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Vegans have the right to eat too!

 

Ok, ok. I know what you are thinking. I’m a relentless petition signer, and i’m a serial petition writer. I’m overly optimistic, delusional, crazy even, to believe that online signatures could help change the world (in fact they do, too!) I decry the fact that I’m practically a nomad, a rootless environmentalist who couldn’t last more than five years in a place since I had the right to choose where to live. I would love to do grassroots action, and I envy a lot of my fellow greenies who get to build work in their communities. I have also done a lot of initiatives wherever I was in my home country. But I get disappointed when I had to uproot myself again and move. It is disconcerting to say the least when you have to uproot yourself every so often. I am more aware of it now that I am a development worker abroad.

But then I also feel that as an environmentalist, I am a citizen of the world, and that I could work for change wherever I am. I also feel that communication is my gift. As a former teacher, writer, campaigner, and development professional, I see myself as a communicator. And as a communicator who considers Mother Earth as my home country, the internet is one of my strongest tools. So I really don’t mind even if people call me a slacktivist, I consider it a prestigious accolade because I do what I can when I can. I care. And believe me when I say that I am ‘truly engaged or devoted to making a change‘. I believe in whatever I do, I am only planting seeds, and that it doesn’t matter how big or small an act is, as long as the good intention is there.

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Why a capsule wardrobe won’t work for me

 

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 100 pieces challenge that I’m trying to do here in Cambodia. For the duration of my volunteer placement, I’m going to live only on the clothes I brought here. Should I need to buy new clothes, I would have to give up ten pieces for each new piece bought.

It is easier said than done. Not because I couldn’t keep myself from shopping. A life of a volunteer does not allow for impulsive shopping, and even if it does, I think I have overcome that phase long ago in my life. However, when I went home for a short holiday to the Philippines last week, my sister gave me nine nice tops that were just sitting sadly in her walk-in closet. And who am I to say no? It’s not as if I bought them, and I gladly tried each one and they fit perfectly so I happily stuffed them in my hand carry bag.

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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 in 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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