Agricultural Engineering in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim at the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University
“There are many solutions and we must use them all.”
Dr. Wolfram Spreer, graduated at University of Hohenheim (Germany) in the field of Agricultural Engineering. He has a special research interest in topics related to water and soil conservation. Presently, he works as lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University, and is staff member in the research project “Reduced CO2 Emissions, Enhanced Soil Fertility and Increased Water Holding Capacity by Improved Fallow Management Based on Biochar Application in Highland Agriculture” headed by Dr. Choochad Santasup and funded by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT).
Cardiologist, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
“It’s not only 5% or 10% of the population that is exposed to the hazardous particulates, but 100% of the population and everyone is at risk.”
Dr. Rungsrit is a heart specialist, activist, nature conservationist and bird lover. In the lab he performs advanced coronary research, outside he pursues his love in nature. He believes that we need to reconnect with nature and creates opportunities through citizen science projects. He received his diploma in cardiology from the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, University of London. He is a Tedx speaker and has staged protests in Chiang Mai against the burning. He is the founder of the Lanna bird-watching society and regularly leads children on tours in nature.
President, Warm Heart Foundation, Phrao, Thailand
“The burning season is really a product of the intensification of agriculture which we have seen intensifying greatly in the last 20 years.”
Dr. Shafer (B.A. Yale, Ph.D. Harvard), Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, is published widely in foreign policy and international political economy, and has taught at universities around the world.
Dr. Shafer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a 21st Century Fellow. With funding from, inter alia, the Department of State and European Union, he has managed higher education reform initiatives in the Baltic states, Central and Eastern Europe, and Lebanon.
Dr. Shafer is the founder of Global PACT, an international community development and civic engagement training program. With funding from Ford, Open Society Institute, Prudential and the United States Institute of Peace, he ran Global PACT programs in Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, South Africa and Thailand. Since 2008 he has devoted himself entirely to Warm Heart.
Social Activist, Raks Mae Ping
“Particulates are very worrying and no laughing matter. The particles are so small that they embed themselves in our lungs.”
Sakda Darawan has been in the communications business for more than 25 years.
His past experiences include working with the National Energy Policy Office, doing PR strategy for Department of Groundwater Resource to tackle with the drought crisis in the eastern provinces, the State Enterprise Policy Office (SEPO) on state enterprises’ reform communications program. He has also worked for Department of Public Relations (PRD), supervising a TV program “State Enterprise Forum” to support privatization program as well as the Department of Pollution Control to support a waste water treatment project. He also worked for Thai Airways International (THAI) on aircraft livery design of Suphannahong Royal Barge on 2 Boeing 747/400s as the “Tourism Envoy of Thailand.”
Sakda also has extensive experience in working with multinational entities and organizations. He is specialized in environmental communications, energy, socio-politic and strategic communications consulting.
At present, he is an independent consultant on corporate communication strategy and supervising “Raks Mae Ping” Conservation Project in Chiang Mai.
Senior Research Scientist, Research Institute for Health Sciences, Chiang Mai University
“The smoke is like a cancer that we’ve allowed to go unmonitored for so long.”
Dr. Tippawan Prapamontol holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Surrey, Guildford, U.K., actively conducts research related to air pollution and its’ health effects in northern Thailand. Dr. Tippawan is currently a senior researcher at the Environment and Health Research Unit of the Research Institute for Health Sciences (RIHES), Chiang Mai University. Dr. Tippawan has extensive experience in toxicant exposure assessment in various Thai populations. The most recent work was the assessment of exposure to airborne particulate-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) among primary and kindergarten children, by testing urine samples, from different areas from upper northern Thailand provinces. Significance of these research works indicated that children as well as adults in rural areas highly exposed to the PAHs as well as airborne particulate matters (PM10) than the children living in urban districts. Concerning air pollution and health effect, International Agency for Research on Cancers (IARC), a component of WHO based in Lyon, reported that airborne particulate matters (like PM10, PM2.5 or smaller) and some of PAHs can cause cancers in humans. Air pollution is one of the major risk factors for human health at all ages.
President, Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, Managing Director of Royal Peninsula Hotel, Chiang Mai
“During the burning season 3 billion baht in tourism revenue is lost each month when compared to previous years. That doesn’t even take into account the loss in terms of public health which is also in the billions of baht.”
“Biochar is an excellent solution for the ammendment of degraded soils as well as eliminating smoke emissions from field burning.”
From January 2009- December 2012 Jonathan studied agricultural engineering in plants and animal science at EAP Zamorano. He later completed his Master’s degree in “Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Watershed Management” with a focus on sustainability in Germany and Thailand. His thesis focused on biochar. Since November 2015, Jonathan has worked as a trainee in quality management and permacultural projects at one of the biggest german import firms for biologically produced fruits and vegetables.
Hmong Hilltribe farmers from Mae Chaem
Program Manager, Environmental Programs, Warm Heart Foundation, Phrao, Thailand
“There are no losers with biochar; it’s good for the environment, it’s good for the economy and it’s sustainable.”
Gordon has been a professional engineer for over 30 years and has worked for a number of internationally renowned research and development organizations both in the UK and Australia.
After many years developing high-end manufacturing systems specializing in machine design, Gordon turned his attentions to projects in the developing world. Most recently, he spent three years as the Chief Engineer at the Laos Institute for Renewable Energy (LERE) in Vientiane, Laos PDR.
Here he developed an interest in greenhouse gas emissions reduction through the development of Improved Charcoal Production Systems (ICPS).
A chance meeting with Michael and the common interest in climate change mitigation led Gordon to his current position at Warm Heart where he manages biochar R&D.
SE Asia Operations Manager, Rustic Pathways
“I tell people not to travel to Chiang Mai in March.”
Keegan completed his B.Sci in Environmental Science (UC Santa Barbara) focusing on Fire Ecology and Invasive Plant Species Management. After graduating he worked with the US Geologic Survey studying fire and its effect on plant species composition in the Mojave Desert. Keegan moved to Thailand in 2006 and completed his B.Sci. at Chiang Mai University researching the effect of fire in Northern Thailand’s deciduous dipterocarp forests on the production of Astraeus asiaticus sporocarps (เห็ดถอบ, het top, earthstar mushroom). He now creates and runs highschool and college travel programs in SE Asia, focusing on community service and environmental conservation for Rustic Pathways.