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When the shortest distance is not a straight line

Archimedes, that super cool slasher Greek mathematician (slash physicist slash inventor slash astronomer slash etc.) said ages ago that ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’.  I love this quote. Although it was said in the context of mathematical sciences, it in fact gave me countless reassurances when life became complicated or when I’m overwhelmed by my own overthinking. It has helped me overcome a lot of concerns by simplifying things and solving problems one simple step at a time.

But recently I’ve been mulling about so many things happening in the world, complex eco-geo-political issues that demand more creative and non-linear solutions. I hope to write about more of my thoughts here in succeeding blog posts, but now I’d like to share about one word that comes to mind, leapfrog. I came across the word years ago in one of my social science classes at the Philippine Normal University, but the first known use of leapfrog was in 1872, or 1599, if Merriam-Webster could make up its mind.

Let me share with you three examples.

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Van verses

red earth

On the six-hour van trip from Mondulkiri to Phnom Penh this morning, I got bored listening to music and decided to write down some thoughts that have been in my mind the past few days. What came out are four simple verses which I can’t really call poems, lest my real poet friends disown me, if they haven’t already. I have not been writing poetry for some time, and (spoiler alert: brandishing rare bragging right!) although I personally got praise for my poetry from Herminio S.Beltran, editor of Ani, Cultural Center of the Philippines Literary Anthology for some of my works published there ages ago, I let my literary sword rust for years. Everyone knows there’s no excuse for writing bad poetry, so I’m just ranting here.
Lastly, three things: first is that these are about and not about Cambodia. Cambodia is just a trigger because I’ve been here four weeks already and trying to soak in as much as I could, but as I started typing on my cellphone, I realized its about many places, Cambodia, Philippines, India, and other places I have read about or seen in pictures, generic places I have created in my mind; second, simple as these verses might seem, I invite you to go beyond the first level of interpretation, and if you find something, let me know; third, I encourage you to write your thoughts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a writer. It doesn’t have to be a poem or essay in their strict sense. If you feel passionately about something, just write about it i the language you are comfortable with, never mind grammar and rules, just write, and see where that journey takes you.

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What could kill weeds could kill us too

There is a huge difference with knowledge and experience. And while experience has always been considered the best teacher, knowledge is just as important when an experience is undergone with a total ignorance of why such an experience happened. In my case, I knew something first for quite a while before I experienced it firsthand. It is about Glyphosan, one of the brands of the chemical Glyphosate, an herbicide banned in many countries.

Yesterday I told Narin, my Governance Project Assistant (GPA), that I wanted to propose a cleanup around the office compound on Saturday. I was hoping those who would be available will be able to come and have some fun try getting our hands dirty.

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The 100 pieces challenge

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Its good to know that I don’ have to wear rags to be kinder to Mother Earth. In fact, I always get compliments for my clothes and people are surprised to find out that most of my clothes are bought from thrift shops like what I’m wearing in these photos. The lovely Marks and Spencer shoes I’m wearing with the blue jumpsuit are gifts from dear friend and fellow climate leader Dean Rebecca Barrios of NVC, Kalibo.

Sometimes even if we think that we are living simple lives, we have to really look into numbers to make sure we are not being deluded into idealistic thoughts of ourselves and how we live our lives. Before my family left Zarraga, Iloilo in June 2016, we have started organizing Free Markets through the Balagon Cultural Creatives. Knowing we were soon to move, we started looking into what we should give up, and what should come with us to Dumaguete. After several free markets, we finally had to actually pack for the move.

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Remembrance and reflections on the Luntiang Dahon (Green Leaf) Climate Leadership Award

A couple of weeks after having been accepted as Organizational Development Specialist by VSO Cambodia, I received a notification that The Climate Reality Project will be conferring to me the first Luntiang Dahon Climate Leadership Award. It came as a huge surprise because awards are not something I really think about. Working in the environment sector since 2001 and being an active member of CRP since 2011, I never thought that my efforts would be given any recognition since I don’t do what I do for recognition anyway.

The Climate Reality Project Climate Leadership Awards were given to outstanding groups and individuals recognized by CRP Philippines in celebration of its first anniversary on March 16 and Earth Day on April 22. The awarding ceremony was conducted at the Philippine Senate on April 21.

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