Reflections from the banks of the Mekong

There are many things I’ve been reflecting on over the last week, in between our visits to different places and the intensity of filming, often on the fly. We’ve met so many good people and often would have liked to have stopped longer in some places. The contrasts are great, from the rapid developments that are evident everywhere to the wisdom of people who are living close to nature.  For me the contrast was amplified when we arrived at Chiang Saen in the Golden Triangle.

I stayed there 24 years ago when I was back-packing through Asia. It is unrecognisable now. There was nothing there that bore any relation to my memories of a quiet, peaceful town on the banks of the Mekong river. Change has come very rapidly to Thailand, some good, some not so good. The people we are meeting are providing living examples of a more balanced approach to development. We can’t forget nature. People are acting to plant or protect forest. They are experiencing higher temperatures and less reliable rainfall. Water is everything. Forest cover is essential to help regulate water flows, particularly with so much pressure on water resources.

There are voices that we need to stop and listen to for a while. The voices of people who are working in their local environments, who see what is happening locally and more widely, who have clear vision about what we need to be doing for the future.

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