The Trouble with Bats
Valuing Urban Naturecultures
April 21, 2016
This post is presented in this week’s series recognizing Earth Day, Friday, April 22.
“Qu’est-ce qu’on va faire à propos des chauves-souris?”
What are we going to do about the bats?
I sit among a small cluster of locals and expats as we sip on coffee and soft drinks sweetened by locally grown sugarcane. We are crowded around a collection of bistro tables pushed together in the center of a busy café. The tropical sky overhead is clear, with not a single cloud in sight. No birds. No bats either.
They came for the bats—not to kill them. No, we are here to discuss ways of relocating the unwelcome creatures elsewhere. Elsewhere could be anywhere—just as long it was away from the towns, away from the orchards. In short, away from humans.
Solar, Sustainability, and Strategies in Sarawak
February 3, 2016
The orang solar (“solar men”) are finally here. The longhouse community has been lit in a pleasant buzz since awaiting the arrival of the technicians (described by my adoptive parents, as “orang solar”) who would install new solar panels. The week prior, the available men in the longhouse had worked every day on building the shed that would house the solar batteries within and the solar panels above.
Apai1 tells me that the solar batteries are arriving separately from Germany. He is so impressed with the origin of the batteries that he repeats this fact to me a couple of times. However, he worries, they might be delayed in the port, not in time for Christmas when the villagers’ adult children return for the holidays from working in the cities.
The solar panels are not the first that the village has had. The first sixteen solar panels were placed above the longhouse roof about a year ago, replacing the many village generators run on diesel. However, the electricity generated from the solar panels is enough for “lights and TV only”—not enough to run the iceboxes or a washing machine that sits idle in a bathroom where I bathe with a scoop and a bucket.