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History and Culture of the Khmu People

The Khmu, pronounced kəˈmu, people is a large minority ethnic groups that is spread across the central highlands of Asia including sections of Northern and Central Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Southwestern China. Throughout their range, they are recognized as a separate ethnic group with the exception of those living in China where they fall under the official designation of undistinguished ethnic peoples (rough translation from Chinese). They are known by various names including Khamu, Kemu, Khammu or Khơ Mú depending on the specific area where they live but as would be expected, share a common language with only slight variations in dialects being noted and generally recognizable customs across the entire region. Khmu Population Distribution As can...

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We're Working to Save the Craft

      The traditional Khmu bag, known today as Nature Bag, Earth’s Greenest Bag™ is endangered.  The craft of making it rapidly is disappearing from large areas in Laos’ north. A traditional bag can take days to make.  But only a couple of hours, scissors, a needle and some thread are needed to make a bag from non-woven polypropylene.  Markets in Northern Laos offer thousands of large bags made of that earth-damaging material.  China, sometimes only an hour walk away, sends many products into Laos packed in these harmful bags.  It's easier for the Khmu to use that cheaply-acquired material rather than Jungle Vine® to make a carry bag, even if it lasts only a few weeks rather than...

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Watch Where You Step: Understanding Your Carbon Footprint

While making visits to national parks or forest preserves, you'll often be told to leave nothing but footprints. This is always a good policy in these types of situations. However, we often forget, or simply do not know that wherever we go, we actually leave two sets of footprints. Your physical footprint is, for the most part, a harmless indentation left behind wherever you step. Your other footprint is what is known as your carbon footprint, essentially the level of greenhouse gases your lifestyle and activity emit into the environment. We'd like to help you understand not only what your carbon footprint is, but also how to measure it and identify some simple ways to reduce it and to save...

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Crafter Pia's Daughter Helps Her Create Bags

  Each month, we post a different Nature Bag Crafter interview so our readers can see how beneficial the Nature Bag Khmu/Laos Poverty Reduction Project is and learn more about the Khmu crafters of the eco-friendly tote.   Ounkahm: How old are you? Pia: I am 48 years old. Ounkahm: How many children do you have Pia: I have 5 children. Ounkahm: How many in your family help you make Earth’s Greenest bag? Pia: Only two, myself and my oldest daughter. Ounkahm: What do you do with the finished bag? Pia: hmm… I sell, trade for clothes, blankets, bed sheets or anything that is needed for my family. Ounkahm: How long have you been creating Nature Bags? Pia: I have...

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