Ubon Ratchathani Green Living

Earth Day passed without much hoopla here in Ubon.  Even so there are green living opportunities available to those who wish to practice this in their daily lifestyle.

In many ways it’s much easier to sustain an earth friendly way of life living here in Ubon Ratchathani. But in other ways bad habits that western societies developed and have been fighting hard to overcome.

You can join the ranks for motorcycle riders in Ubon. Motorcycles are cheap and easy to get. They are much easier to get around town and find places to park than a sedan, pickup or SUV. They are also much easier on the pocketbook when stopping at a petrol station.

The public transportation covers most of the city and surrounding villages. Granted it is not always the most convenient mode of transportation, it don’t run on your schedule, it is often crowded, and it don’t always go exactly where you want to go.  It does safe you some of the stress of dealing with traffic and finding parking.

Many homes are already Eco-friendly because of the way they are built. Most houses have showers instead of baths and most of the time it is better to take a cold shower. No electric dishwashers and when doing by hand only cold water is available.

Air conditioning is limited to individual rooms. This allows you to cool only the room you are using instead of the entire house. Most of the time it is enough just to use electric fans.

I just saw an article saying Thailand disposes of 1800 tonnes of plastic bags a day. We know this is not good because the plastic don’t break down. For me I also get tired of them hanging around the house after shopping. I found several reusable bags that fold up into pocket size elements. I try to keep at least one with me. I have never seen anybody else using any in Lotus or Big C. When I pull out this bag I have received a variety of responses. I have gotten perplexed looks, smiles, cheers, and annoyance.

I love to walk. It is good exercise,  it saves energy and it is a good way to get to know a place. When you are driving you miss a lot because you are focused on your driving and the traffic around. But when you are walking you pass things slowly and can stop to check it out or make note of something newly discovered and interesting.

Though you can walk around Ubon it is, at times, challenging. Ubon is not necessarily pedestrian friendly. I am not sure if that is because not many locals walk or not many locals walk due to the challenges. Sidewalks are multi-purpose resources. As you are walking you will see sidewalks are used to expand shop floor space with displays covering the walkway.

You will also find sidewalks used for motorcycle and car parking, signs, restaurants, motorcycle roadway, awnings, workspace, telephone booths and gardens.

Other hazards you will find when walking are beautiful slippery when wet tiles used to enhance a shops look and feel but provide a hazard to walkers. Crosswalks are also a place to look out for. Crosswalks are used to get in front of the line of traffic. They are often blocked by motorcycles and cars. Just an obstacle to overcome. Also red lights are just a guide, vehicles turning usually don’t slow down or stop and do not yield right of way to pedestrians. Please be careful.

Despite the challenges and dangers I walk often and highly recommend it. As a contribution to Ubon green living and health give it a try from time to time. Walk to a shop for lunch and walk home. Take a walk to the post office or Tesco. But take a towel with you because sweating is inevitable.

Most people here drink water from plastic bottles. Some homes and offices have machines whose reservoirs are filled by a 20-liter bottle of clean water. If you are there that is great. If you are out and about what can you do? When you buy water in a shop or restaurant oft times it is served from a plastic bottle. Some restaurants to carry reusable glass bottles but not all.

If you have a water machine at home maybe one solution would be to invest in a thermal bottle. You can fill it with clean cold water and take it with you.

There is recycling available here in Ubon, though it don’t seem to be pushed much. If you live in town you might have notice people driving around your neighborhood pulling a cart behind their motorcycle. Some of these people are in the recyclables collection business. I do my best to separate the items I believe to be recyclable and when the collectors come around if I see them I pass my collection on to them.

The last time I caught the collectors I got their attention, ran out and took my items to them, to my surprise they whipped out a portable scale and proceeded to weigh my contributions. I had never seen this before but my goal was to send the things away so I told them, “khap khun dae mai pen rai”, thank you but never mind. I was happy to just give it to them.

I have seen a lot on news, National Geographic, Discovery and magazines about bio-diesel fuel. To me it seems like a great idea. It makes possible saving fossil fuel, helping protect the environment and saving money as well. Many Thais cook many dishes of the Thai cuisine with vegetable, palm or peanut oil. I have no idea what is usually done with the used up oil. I have noticed it being pour down storm drains. This can’t be good.

There is a bountiful resource that could benefit many people but I have never seen any push to make this happen. With all that oil available a new industry could be created would have a positive impact on people and our environment. It would be good if this could happen soon.

These are just some expariences and observations about earth friendly living and some things that could be improved here in Ubon.

I would appreciate anybody reading this to make comments. I welcome suggestion, experiences and observations. This is our home or a place we choose to travel to, so let’s work together to make green living in Ubon Ratchathani a reality.

Comments

  1. michael hare says:

    Comment on greem living.

    The old style Thai houses were great. Big cool verandas, cold water etc.

    Nowadays Thais seem to like square two story houses with no verandas and they are very hot. No insulation in the roof at all. When I built my new house 8 years ago I put aluminium foil under the tiles and aluminium insulation batts across the ceilings and built wide (2m) verandas. The house is very cool. No direct sunlight gets into the rooms or hits the windows. Also no rain. I put in an Amway water filter and so never buy water.
    Enjoy your walking Darwin.

    Regards,

    Michael

  2. Michael,

    Once again thanks for reading and commenting.

    Yes I have noticed the concrete thing going on. My neighborhood is adding more and more cement and structures all the time. It seems to add to the heat and also causes drainage problems. My house has one of the few lots with only grass and trees so I see an increase in standing water and wildlife, frogs, snakes, birds, geckos.

    Great you were able to plan out your house and insulating and optimizing for comfort. Mine sometimes seems like a concrete sauna, reminds me of being over hear in May and unloading sealand containers.

    I would love to install a water purefier. I used an Amway filter in my home in Washington. Here I put it off because I don’t own the house and I can see I would need to do some reinforcing to make sure the filter stayed in place.

    When I was over here training we had a mobile ROWPU (reverse osmosis water purification unit). They pumped water out of a local river and after processing had clean, fresh, safe drinking water. Amazing.

    Thanks again for the input.

  3. michael hare says:

    My house also has very good ventilation. I can open doors and windows (all screened) north-south and east-west and get great air flow. On the roof, discreetly put in, are 3 big exhaust fans like you see in warehouses. The hot air rises and goes out through them. Upstairs I also have balconies with large screen doors that also take hot air out.

    Around the house is plenty of green lawn. As I am a grass specialist I love my lawn. Large tall trees, 5-10 m from the house, also add to shading. Furthermore the main living rooms and kitchen face the east and north so we don’t get the hot afternoon sun.

    3 brand new, quite expensive houses have just been built behind my house. Not one of them put any aluminium foil under the windows or any insulation on top of the ceilings. Real hot boxes.

    And another thing while I am on houses. Thais normally mix water in their paint to make it spread easily and reduce paint costs. That is why so many buildings fade very quickly and get black fungus spots over them. No water was mixed in my house paint. After 8 years it stills looks like new. Of course one has to buy a slightly more expensive paint that spreads easily. I used Captain. It should last for 15-20 years.

    Michael

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ubon Ratchathani Green Living Posted on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 in ubon living – Comments: (3) Earth Day passed without much hoopla here in Ubon.  Even so there are green living opportunities available to those who wish to practice this in their daily lifestyle.In many ways it’s much easier to sustain an earth friendly way of life living here in Ubon Ratchathani. But in other ways bad habits that western societies developed and have been fighting hard to overcome.You can join the ranks for motorcycle riders in Ubon. Motorcycles are cheap and easy to get. They are much easier to get around town and find places to park than a sedan, pickup or SUV. They are also much easier on the pocketbook when stopping at a petrol station. […]

Speak Your Mind

*