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The Akha Nature Conservancy

An Akha Alternative

The lack of government or agency investment in a cooperative effort with the Akha to protect their livelihoods while protecting the environment is the biggest single statement of both the intentions of the Thai government, missions and the drug war.

While millions are spent on these dominating projects, little to nothing is available to or for the Akha in the name of hope and good faith.  Communities require investment, and it pays better.

The cost of the drug war, a new park, or a new mission complex is an incredibly staggering amount of money. Yet as long as the gluttons continue to eat from the public trough, the needs of a race and their families really won't be important.  The message to the Akha is clear. "Die or leave." The  message to the environment appears to be the same.

The problems that the Akha face are not all that complex just repetitive.

Simple solutions would go a very long way.

One of the most sound investments that can be made in the Akha community is to help them to protect the surrounding environment. Thailand unfortunately is following the western model of either destroy the indigenous or move the remainder out of the environment in the name of saving it.  Or is it just a nice way of destroying most everything while saving a little?  In the US national parks and forest areas were taken from the Indians and set aside.  And then special logging, mining and oil interests were allowed to exploit these resources.  So lets just call it what it is, robbery, not conservation.

For this reason the Akha Nature Conservancy is an attempt to preserve the environment in the Akha cultural context, the closest one will ever get to an environmental theology, where the human guest reads the rythms of the environment and patters behaviour as carefully as possible in order to conserve labor while getting the most of each harvest, without risking the loss of next years harvest and the one after that.

As the Akha are exploited they despair and learn to exploit.

Let us hope for at least some small alternatives.

Here are some examples:

Coffee plants: 11 US cents each

Fruit trees: 46 cents each

Making trail improvements

Building terraces which save soil and water

Forestry species including bamboo species

Fish farming

Clean water wells

Hatch and release of native game birds

You can help us support such projects in the villages aimed at protecting village food security, NOT development.

Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation