Category Archives: Education

Norway’s Eco-Prison

Here’s an island prison that’s about as distant in principle from Alcatraz as is it in location. Bastoey Island, about 45 miles south of Oslo, hosts some of Norway’s worst offenders in what is effectively an eco-village working holiday camp. Instead of the traditional barred cells, prisoners, including murderers, rapists, drug dealers and thieves, live in separate, unlocked houses on the island. Although only one and a half miles from the mainland, prisoners are reluctant to escape, lest they get returned to the typical maximum security unit and lose the privilege of serving their time where they’re learning valuable skills, as well as gaining respect for themselves, each other, and the environment.

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Also posted in Society

Letters from Vietnam: The Hmong People – Reclaiming Lost Skills

The Future of the Hmong People
Photos: Craig Mackintosh

It took a few moments for my eyes to adapt to the light. There was a single, clear incandescent bulb hanging just millimetres above my head – hanging from somewhere high in the blackness of the ceiling, from a cable so weathered it looked more like a vine than an electrical cord. But it wasn’t turned on. After all, it was daytime. Below my muddied boots was the hard, earth floor; cool to the touch, with just a hint of dampness. The lady of the house swept dirt outside, which, while necessary, almost seemed nonsensical, since the floor was dirt. The walls were thick, and windowless – also made with packed earth. And unlike most other minority tribes in Vietnam, who normally build their houses on poles, this one was built directly onto the ground.

This home was about as ‘earthy’ as they get.

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Also posted in Consumerism, Geopolitics & Economics, Photojournalism, Society

Letters from Vietnam – The Road to Na Sai

We catch a rare glimpse of an ancient and beautiful culture – the Black Thai people – and applaud the work of a modern day NGO who is working to help improve the lives of these noble people whilst retaining their unique identity – just as a new road threatens their natural, low-carbon existence.

Black Thai Villager in Rice Fields, Na Sai Village, Vietnam
Photos: Craig Mackintosh

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Also posted in Diversity, Geopolitics & Economics, Photojournalism, Society

Letters from Vietnam – Arriving to HEPA

Hanoi, Vietnam
Photos: Craig Mackintosh

Greetings from Vietnam. I landed here five days ago – aiming to continue to help develop the work of SPERI (Social Policy Ecology Research Institute), a Vietnamese NGO and sister organisation to PRI.

I am staying at HEPA (Human Ecology Preservation Area) – a fantastic SPERI/PRI project that brings people from all over Vietnam (particularly indigenous ethnic minority farmers) to train them in permaculture systems, so they can go back to demonstrate and share the knowledge with their communities, thus making their traditional efforts to sustain themselves even more efficient and productive.

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Also posted in Permaculture, Photojournalism