Education is the key to create significant changes

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It is a privilege to preside over the opening ceremony of the 10th World Environmental Education Congress hosted by the Chaipattana Foundation and Kasetsart University in collaboration with the World Environmental Education Network. I am delighted to welcome such a large and diverse audience which is gathered here today.

It is a great pleasure to witness the commitment of the international community to fight the increasing degradation of our environment. I believe that we are here today because we all need to understand the fragile state of our environment and the importance of its protection. It is apparent that everything around us is interconnected. We will lose our balance, if we break the chain of nature’s connectivity, and the impact to human beings and all living things would be tremendous.

One great effect that may occur will concern food. To keep up with the increasing world population, there is a greater demand for food. Natural resources such as soil and water are essential foundation for food production. Therefore, sustainable use and preservation of these resources is crucial in order for the food system to function properly. If the soil becomes infertile or the water becomes polluted, producing sufficient and good quality food to feed the global population would be another challenge.

The Chaipattana Foundation has conducted many projects related to environmental improvement and also in connection with the implementation of standardized food production for consumption. One example is the seed production project that emphasizes producing the finest quality seeds because we truly believe that by producing quality seeds, we also produce quality yields. In order to do so, seeds need to be grown in a good environment. This project focuses on the production of quality seeds with zero use of chemical substances, causing no harm to natural resources. In addition, the use of chemical pesticide was replaced by using natural methods. At present, this project benefits local villagers covering three provinces in different parts of the country.

Another example is the Tea Seed Oil Plant and Oil Crops Research and Development Center. The Chaipattana Foundation introduced tea seed cultivation that involves the process of reforestation in the northern part of Thailand in an attempt to restore arid land and to enable the local people to have stable incomes and to create vocational opportunities in a sustainable manner. The quality of tea seed oil is also rich in nutritional properties, which is beneficial for daily consumption.

Most of the projects under the responsibility of the Chaipattana Foundation including these two aforementioned projects aim at educating people. The interested public is welcome to learn from us. I believe that education is the key to create significant changes and it is best to educate the younger generation. Thus, many of our projects try to provide knowledge and understanding, as well as to raise the people’s awareness regarding environmental issues because us, human beings, are one of the factors that intentionally or unintentionally damaged the balance of nature. This congress, I believe, serves as an excellent platform that engages a diverse audience particularly the younger generation, to educate, and to give a floor to us all to share our experiences, case studies, and stories of success that have occured in different parts of the world.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those whose dedication and commitment have made this conference happen. I would also like to convey my appreciation to every concerned organization that has contributed to assuring the success of the conference. Without all of your support, organizing this significant event would not have been possible.

With these remarks, may I now open the 10th Environmental Education Congress. I wish the congress every success and all that the participants will have a pleasant time in Thailand.

Thank you very much.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn