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Environmental activism Buddhist style

Novices and monks from local temples gather in Luang Nua to protect teak trees from logging. (Photo courtesy of Sarah McLean)

It does not take much these days to spark the ire of Thailand's ruling junta. A mini-protest by students on the streets of Bangkok can easily send them before a military tribunal or to an "attitude adjustment camp." The generals, unlike most Thais, also lack a sense of humor: A satirical song in which a soldier tries to seduce a woman into following "a non-democratic path," infuriated the men in uniform.

But in the picturesque northern Thai village that has become my home, among lush rice fields and hilltop temples, there is one effective mode of expressing dissent and taking action against those who wield power over ordinary folk. It is uniquely Southeast Asian, non-violent and even sanuk -- Thai-style fun and pleasure.

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