Pimpan Diskul at TEDxBangkok: “How can we live together to survive together?”
On 20 August 2016, Pimpan Diskul na Ayudhya, Director of Knowledge and Learning Centre of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage (MFLF), was invited to be a guest speaker at the TEDxBangkok.
Her topic, “How can we live together to survive together?” focused on the contrasting, yet interconnected lives of people living in the squared world and circled world. The squared world belongs to the city dwellers, who live their lives in a constraint room, be it for work, sleep or even transportation. This world has high convenience and comfort yet fear of time creeps in everyone’s mind. Whereas the circled world refers to the outdoor suburban world filled with hardships and challenges. Nonetheless, it is a world where one can sleep without worries.
She expressed that if the people from the squared world wants to help the other world, they need not wear judgmental lens, but rather have an open-mind and sympathy. She gave an example on the recent and sudden wave of interest on the denuded mountains of Nan province in the dry season.
“The villagers fear the word ‘reforest.’ The urban visitors come to ‘reforest’ without asking for their opinions or permission. They just tell the date, time, and location. The visitors hire the villagers to ‘reforest’ with them and the villagers obliged voluntarily to earn an extra income. However, the visitors leave once they are done with ‘reforesting’ and snapped some PR pictures. The villagers then remove the seedlings that have just been planted because where else would they make a living if their lands were taken away."
Through thirty years of the MFLF’s area-based development approach, we need to understand [the situation, the needs and wants], approach [earn their trust], develop [mutually] in order to create a lasting impact. Sustainable development certainly does not happen overnight and without the mutual understanding and commitment of the communities living there.
She touched on how the Northernmost part of Thailand affects the lives of Bangkok city dwellers and vice versa. Thus, “Interdependence is needed for both worlds to survive,” she said.
Pimpan concluded, “Adapting some of our behaviors in the squared world could be as good as or even better than stepping into the circled world and planting a tree that does not grow.”