Ethnic women in northwest Vietnam hold a treasure trove of knowledge about their forest biodiversity, including the uses of different trees and plants as medicine. But they face a number of challenges, chiefly from language barriers in sharing and disseminating their valuable knowledge to the next generation.
Ethnic Danu people in Myanmar’s Shan State are trying to raise awareness in their community about the health and environmental impacts of the mining operations in their area. They are trying to reach out to the government as well as environmental and other groups in Shan State and beyond to help protect the health, livelihoods, farmlands and the safety of the ethnic Danu people.
The history of the lush Can Gio wetlands in the Mekong Delta is inseparable from the ravages of the US-Vietnam war. It was here that thousands of gallons of herbicidal defoliants were poured over, shriveling the undergrowth and killing animals in vast numbers. Now the area is thriving with plants, animals and birds, listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and attracts huge number of tourists. Bui Van Dai, a University student in Ho Chi Minh City writes about the natural beauty of Can Gio and the need for young people to conserve this invaluable ecological heritage for future generations.
The ethnic Tai Dam have many legends and folk songs about the history, life and culture of the community passed down the generations usually in song and stories. But when ethnic people come to the city to study or work, they often lose their sense of ethnic culture or try to hide their identity. This Tai Dam author is trying to keep alive her mountain culture in a capital city through her writings and stories.
Ethnic communities relate their stories of resettlement by the Pleikrong dam in the Se San River in Vietnam’s Central highlands: unfair compensation, poor or infertile soils, and lack access to their forests has degraded their livelihoods and made them cheap wage labourers.
Fisheries play an important economic and social role in many parts of Cambodia, contributing to food and nutrition security. But many young people in fishing families no longer want to carry on their families’ traditional way of life.
The Phou Phanang forest in Lao PDR, in Nahoi village not far from Vientiane, is crucial to local livelihoods and is home to gibbons and elephants. Young people are joining local communities to raise awareness and restore the Phou Phanang forest.
Known as a national treasure of Cambodia, the Prey Lang forest in Preah Vihear province serves as the main source of livelihoods for indigenous people and is an indispensable part of the country’s forest ecosystem. In the last few years, the forest has come under destruction from logging and large-scale plantations. Youth campaigns are supporting the local communities, who depend on the forest, in an ongoing struggle to protect the forest areas from being completely wiped away.
The Tra Su wetland forests provide food and income for local communities in An Gang province in Vietnam’s Mekong delta. Now the wetlands are being threatened by the extended drought in the Mekong region leading to loss of biodiversity and affecting local people’s livelihoods.
A Singaporean city dweller travels to the Thai countryside to learn more about sustainable food production and local farming knowledge. Sing Yee, a recent university graduate, shares insights from her stay, amidst conversations on farming, food, politics and development with other ASEAN youths and the host community.