Six weeks. Two bamboo bikes. A camera. A continent of environmental stories, struggles and successes. Plus, several thousand kilometers of twisted little roads stringing it all together. Welcome to GREEN RIDERS: Southeast Asia.
From June 2012 Kenny and Jamie will journey by bike and other sustainable means from Phuket, Thailand to Bali, Indonesia. Along the way we’ll be exploring Southeast Asia’s wealth of biodiversity, and meeting with groups and individuals involved in its protection and destruction. Plus, making connections with communities to learn more about their conservation efforts and promoting environmental education and action to protect the region’s threatened natural gems.
GREEN RIDERS are back in town. Or in the village. Kok Krai village, Krabi province, Thailand to be precise. To learn about the choices the community has made to develop a local ecotourism model, instead of cutting back the mangroves to build resorts like so many villages in the region. We learn about this project from our host Ibrahim, enjoy taking part in community activities, and visit the mangroves of Krabi in the early morning to learn about its rich biodiversity and spot some of the creatures that call it home. Enjoy!
In episode four, GREEN RIDERS are invited to join Peace Corps volunteer Julia Schulteis at Din Udom, the cluster of villages where she works in Krabi province, Thailand. We get to check out an incredible playground, built entirely by the community, out of old tires. After, we cycle a few kilometers to the neighbouring village, and spend the afternoon working with the community to plant trees in their school’s playground, to create shady outdoor learning spaces. A completely empowering window into how a couple small rural communities are coming together to enrich the environment and lives of their children. Wow. Seriously… Wow.
Hands up! This is a rubbery!
In episode five, GREEN RIDERS go to the source and find Southeast Asia’s first rubber tree, in Kantang, Thailand. We explore the complex, rubber-made story behind this most common of materials, a story of pestilence, slavery, deep jungles, big dreams, dashed hopes and a whole lot of drippy, white sap.
Viewer discretion advised: This story has a very sappy ending and may rubber the wrong way…
A brief peek at our briefs!
In episode six, GREEN RIDERS are invited to join Food Tour Malaysia for a late-night feast in all the dark corners of KL. We get to peek into the deliciousness that is Malaysia’s multiculturalism, and witness the greatest pork-soup-fired cover of We Are the World ever. Seriously. Ever.
Then we visit with the folks behind Nukleus fashions in Penang, to hear their story of unintentional green-washing and the challenges of a business trying to be green. Their advice: Just do it. Make your mistakes, learn as you go… But do the right thing.
“Hye, My name is Akmal Azfar, i from University Putra Malaysia, I run Putra Bike Center… I teach student to cycle.. I have 30 bicycle for any programme purpose… I can help u to planing route when crossing Penisula Malaysia. Hope we may discuss in area that we can cooperate. I have all the budget and funding.”
What he didn’t mention at the time was the scope of his vision. All students would build and maintain their own bicycles from recycled junk yard parts. His route planning would include mangrove exploration and the southernmost point of continental asia. His convoy would include a bus, a truck, an ambulance, a pacing car, and two marshalls on motorcycles. The partnership would entirely shape our malaysian experience.
In this episode, we share our experience of Akmal, his program and his vision.
Kelap Alami, or Nature Club, is a community-based program designed to empower rural youth by educating them about their environment, in this case mangroves and sea grass, so that they can monitor it and become interpretive guides for visitors.
The result is that the children have led the entire community to better understand and care for their unique corner of the world and cultivated alternative means of generating income, in a place where the traditional ways of fishing and agriculture are losing ground.
Crossing this bridge, Green Riders moved from the resource economy of Malaysia to the wealthy, urban culture of Singapore.
Crossing this bridge, we also crossed into a nation with a sense of urban, nature disconnect, as well as the powerful social innovation and environmental initiatives that middle class cultures can so often breed.
Through our stay, we were invited to connect with many such projects, such as GUI, the Ground Up Initiative and Bamboobee, the makers of our bamboo bikes, and to share our work at a media event, put together by Lastrina from 350 Singapore.
We (heart) Yogyakarta!
Yogyakarta, in Central Java, Indonesia is an enigma.
In the heart of the world’s most populous island, one where cities like Jakarta and Surabaya are known for their near endless grit and sprawl, Jogja is clean, friendly, bikeable and teeming with student life, culture and art.
It’s also home to a wealth of social enterprise and creativity, such as the work of Warwick Purser in the Tembi community as well as the many efforts of ViaVia, a travellers cafe and much much more.
Since GREEN RIDERS began, people have been asking us “Why?”
Here, is the WHY.
Thank you to everyone who’s followed and participated in this environmental video journey. In Southeast Asia and everywhere.
Keep an eye out for future GREEN RIDERS events! (like one in Singapore in November!)