Thai Fulbright Alumni Association(T.F.A.) proudly introduces Thailand Fulbrighters and their achievements in various areas through Thailand Outstanding Fulbright Alumni (TOFA) series.
Cherishing the Fulbright vision and missions to promote cross-cultural understanding, caring communities, and giving mind, Fulbrighters commit themselves to strengthen their professional fields and enhance development of local and international communities.
The second TOFA episode features Dr. Petch Manopawitr, an international well-known freelance conservation scientist, a writer, and an advisor to various environmental related programs and organizations. Dr. Petch is a 2008 Humbert H. Humphrey Fellow to study Environment at Cornell University.
Dr. Petch has long been advocating for real actions not only from those in power but also from individuals to help rebalancing our relationship with nature. He saw the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the unwelcoming results of the wrong development policies, which badly affect the nature and environment. However, he believes that we still have hope and refers to Zendai as an example of civic action on key issue which could influence policy changes and, at the same time,raise public awareness and engagement.
“The COVID-19 had demonstrated that we are going to face a lot more bigger problems caused by climate change. This is just almost like an exercise to prepare ourselves for the bigger disruption. I think the work like Zendai is exactly what need to be done in term of self-organizing civil society part helping each other,building resilience, for society. Adaptive capacity is really a core issue here that we have to deal with environmental challenges in the future.”
“As a citizen, [one must] start to recognize that there is the need to connect the dot. We have the infrastructures. We have the facilities. We have the volunteers. And sometimes,when the system is not functioning as it should, I think [we can help] by filling the gap of the volunteers. I think it’s a way to move the society as a whole to the next level. I think Zendai is showing that people are really really willing to come together and addressing some of the core issues.”
“The pandemic really taught us that there are new discoveries, new findings every day. And we have to adapt to the new findings. Similarly, I think in term of environmental conservation,we know the problems long before. We know that the advancement of technology and scientific knowledge allow us to solve the problems. What we need is political will and global will to change cause of development. Public awareness is still the key. And I think Zendai has shown us that the problem has been exposed to the point that no escape. It not only exposes the problem to the core but also showing the way how to solve the problem. And I think if that become public consensus, you have a good change to really influence policy. Basically, the decision makers will have no way to dance around or to find an excuse of inaction. Public awareness driven by civic society action is going to be a key to really making the policy change.”