
·      ทั้งนี้ เราเลือกที่จะใช้ความหลากหลายนี้ เพื่อลดปัญหาการสูญเสียและโรคซึ่งเป็นผลมาจากการปลูกไม้เพียงชนิดเดียว

So for example near the river we are guided by  remnants of the ancient forests and by a study of similar riverine environments. So for example we find Hopea odorata growing at the Forest Office, Holoptelea integrifolia, Drypetes roxburghii at the McKean Rehabilitation Center, while Anogeissus acuminata grows both in a riverside cemetery, and Aphanamixis polystachya and Dipterocarpus turbinatus on the banks of the Nan River and tributaries of the Ping.

·      เราได้ศึกษาพันธุ์ไม้ที่พบตามเขตป่าเก่าที่ยังเหลืออยู่ รวมถึงสภาพแวดล้อมริมแม่น้ำ 
·      ตัวอย่างเช่น เราพบ ต้นตะเคียนทอง ที่สำนักงานป่าไม้ต้นกระเชา และต้นมะคำไก่ ที่ศูนย์ฟื้นฟูแมคเคน (สถาบันแมคเคนเพื่อการฟื้นฟูสภาพ) 
·      ขณะ ที่ต้นตะเคียนหนู เราพบที่ สุสานแห่งหนึ่งที่อยู่ริมแม่น้ำ เราพบ ต้นขมิ้นดงและต้นยางแดง ที่ริมแม่น้ำน่านและแม่น้ำสายย่อยต่างๆ ของแม่น้ำปิง

Further from the river and streams other species such as Shorea roxburghii and Irvingia malayana and others become prominent until one reaches the Tectona grandis zone at the edge of Doi Suthep.

·      สำหรับ พื้นที่ที่ไกลออกไปจากแม่น้ำและลำธาร เราพบไม้ชนิดอื่น เช่น พะยอม กระบก และพันธุ์ไม้อื่นๆ ที่มีความโดดเด่น ยาวจนไปถึงโซนไม้สักที่ขอบของดอยสุเทพ

Along with the issue of selecting the right trees for the right place comes that of their placing and management. As almost all of our local trees have an erect habit growing them near, power lines and large buildings need not pose a problem so long as any pruning is restricted to lateral branches and the tops of the trees are allowed to soar and the root zone is protected from undue disturbance. This means guidelines for tree planting and maintenance are an essential element of our ChiangMai Urban Landscape Model, along with training programs for utility and garden workers and managers.

·      การเลือกปลูกต้นไม้ให้เหมาะสมกับทำเลที่ปลูกนั้น นำมาซึ่งการบริหารจัดการ เนื่องจากว่า ไม้พื้นเมืองเกือบทั้งหมดนั้น เป็นไม้ยืนต้น  การ ปลูกใกล้เสาไฟฟ้าและตึกอาคารขนาดใหญ่นั้น จำเป็นต้องมีการควบคุม โดยการตัดแต่งกิ่งด้านข้างและให้สูงขึ้นทางด้านบน และมีการดูแลรากจากสิ่งรบกวนที่ไม่เหมาะสม
·      เหล่า นี้คือแนวทางสำหรับการปลูกต้นไม้และการบำรุงรักษา ซึ่งเป็นองค์ประกอบที่สำคัญของโครงการนี้ ด้วยการให้การอบรมแก่ผู้ที่เกี่ยวข้อง

As originators of this concept BIG Tree in Town and Gum Hak Doi Suthep welcome community involvement in developing a working model uniquely suited to Chiang Mai.

·      ในฐานะผู้ริเริ่มแนวคิด BIG Tree in Town และ Gum Hak Doi Suthep (กลุ่มฮักดอยสุเทพ)
·      เราขอเชิญผู้ที่เกี่ยวข้องมาร่วมกันพัฒนารูปแบบการทำงานที่เหมาะสมกับจังหวัดเชียงใหม่

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bike@chiangmai – now rolling 6:00 am to 6:00 pm

Five years ago we brought news courtesy of Aljazeera, of Hang Zhou‘s free public bike share. This June 2015 ChiangMai began a scheme practically identical with that of Hang Zhou with some differences.

Public Bike @ 3 Kings Square

For a description & Map see

The scale of course is different as Hang Zhou has a population of over 8 million and their scheme has 2000 bike stations and 50,000 bikes while we have 17 stations with 6 bikes per stop, Neither is ours free except for Thais 18 and over with a limit of one hour per day. So despite the fact the 24 inch wheel bikes are small enough for children as young as eight the service is not for the family, nor for Chinese unless they are proficient in Thai or English and with a dual pricing system there is yet one more reason to resent Thainess.

Funding I believe is from the World Bank Global Environment Fund as part of an 124,000,000 baht initiative supposedly meant to promote environmentally friendly transport. The first spending for the fund involved a controversial repaving of the Three Kings Square, followed in haste by mysterious bike lane markings.

The scheme is wildly uneconomic, is a very bad deal for tourists, and nothing has been done on the roads to improve cycling conditions, so as in any project associated with the Chiang Mai Municipal Government under a mayor who refuses to release financial figures one might wonder who be the beneficiary of the scheme and how long it will be on the road?


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Huai Kaeo Arboretum – Worth a Visit ?

In ancient times, before the air conditioned  malls Chiang Mai folk had a spot to cool off. They would walk up towards Doi Suthep and enjoy the cool shade under the trees of what is now known as the Huai Kaeo Arboretum.

 Arboretum Entrance Sign on Huai Keow Apology – Technical difficulties prevent the display of photographs at this time.

The park is not as picnic friendly as in the past as it has been fenced off with barbed wire, apart from the entrance near Puping Police station,  rubbish bins have been removed and little seating remains.

But the shade remains and some of the trees have labels with Thai and Latin names so I would suggest a visit by members of the newly formed Facebook group “Botanical Chiang Mai”.

The few interpretation signs are only in Thai.

The study of trees is often difficult because of their height, and flowers, fruit and leaves may be too distant to see with clarity. So early morning visits are recommended before the sweepers have cleaned away what has fallen over night, as some of the trees’ secrets may be lying in wait on the ground.

The park is largely dominated by trees of the Dipterocarpaceae family – Hopea odorata and Shorea roxburghii, both local to the area and the introduced Dipterocarpus alatus (Yang Na),  two giant specimens of which grace the entrance.

Behind the park across the ancient moat many more tall Yang Na trees  grow and there is a tree nursery which includes a small section where Gum Hak Doi Suthep grow a few trees. Trees in the nursery are grown for reforestation and should be available free on request.


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Reckless Spending as Car kills 3 Cyclists

The road toll is seldom out of the news in Thailand and today brought news in the Bangkok Post of the death of three and injuries to more cyclists from the Sansai cycling club.

Reckless speeding was the cause of today’s deaths but also one could say reckless spending on an over-engineered bike path beside a stretch of the irrigation canal from ChiangMai’s International Corruption and Exhibition Center to Huai Teng Tao. (Photos coming soon)


Duabanga grandiflora, planted one year ago

Duabanga grandiflora, planted one year ago at Huai Teng Tao


Why is the government avoiding spending to curtail speeding motor vehicles – cars,trucks,vans, motor bikes, while squandering funds on show projects and ignoring the informed views of cyclists?

Bike Path Barriers

Cyclists had no say in the design of these barriers which prevent bike trailer and wheelchair access to both the bike path and parallel running track.

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