During my life as a camper in Global Citizenship Camp in Mahasarakham, I was given a chance to have sharing session with an awesome person. He was Pharadon Phonamnuay (Opor Red) from the north of Thailand. He shared us his expererience about fighting against environment devastation.
He initiated an action to plant trees to save the environment from destruction. His initiative he started when he was a student. He found that his village is not as green as before. It was the day, he found that Ching Mai was filled with smoke. Because of people did not understand about the environment, they kept cutting the trees to open land for farming and used to produce smokes.
He was so sad knowing that the village he was born became that bad. People ignored to plant trees they kept produce trash. I could imagine how bad the environment he wanted to show us. At that time, I did not even believe that those thing happend in Chiang Mai. When I was living in Thailand, I always dreamed about go to Chiang Mai to see the nature because people kept telling me about its beauty.
However, he did not kept it as issue. With his commitment, he empower his colleagues to take an action to plant several trees. At that time, he found many obstacles such as the difficulties to find plant seedlings, the place to plant the trees, the people he could empower, or the permits to plant the trees in public areas.
It was not an easy task because he started it with only a few people. Then he tried to connect with local NGOs to deal with the problems. One of their action was to challenge their friend to plant a tree near to a river. They had to plant a tree and ensured it would live till the next year.
So, in that challenge, they have to watch their tree and watered it if needed. The most interesting part of the challenge is jumping into the river. If the next year, the tree was would die, they have to jump to the river next to the tree. “We had several experiences of jumping into the river,” he said.
Nowadays, he had plant thousand trees around Chiang Mai. It helps the environment green and produce a lot of oxygen. Until now, he still continue his commitment to work for the environment. “Environment is live. If we keep it alive, we save our life,” opor said.
An Artist Who Make It Alive
Actually, opor is an artist. Opor obtained his bachelor in Architecture in Chiang Mai. He was an oustanding student during his study. He got a scholarship to study in Paris for months. He also went to USA and Japan for Jazz show. He play saxophon.
After his trip to Japan and America, he eager to travel around the world. He went to Europe and alone. He brought his saxophon and play it in public space. He said that, he earn a lot of money that support his travel life.
One day, he traveled to Russia. Because he only brought a few money, the immigration did not let him to enter Russia. He could not able to explain because the staff in immigration did not speak english, and then he was send into jail. He was imprisoned for one day and then they let him entered Russia with no explanation.
From his traveling, he learned to understand human nature. He learned new culture and saw beautifull environment. His experiences knowing how our elderly people treated nature made him love his action very much.
Today, he work as an entrepreneur and open art space in Chiang Mai. He still spare some of his time to work for environment. From planting trees, he also expand his action to clean the river water.
I was very inspired with his life. I know some people who work hard for money and gain a lot of success. However, this man showed me another point of live. Instead of work for rich, he work for the nature. What else is better that giving for other? He gives his life for planting tree, what about us?