Forgotten Fruits

Although we seem to be surrounded by an abundance of food choices, the variety of foods available to us is actually shrinking. According to a new study by the UN, three quarters of the world’s food now comes from just 12 plants. Of the hundreds of species of beans, cabbage, corn and other vegetables that […]

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Cat Walk

I traveled to Canada in late February, a month not notable for its warmth and charm. On Vancouver Island, frozen snowbanks receded reluctantly from the roads and even the hardy Islanders were wearing woolly hats and gloves. The temperature, day and night, was below zero. My sister keeps her house heated at 17C which does […]

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Woman at Sea – Citizen Science in the Plastic Wars

In October 2019 a sailing ship will embark from the United Kingdom on a two-year journey to raise awareness of the impacts of single use plastics in the world’s oceans. eXXpedition (note the clue of the double X chromosome in the title) is an all-woman scientific research mission which will cover almost 38,000 nautical miles […]

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Slow Food Bali Goes to India

The principles of Slow Food are universal – to promote good, clean, fair, seasonal food and support local producers. Every Slow Food group operates differently according to its own context. In December I was fortunate to meet a dedicated young man who is bringing Slow Food principals mainstream in a corner of Rajasthan, India. Rohit […]

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Ode to the Throne

As 2018 rolls to a close, our thoughts often turn to gratitude. Let us consider and give thanks to that unloved and unlovely item of porcelain, the toilet. We assume that it will always be there, clean and functioning and discreetly disposing of our excretions. This fundamentally important article is taken completely for granted until […]

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Monkey Business

I like or tolerate almost all creatures except mosquitoes and monkeys. So when the dogs started barking hysterically one morning I was not charmed to find a large long tailed macaque glaring at me from the frangipani tree not three metres from my open-plan house. In fact, I was deeply apprehensive. These monkeys are aggressive, […]

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A Sense of Place

When I started packing to leave Singapore for Bali in 2000, my friends were confused and apprehensive. Why was I leaving their safe and orderly little nation for the chaos of Indonesia? The civil unrest, financial crisis and fall of Suharto in 1998 were still vivid memories in the region. Many of us had sheltered […]

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SOCIAL STUDIES

I celebrated National Day at Puri Lumbung in Munduk again this year. The rustic hotel is built among rice fields, clove trees and flower gardens high on the edge of an ancient caldiera. The view spills down to the north coast and Java’s Mount Meru beyond. The air is crisp and cool, and perfumed with […]

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THE LAST STRAW

About five years ago my housekeeper’s son decided to start a little business making bamboo drinking straws. I’ve known Putu since he was four years old. So he’s been under my indirect influence most of his life, receiving subliminal messages through his mother Wayan Manis about waste management, nutrition and the environment. Now 20, he […]

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ETHICAL MEAT

Eating meat is so politically incorrect these days. Especially here in Ubud, where the population of gluten-free vegans per capita is probably higher than anywhere else outside south India. Many would argue that the term ‘ethical meat’ is an oxymoron. There’s abundant evidence that commercial meat production is highly damaging to the planet and cruelly […]

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