Beware of Fraud in Plant Conservation

Sadly, where supposedly DOING GOOD DEEDS is concerned, there has always been FRAUD.  Some people make a good living out of it! I was an "INNOCENT ABROAD" when I first visited India 36 years ago but I have become wiser since then.  I have met many delightful people in the Indian sub-continent (having visited India some 20 times, Pakistan, Nepal several times, Bhutan and passed through Bangladesh).  Up in the villages and mountains, the vast majority of people are honest and friendly, often genuinely concerned about the well-being of visitors.  But this CANNOT be said in the towns and big cities - though much the same applies all over the world (including Britain) where one MUST be cautious and alert, otherwise one can end up tricked and cheated.

"SPINNING A LINE" is widespread where tourists and other foreigners are found - there is an assumption amongst too many in the Indian sub-continent that ALL Westerners are VERY RICH and NOT VERY BRIGHT...  Some visitors are awfully gullible.  Having taken an interest in locally-made handicrafts, from papier-mache to pashmina shawls, I am all to aware that FAKES are the norm.  Some years ago my eldest son visited Nepal on my behalf and brought home some shawls, purchased from a Kashmiri friend of mine, who had a shop there.  He wondered why, I was asking for the REAL thing as opposed to ARTIFICIAL silk or fake pashmina?!

Unfortunately, too many senior figures and those CLAIMING to be expert scientists in the UK and other Western countries are easily TAKEN IN by a proportion from amongst the educated elite in the Indian sub-continent, fluent in English, who "invent" worthwhile causes/projects, realising there is MONEY TO BE MADE out of naive Westerners willing to donate to such supposedly GOOD CAUSES....

At my lectures I often comment that many in the UK PREFER to support smaller charities, recommended by EXPERIENCED British people like myself, who after DECADES of experience are more STREET-WISE - they have greater confidence the money will be better spent!  We should ALL make sure we support the GENUINE charities.

Unfortunately, it has become increasingly apparent to me that certain charities which secure support from those at the highest level of UK society - and USE senior figures to provide them with CREDIBILITY, are in fact SHAMS....  They have received LARGE amounts in financial support.  Is this not scandalous?  But I am RELUCTANT to approach these senior figures directly, as I am sure they would not appreciate me ENLIGHTENING them....

These figures and names have a RESPONSIBILITY to SCRUTINISE more closely what is going on, ACTUALLY READ carefully the often NONSENSICAL 'reports' these 'dodgy' charities produce - as there is precious little else the 'charities' ACTUALLY do.  Ordinary people TRUST such figures.  It is also high time that GENUINE experts are invited to serve on the panels which decide on awards.  Just because you are e.g. a TV presenter does not make you ANY sort of expert.  It is also HIGH TIME, that journalists working for our main news organisations ACTUALLY had EXPERTISE to cover IMPORTANT issues..... Or is it a deliberate policy to employ those whose only 'expertise' lies in TABLOID journalistic techniques?

My "faith/trust" in the SYSTEM in the UK has been SEVERELY damaged.   I have ALWAYS conducted myself ETHICALLY - sadly MANY others do NOT....

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