It has been a busy summer here at the Barge Program, we were pleased to welcome 8 new
International staff from the UK and Taiwan to our team for AY1819. With backgrounds in classroom teaching, Geography, Zoology, Environment Science, Biology and Sustainable Agriculture they bring a diverse range of knowledge and experience to our teaching staff. During our summer training period all staff completed a 2 day Wilderness First Aid course covering CPR, patient assessment systems, and evacuation planning as well as dealing with some simulated (but very realistic looking!) injuries and wounds!
Our International staff also completed a 2 day International Lifeguarding Certification and our Thai staff have completed the Thai Naval Lifeguarding course.
Qualified! International staff celebrate after completing their practical and written lifeguarding exams
Staff practice CPR and using defibrillators during first aid training.
In late June the Barge Program were externally assessed and accredited with BS8848 compliance. As one of only two Outdoor Education providers in South East Asia to be externally assessed, we are extremely proud that our high standards of organisation, safety and safeguarding have been recognised with this British outdoor learning accreditation.
BS8848-What does that mean for your school? BS 8848 details good practice for venture providers to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone taking part. It shows organisations how to plan ventures, identify potential risks and manage them effectively. It also requires participants to be given clear information so that they can make informed decisions about risks to their own safety. The standard covers all aspects of the venture - from planning, transport, staff and accommodation, to the activities themselves. (For more information on BS8848 follow the link https://www.bsigroup.com/LocalFiles/en-GB/consumer-guides/resources/BSI-Consumer-Brochure-Adventurous-Activities-UK-EN.pdf
Have you booked your trip for this academic year?
Traidhos Barge Program provides day and residential environmental education programs at key sites within the watershed, mountains, forest, river and sea. Programs are written to extend the learning you are doing in the classroom. We would love to work with your students either in the field, or at your school site.
Have a look at the website https://barge.threegeneration.org/
or email: email@example.com
Barge staff Ray shares ideas on ethical food choices.
Can of Worms? The Issues of Eating Ethically.
In one way or another, we have to find things to eat. As a species we’re built to be omnivorous – that is we can survive by eating only plant-based food, only animal products, or a hearty mix of both. But with so many new and varied ideas of what the “ideal diet” consists of, the question on many people’s minds is not what can
we eat, but what should
we eat? This question not only covers the grounds of health and nutrition, but importantly, and ever increasingly, the grounds of ethics
too. How does what we eat affect
other living things, human and otherwise? With food production being a thoroughly global industry, what we put (or don’t put) on our plate and in our cups can have very real consequences on communities and natural environments on the opposite side of the world to where we’ve sat down for our brekkie.
, as it has come to be known, is a branch of ethical consumption
wherein consumers avoid purchasing particular products which they perceive to have negative effects on the world around us. Thinking about food ethics is particularly pressing to the environmentally-conscious - after all it’s well known, for example, that the meat industry produces about 15-20% of human-induced greenhouse gases, or that palm-oil plantations account for around 40% of agricultural deforestation in Indonesian rainforests, home to many ecologically and culturally important flora and fauna such birds of paradise, the Sumatran tiger, fanged frogs, thousands of endemic flower species and, of course, the elusive orangutan.
, why don’t we all just quit the meat and ditch the palm oil? As with everything ever, it’s simply just more complicated than that. Let’s take a vegetarian/vegan diet for example. Many people moving from a meat-based to a plant-based diet worry (or at least get questioned about) where they will get their protein. Fortunately protein is plentiful in the plant world (where did you think your proteins’ protein came from?), with beans, nuts and high-protein fruits and veg, such as spinach and avocados, providing more than enough nutrition. Sorted then, environment saved! Not quite – most people will have heard that soy, a staple food in most veggie/vegan diets, isn’t quite as innocent as first thought. Vast amounts of the Amazons’ deforestation can be accounted to soybean production, which in itself uses over 10x more litres of water per kilogram than most vegetable products. Dig a little deeper and we can see that 80-90% of this soy is for animal fodder, but that still doesn’t disregard the fact that the soy we do
eat is more often than not grown on unsustainable crop-rotation farms in some of the world’s most at risk habitats.
Forget soy then! Let’s make do on kale, quinoa and avocados! But where are those foods coming from? In the case of avocados, much of our bumpy green friends come over from Central America, which involves extensive transportation from field to factory, through the air and to our supermarkets. That’s a lot of transport-induced greenhouse gases! Luckily for guacamole-lovers though, most of the food industries environmental footprint still comes from factory-farmed animal products rather than the actual transport involved, so, in a lot of cases, eating a foreign fruit still has less of an impact than a local lamb. (Don’t let this discourage you from eating locally though – this is one of the most sustainable ways to eat!).
Eating ethically isn’t all about plants and animals of course, often people are concerned with the impact on the farming communities, and the welfare of the workers concerned. This is where avocadoes might upset you again: the increased demand in Western middle-class communities for healthy, “Green” products drives up prices making it difficult not only for poorer folk in Europe and the US to get a balanced diet, but also for the local communities across the world (who are actually growing the item) to afford the staple crop that they had eaten regularly until recent times. In fact, prices of avocadoes in Kenya, the world’s 6th
largest producer, became so high that they banned all export of the coveted fruit at the beginning of this year.
What’s there to do then? Just eat nothing? There seems to be a reason not to eat just about everything. Vegetables destroying communities and beans chopping bark, perhaps there’s no point even trying? Even palm oil, so seemingly evil that the EU have voted to ban it completely from its biofuels by 2020, supports many small-holder farmers and their communities in Malaysia, 40% of whom don’t perform the culprit unsustainable practices. We shouldn’t stop evaluating our ethics though just because things get complicated, and, in the end, making a small effort is better than none. Really, it comes down to common sense: reducing your meat and dairy consumption, whether that’s one day a week or re-thinking your whole diet plan, undoubtedly goes a long way to reduce the water usage and greenhouse gas emissions in factory farming; lowering your food waste and its packaging, no matter what your diet, is also a simple, all-round way to help slow down the sheer amount of production round the globe; eating as local as possible within your diet will cut transportation emissions as well enriching the economy of your immediate surroundings. And the important thing to take away is this: don’t let the details scare you away from doing anything! Keep up to date with food and production trends and read in to the pros and cons of any diet. Fruits go in and out of season, companies start implementing environmentally-friendly developments, and meat production from one country can become more unsustainable than another - choose your products accordingly. Of course, everyone’s priorities differ, some will favor animal welfare over health benefits, or human security over environmental-sustainability. Not only this, but our means vary too, maybe in our access to vegan products or our ability to afford healthy foods or even the local cultural restrictions. So assess your own ethical priorities
, assess what’s practically possible
for you, research around and support your reasoning. All in order to save the planet in your own personal way!
Traidhos Barge Program is an environmental education program. We work to give students new ideas to think about, helping to develop the ability to think critically and to develop their own awareness and attitudes. During many programs students are involved in shopping in fresh markets, cooking food or considering their ecological footprint.
Eco-art Workshops and In-school Performances
From the Autumn/Winter Semesters 2018 and in to the coming year Traidhos Three-Generation Barge Program will be offering creative arts options to all schools. These new projects will deal with environmental issues through imaginative means. The initiatives include Camps Programs, Pre-/Post-Trip Workshops, Eco-art Workshops and In-school Performances, all tailored to meet your outcomes in learning about nature and sustainability! Please contact the Barge office, by phone or email, for more information.