Mr Somboon Tongdoung

Mikael Mahlberg:
APE volunteer

You have been volunteering with APE for a few months now, what made you want to become a conservation volunteer in a foreign country? I have done it before and it is a great way to do some thing that is worthwhile and you meet a lot of new friends. I strongly believe that we must do all we can to prevent total collapse of our ecosystem. And you get much closer to the real Thailand , if you only meet the sales people in the touristic areas you still don't have any idea about what normal culture is and how people live here.

What do you think are the biggest threats to the environment globally?
The growing population in the world.

How environmentally aware are people in Sweden? Can you give examples of what people do to reduce carbon? In general Swedish people are quite aware. A lot of news about every aspect of it in the
media. Recycling, green tax exchange (we put higher tax on energy usage), Tax reduction on "eco friendly" cars. Most companyes in Sweden do eco certification like ISO 14001.

What are the differences you have notice between Thai environmental awareness compared to Sweden or Europe? I would say they are at least 10-20 years after here. But I think all problems with a global warming and flooding makes people more aware here too.

The West makes up a smaller % of people than the East but yet we consume so much more, much of the demand for resources, like forests, in S.E. Asia is from the Western world. Can you tell us what you think people in Europe do to help prevent logging and land clearing here? Stop overusing natural resources. Try to buy stuff that has a good record of where it come from and that it is produced in a sustainable way.

What statistics or facts have you seen which have most alarmed you about deforestation issues? The speed we cut down the worlds forests in and the way the population is growing. They are linked together.

Why do you think it is important to protect the forests here in Thailand? They are essential to the survival of endangered species of animal and plants. They protect Thailand from landslides and helps to take care of CO2.

In your volunteering you have seen many different animals, can you give us examples of how the animals are being affected by the destruction of the forests in Thailand? The easy answer is, no forest no place to live for the animals that use to be there.

Why do you think agro forestry on plantations and forest restoration are important? With out it we will have no forests in the future.

What made you decide to volunteer with APE and help restore and protect the forests in Thailand? I heard some good things about it from friends , they told me about the Important work APE does. Once aware of the importance of the forests it was easy to chose a project that does so much to help saving it.

Do you need a lot of money to volunteer? Yes all the beer is expensive ha ha ah

If someone is interested in volunteering for an NGO, how can they do this? and what are things to look for in a good project?
Look online for a good project is a good start. Some, like APE for example you can apply for online as well. The type of work involved, cost - is it just eco tourism to make money or true conservation? How established it is within the community. These are some criteria that are important for me.

Do you enjoy volunteering with APE Foundation?
I have had a great time here and I have met some amazing people. I would recommend any one to do it.