Run by Hare Krishna devotees, and known by its other name Nueva Vrindavan, the Eco Yoga Park proved to be a wonderful break after nearly 8 months on the road. At only US $12 a day for food accommodation and yoga and meditation classes, it was also great value.
As it’s a longer podcast than normal, I thought I’d include a summary of contents with approximate timings:
0-7 mins – Introduction, temple sounds, why I came to the Eco Yoga Park 7-9 mins – Temple Service sounds 9-19 mins – Interview with Svayam, a Hare Krishna Monk/Devotee 19-21 – Hatha Yoga session 21-29 – Tour of the Eco Yoga Park grounds 29-39 – Interview with Jameson & Laura, two volunteers 39-44 – Sounds, music….
Eco Truly Park is a beautiful Peruvian Pacific coast ecological, artistic hare Krishna community located on Chacra y Mar beach, a district of Aucallama, in the province of Huaral, one hour by bus or car (63 km) north of the capital city, Lima.
It is an international community with about 30 members living there all year long and lots of volunteers visiting as well to enjoy the community living. I specially loved being among like-minded humans who were all vegetarians and lived according to the same principles as me – namely to live in harmony with each other and nature and not kill.
This was the comment I left on their website after spending an amazing time there in 2009:
“I spent 10 days in Eco Truly Park and really loved the time there. After six months of intense travel in Latin America it was like a sanctuary of peace, relaxation, learning and introspection.Everyone were tremendously welcoming and accommodating. I loved the delicious vegetarian food and the yoga practise as well.I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a spiritually open mind.”
For more information, please check out the volunteer website: tp://volunteeringecotrulypark.blogspot.com/
or visit their facebook page: Eco Truly Park, Peru
The video below is a tribute to the place – hopefully it will give you an idea about the beauty of the place and the people.
In this podcast, I met up with Peggy and Jo – the two founders of Pun Pun. During the interview, we discussed their views on Sustainable living & farming, Earthen house building, how they started out, and the philosophy & vision driving their work.
Pun Pun (meaning ‘thousand varieties’) is an organic farm, seed-saving operation, and sustainable living and learning centre based about 50km North of Chiang Mai, Thailand in Mae Taeng district. The first I knew about Pun Pun was last year, when I heard about an amazing new organic vegetarian restaurant that had opened in the grounds of Wat Suan Dok temple. I visited it at the first opportunity, and quickly became a regular!
Pun Pun offers a variety of workshops and training courses, from their 10 week internship program offering an in-depth, hands-on experience in organic gardening (including seed saving, earthen building, and community living) through to 3-5 day earthen building workshops, and sustainability study trips. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can contact them via their website – the details are below.
You Sabai – You Sabai Home is located in Mae Taeng, next door to Pun Pun’s organic farm and sustainable living learning center outside a village in Mae Tang province, 50 km from Chiang Mai. They also build and live in simple earthen houses, close to nature.
On Tuesday, August 28, 2007 Greenpeace dumped eleven tones of papayas outside the Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry in protest at the agency’s move to lift a ban on open-field trials of genetically-modified crops.
Although Greenpeace is a common sight in Bangkok, I really doubt that most Thai people in general have any idea of what they are talking about, especially in regard to genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs refer to plants and animals that have received small amounts of genetic material from another organism, usually to give them resistance to disease or insects or to give them another desirable trait, such as the ability to live in areas with little water.
The problem about GMOs is that they are new and not fully tested, so bad things could happen that we can’t foresee. GMOs can be harmful to environment, killing off necessary insects, contaminating plants and animals, or even accidentally creating whole new and dangerous species. Partly because of such potential dangers, many countries have banned the import of products containing transgenic components. Since Thailand exports large amounts of agricultural products, GMOS could be a significant threat to its economy. In addition, GMO seeds are typically patented by large foreign multi-national companies, giving them a huge incentive to try to have them introduced around the world. (All these contentions, incidentally, are hotly disputed by GMO proponents.)
Nevertheless, GM foods, including GM papaya, have been approved by governments in countries like the United States and Canada.
However, arranging a protest in Thailand is not simple when people don’t understand the issue at stake and are hungry at the same time. The Greenpeace demonstration was met with an unexpected reaction from a crowd of onlookers. Passers-by took matters, and tones of papayas dumped by Greenpeace, into their own hands, and ran off. Many passers-by, who mostly knew nothing about transgenic fruit, said they did not care about any health risks. They were just thinking about how hungry they were. Bangkok Post reports about a man who was waiting in traffic for the lights to go green near the ministry and then leapt out of his car and joined the feast. ”I’m not scared of GM papayas. Rather, I’m scared I won’t have any to eat,” said Ubon Ratchathani villager Ampon Tantima, 31, before rushing back to his car with the free fruit.
Naturally I support Greenpeace’ protest against GMO, but I think that a campaign should be aimed at a bottom-up approach. First you provide the general population with knowledge and then you try to influence politicians. Without the knowledge of the common people the support will only come from a small intellectual minority and this may not be enough to change the decisions made at the governmental level.