In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) teamed up with the Thai National Science Museum to present Kids Making Sense, a workshop on air quality  for students that was very well received.  While they were here, U.S. EPA representatives met with regional and provincial officials to discuss the Cities Clean Air Partnership, which Chiang Mai has now joined!  The U.S. EPA also sponsored a member of the Chiang Mai Regional Environment Office 1 to attend the Better Air Quality Conference in Busan, South Korea, to learn more about opportunities for progress and collaboration on achieving better air quality. 
 
In June, U.S. Consulate Green Team members joined with Meuyen Muang Yen and other community members to plant and care for trees around the Chiang Mai moat as part of the “Plant Where You Are” campaign.  The Green Team continues to meet monthly to discuss local projects and opportunities (Do you have an environmental project you think we might be interested in?  Feel free to drop us an email!).
 
New U.S. Consul General, Jenny Harhigh, is also enthusiastic about environmental initiatives.  Since arriving to Chiang Mai in August, she has already met with Warm Heart Founder, Dr. Shafer to discuss learn more about the “Breath of Fresh Air” biochar program, and with 137 Pillars General Manager, Anne Arrowsmith, to see how the boutique hotel is using biochar to promote environmentally friendly landscaping practices; CG Harhigh also hosted a presentation and discussion on environmental issues in northern Thailand and potential solutions.  Afterward, the U.S. Consulate gardeners trained in environmentally friendly composting and biochar techniques, so that the biomass generated on compound can be recycled, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
 
These are just a handful of things the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai has been doing to promote environmental issues in northern Thailand.  We’d love to hear more about what the rest of the community is doing.  And if you have a great project that you would like to work on but just need a funding boost, check out this opportunity:
 
The Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) is a competitive grant program, funded by USAID and administered by the U.S. National Academies of Science, through which scientists outside the United States, partnered with U.S. government-supported collaborators, can apply for funding for research and capacity building on development-related topics. The program is designed to leverage U.S. government investments in research to support scientific research around the world. More information about PEER is available here: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/peer/index.htm.
 
PEER is accepting pre-proposals for research projects, including projects addressing Environmental Contaminants (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/PEER/PGA_174593), which includes air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, social science approaches to human behavior change, impacts of pollution on the economy, etc.
 
The open RFP is available here: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/pgasite/documents/webpage/pga_174628.pdf. The submission deadline is January 13.
 
With the 2017 smoke season just a few months away, we look forward to seeing the positive collaboration and initiatives this community will undertake. 
 
Warmest Regards,
 
AmyLyn Reynolds
the NTPSN Coordinator
 
 
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