Carbon Market Crimes
Flooded - A.T. Biopower, Thailand

Tamra Gilbertson Jongkol Kerdboonma

Jongkol Kerdboonma

11 November 2008
Nam Song, Thailand

After months of information-gathering, the Nam Song community experienced a major setback when the local sub-district admin- istration agreed to install the power station in Nam Song. The Thai government requires developers to hold a public hearing with resi- dents before proceeding. At the public meet- ing, the local government officials and the company consultants met with the commu- nity and asked them to sign their names on a piece of paper labelled “consultant meet- ing”. The consultants and local government officials added names of villagers who were not in attendance. The company showed the list of names to the local authority, stating that 88 per cent of the 528 villagers who at- tended the meeting agreed to the power plant being built.

This incident provoked the villagers to send a grievance letter to the local government. Initially, they were divided over whether the power plant should be built, which caused strife in daily life as well as among family members. Eventually, they resolved to end

their divisions, with the whole community signing the letter stating their objections to the meeting and to the proposed power plant. The villagers then created the Nam Song Conservation Club to co-ordinate a full- scale campaign against the project.

‘We do not need factories or development, we live with nature and we like the way things are,’ stated Jongkol Kerdboonma, a member of the club.

The Nam Song Conservation Club began gathering research with the aid of other move- ments and organisations in which the wom- en played a vital role. The villagers sought to show that the rice field was on a flood plain and an inappropriate power station site, and that building it so close to where they lived constituted a threat to the health of the peo- ple and the river. The campaign grew to in- clude meetings, door-to-door organising and several rallies of over 700 people outside the provincial government headquarters.