Seeking a Greener PhuketSEEK Phuket is a non-profit organisation set up by a collection of individuals dedicated to creating a more sustainable island environment.
With Phuket becoming increasingly popular as a tourist and lifestyle destination the impact on the island's environment is considerable. Enter SEEK Phuket - a newly established environmental body made up of local and foreign participants, including teachers, retirees, NGO workers, business owners and government officials, each with their own ideas on how the island can be protected and business made more sensitive to sustainability.
SEEK identifies and promotes existing projects that help the island's environment, encouraging positive approaches through support and awards, and working to develop new initiatives and projects with the help of the greater Phuket community.
The group organises regular meetings, seminars and events at various locations around the island, working with the local government, charitable organizations, the private sector, schools nd any other group that aims to build a better relationship between themselves, nature, communities and the environment.
Tools of the trade
SEEK employs a range of approaches to help inspire a more dedicated approach to environmental and social responsibility on Phuket.
A targeted "Litter Bug" campaign has been launched to keep Phuket clean and green, sponsored by the Touriam Authority of Thailand with a variety of media used to publicise the initiative, including billboards, TV ads, radio slots and a road show. A movie about Phukets' environment is also scheduled to spread the word beyond the island's shores.
SEEK Phuket also sets standards and requirements for membership, visiting local business and offering them SEEK Phuket accreditation, with simple standards to comply with and logos to use for branding. A SEEK Phuket Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner will also be held annually to recognise the successes and efforts of those that make a positive difference, with categories such as Best Project, Best New Initiative and prizes for businesses that show the most improvement in terms of sustainable practice.
Educational seminars will offer targeted training for different groups, based on SEEK Modules to help further awareness and education. All projects will also have modulated standards of quality to be strictly adhered to, while for the younger members of the community, the organisation will also produce a series of children's books as a way to tell the story of the island's natural wildlife and explain the impact of the tourism on their lives.
In order to reach the maximum number of people, SEEK recently launched an interactive website with links to projects, services, as well as advertising by eco businesses, weather reports, environmental news from Phuket and examples of other initiatives around the world.
Coinciding with the annual SEEK Awards, every year, SEEK Phuket will organise a high profile, 3 day event that brings together government representatives, NGOs and members of the private sectors to learn and share information, hold meetings to agree on Phuket's future, attend workshops, and explore an EXPO of relevant goods and businesses.
The first of these events is scheduled for August 2012 and will combine the SEEK Inaugural Andaman Coastal Forum, and Eco Exhibition and an Eco Arts Fair.
Based on the theme "Sea, Sand & Sustainability", the Thailand Coastal Forum will provide an opportunity to share and exchange experiences and lessons learned from a variety of recent environmental initiatives, programmes and activities in the Kingdom's coastal areas, including discussions on community-based resource management, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture (including certification), marine protected areas, marine tourism, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.
The 2-day exhibition section will be held at the island's impressive Thanyapura Sports Club, with a variety of exhibitors to support the vision of Green Phuket, including interactive stations showcasing technology, a school project competition, GE water desalinization, green leaf, hotel products, Ecolab and other green commercial products, solar companies, wind turbine and other eco energy