Chiang Mai

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Our first activities as a foundation started in 2013 and were based in Chiang Mai, a small city in Northern Thailand.

In the community of Ha Tanwa, Chiang Mai, we worked with residents to design and build a vertical bamboo gardening system to produce herbs and vegetables. Residents asked us to help them build low-cost gardens which could be productive in the small amount of available space in the high density community. We adapted a three level vertical bamboo garden design, making use of readily available and affordable materials to produce a space- and water-efficient gardening system. After the pilot system was constructed and enjoyed by several households, they were replicated and sold by a local bamboo builder.

…design and build a pilot system for the treatment of household kitchen wastewater. With the goals to better manage open drainage networks, productively and safely reuse water, and decrease the community’s impact on nearby water streams, the project was seen as important to communities in defending themselves against accusations of polluting the canal.

The design was adapted and documented in an instruction manual in both Thai and English, and shared with partner NGOs and communities in Thailand to facilitate its use. 

It is often poor people who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of environmental degradation.

This environmental injustice is made worse by the lack of openly available tools for scientific environmental monitoring. Understanding and monitoring environmental quality is central to not only improving it but in empowering people to demand appropriate action from their political representatives. We collaborated with Chiang Mai University in a research thesis on water quality along the urban streams. Communities that were interviewed saw the value in knowing why the water was dirty, so we found a source for affordable water quality test strips for basic parameters to allow communities to monitor their water quality. We co-designed and built rafts planted with vetiver grass to help remove pollution from the canal, contributing to improved environmental quality in a decentralized and visible way.

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