Yesterday was World Environment Day. Above is a good illustration of what the Royal Government of Cambodia thinks of the environment: a group of young people take a bike ride to promote environmental awareness–and the government seizes, harasses, and stops them. Both the environment and human rights are endangered here.
You’ve been reading about the hot spot in the Pacific near New Zealand and the very high temperatures in Australia and the flood waters in Venice. Well, things are pretty bad here, too. In the article above, the government weather bureau is “warning” people that the temperature is going down to 17º to 19ºC. That is 62.5º to 66.2ºF! So there! Things are difficult here, too!
This is the street in Kampot town where we were waiting for the van back to Phnom Penh. It was sad to see the stumps of seven huge trees across the street from us. I hope there was a REALLY good reason for cutting the trees down and it wasn’t just to make money for someone.
This is original growth forest in Preah Vihear Province, part of 1500 hectares kept as a nature preserve. It is beautiful mountainous woodlands with magnificent trees.
This is the devastation less than 20 miles away where the original forests have been cut, the wood sold off (probably illegally and probably with a government connection), and small farmers have taken over.
I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but another area has been cut and replanted in rubber trees–usually in concessions owned by Cambodian tycoons/ministers or Chinese or Vietnamese companies. You can notice the small cups attached to the right side of each tree to catch the rubber as it flows out.
This is a view of the Cambodian countryside from the air as we approached Phnom Penh two days ago. The Tonle Sap River is on the left; the Mekong River goes across the top of the photo. Under the plane’s wing are large flooded areas. This is normal flooding every year but it’s lasting a little longer this year because the seasonal rains–normally ending in October–are still continuing. It actually rained again today, something relatively unheard of in this “dry” season.
This is a picture of the front yard of the Maryknoll office in Phnom Penh. Our guards–who are basically bored silly all day and night–grow different things throughout the year. At present we have growing there a pineapple (yellow circle) and orchids (pink circle)—and the guard’s laundry on the rack on the right. How many of you have orchids and pineapples growing in your yards?
Mobile noise is a nuisance but at least it moves on, out of range. Some established stores also set up speakers at the front of the store, but again it’s only a short-term irritation because usually the people are moving past the stores. Click here to see some examples of the stores with speakers.
I wasn’t planning on any more posts about Christmas 2017 but yesterday–Christmas Day–it rained! That is unheard of! When I first came to Cambodia, the common wisdom was that the rainy season ended in October. Through the years it has seemed to rain later and later in the year, and this year it rains on Christmas Day! Call it climate change or whatever you want, but CHANGE is happening.
I did a series on the uses of luxury woods in Cambodia in February and then decided I had said enough about that for a while. But when on the priests retreat recently, I noticed how much luxury wood was used in the church in Sihanoukville. Click here to see some photos from the sanctuary. Scroll down to No. 12.