Rainbow Warrior honors grassroots community activism in Thailand;

Joins the call for environmental justice

Feature story - September 29, 2010
Prachuab KiriKhan – The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior today arrived in Prachuab Kirikhan, home to one of Southeast Asia’s strongest grassroots community movements, to honor Thai peoples’ movements for environmental justice.

Rainbow Warrior in Prachuab Kirikhan

Greenpeace and community organizations in Prachuab Kirikhan and Chumbon Province, South of Thailand, representing thousands of people across Thailand, sealed and stored a time capsule to commemorate grassroots environmental movements.

As part of the event, Greenpeace and community organizations in Prachuab Kirikhan and Chumphon Province representing thousands of people across Thailand, sealed and stored a time capsule to commemorate grassroots environmental movements. The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior Turn the Tide Tour of Southeast Asia is joining community mobilizations throughout Thailand to call on the Thai Government to prioritize and support investments which will help put the country on a green development pathway, by technological leapfrogging with bold policy innovations and a new solidarity across social classes and generations.

“The story of Thai grassroots environmental movements are part of the global history of the struggle for environmental justice and the fight against climate change.  This time capsule is a symbol of the collective aspiration of people and communities who are in the forefront in mobilizing Thailand in the path to green development.  Greenpeace is proud to be part of community movements that are fighting to make green development a reality. The Rainbow Warrior departs from Prachuab Kirikhan to join tomorrow’s community gathering of the Eastern People’s Network in Rayong Province opposing dirty development in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates,” said Tara Buakamsri, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Country Representative for Thailand.

Prachuab KiraKhan is a stronghold of grassroots community activism in Thailand. Greenpeace and Prachuab Kirikhan communities sealed the commemorative time capsule, containing statements, articles, books, photos, videos, banners, and other memorabilia, in the town of Bo Nok, beside the “Glory of the Earth” monument dedicated to Charoen Wataksorn, a prominent activist who devoted his life to protecting and upholding environmental values and community rights.  Charoen’s life has ignited and inspired local communities in Thailand and in Asia to continue fighting for a better future and to make social justice possible.

Charoen, together with activists from Ban Krut, Prachuab Kirikhan, and Greenpeace, successfully led a high-profile protest against the Ban Krut and Bo Nok coal-fired power plant projects in the province.  He continued to oppose the power plants despite numerous threats against him and his family but was assassinated in 2004.  Greenpeace continues to work with Prachuab Kirikhan communities, and in 2005 launched the ‘People's Declaration Against Coal and In Support of Clean Energy’ in the province.  In 2008, during Greenpeace’s Quit Coal ship tour, the community in Tap Sakae, another district in Prachuab Kirikhan, successfully put a proposed 4,000 MW coal plant on hold, with a call to review Thailand’s Power Development Plan 2007.

“Our movement speaks in behalf of all the people who have suffered and fought against ‘development’ that has come at the cost of the environment and the health and lives of local communities.  Governments overlook traditional wisdom and dignity, and carry out policies that are irrelevant and improper to the local communities.  Prachuab Kirikhan Environmental Network is committed protect the environment of Southern Thailand, and will not allow any dirty and dangerous power plants to be built,” said Jintana Kaew-kwao – the Leader of Prachuab Kirikhan Environmental Network.