Cleaning Up! Why Gold Extraction Doesn’t Have to Cost The Earth.

February 21, 2019 by

Here’s some good news! This new GEF initiative could help reduce up to 40% of the global emissions of toxic mercury!

Wild Open Eye - Natural Vision, News from Wild Open Eye

A new $180-million Global Environment Facility programme will improve conditions for artisanal miners across eight countries:Burkina Faso, Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Peru, while slashing  mercury pollution that harms people and wildlife according to a new report from UNDP’s GEF.

(Source GEF Press Release London, 18 February, 2019)

Every year, more than 2,700 tonnes of gold is mined around the world. Twenty per cent of that – over 500 tonnes annually – is produced by artisanal and small-scale miners. These miners and processors, the majority of them in developing countries, work in often harsh conditions, without the protection of industry regulations on pay, health or safety, to sate the global hunger for gold for jewellery, investment and consumer products.

Toxic mercury is used to dissolve and concentrate the gold. Then the mercury is boiled off with very toxic fumes to reveal the gold. Toxic mercury is used to dissolve and concentrate the gold. Then the mercury is boiled off with very toxic fumes to reveal the gold…

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Hugh Paxton’s Blog Resumes!

February 20, 2019 by

Yes, I know I have resumed before and then fizzled out. Been a busy few years! I intend to tell you all (or some) about them. No fizzling out again and that’s a promise! Keep your eyes peeled and best wishes! Hugh

New column: Poem of the day. Yo ho ho!

August 27, 2017 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has a proud, if not entirely reliable, tradition of launching columns. If bored and have time on your hands some are well worth reading. Some .are a bit out of date. Dope of the Day always worth a glance.

This latest column launch is Poem of the Day. My plan is to select a poem (or it could be lyrics from a song, or excerpts from a speech if it sounds poetic). I then explain a bit about it, and educate everybody. Particularly myself.

I have consulted with the Hugh Paxton Blog editor Robin and we begin with a pirate sea shanty.

And how it came to be.

“Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!”

Why 15 men on the Dead Man’s Chest?

That’s what I wondered when I first read this in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous adventure story Treasure Island. Stevenson never explained what the pirates were singing about. I thought the 15 men might be standing on a dead man’s chest. His rib cage. It would have cracked. Or his packing trunk. Or his treasure chest. All ideas seemed unlikely. You can’t get 15 men on any of them.

The real explanation is exceptionally intriguing!

And is brought to us courtesy of Geographical, published by the Royal Geographical Society, by an explorer who says Dead Mans Chest is part of the British Virgin Islands.

In the early 1700s, says Quentin van Marle , the pirate Edward Teach – known as “ Blackbeard ” – punished a mutinous crew by marooning them on Dead Man’s Chest, an island 250 yards square surrounded by high cliffs and without water or landing places.

Each was given a cutlass ( A type of sword designed with a curved blade, better at slicing than longer swords) this and a bottle of rum, and Teach’s hope was that they would kill each other. But when he returned at the end of 30 days he found that 15 had survived.

This would explain in full the verse:

“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

What did the island look like?

“DeadChest. There is no food on the island,” Mr van Marle says. “It is occupied by pelicans, lizards, non-poisonous snakes – and mosquitoes.”

It has never been developed for tourism because of its inaccessibility.

Dead Chest Island is to the North East of Peter Island. It is described as “eerie and infamous” on a local calendar. Mr van Marle, who discovered the true story by studying local history and folklore, was himself marooned on it in 1969 when he lost his outboard motor while on a scuba trip.

Hugh Paxton’s Blog would like to thank Adrian Berry, who was Science Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. It has been kindly brought to our attention by LJS Trust supporter Barry Wright . Thanks too, to Barry Wright! And, of course, Quentin van Marle.

I want this Poem of the Day to inspire raucous singing (please be noisy and really uncouth), rum (if you drink responsibly – no more than two bottles for breakfast) lots of cutlasses (if you slaughter people humanely).

And if you want to launch a pirate expedition – go ahead! Give the Somali coast a try.

Some sites to browse if you are interested in pirates. Sea shantys. Rum. Etc

Robert Louis Stevenson

Black beard

Songs of the sea


– Hugh Paxton


Love at first sight.. Nairobi giraffe sanctuary

August 24, 2017 by


I thought it was going well. That we’d really got something special. But it’s been five days since we met. I’m now in Istanbul, destined for England. She hasn’t phoned, written, tweeted…yup, guess it’s the same sad old story. Middle aged man meets giraffe, offers pellets, giraffe eats pellets. Middle aged man runs out of pellets. Giraffe moves on. Don’t be deceived by those long fluttering eyelashes, those deep and dreaming, pool-like eyes. Heartache and hollow disappointment is the destiny of anyone getting mixed up with plains giraffe! – Hugh 



August 24, 2017 by

New editor is appointed!

Hugh is glad to announce the return of his blogging page! The page will include an array of fascinating stories about traveling and daily anecdotes. please enjoy the site, and be sure to follow for regular updates.  The new editorial committee consists of: Annabel, Robin and Tim. We begin with Hugh’s affair with a giraffe, which explains his absence.

Anilbalan’s Ghost Cities Blog Fwd: New post The Green Man

August 14, 2016 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has been inactive recently. Things too hectic. I promise to be a little more interesting over the next few days.

Cheers from Brooklyn (just back from an England visit)!

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ghost Cities <comment-reply>

Subject: [New post] The Green Man

Date: August 13, 2016 at 9:00:43 PM EDT

To: paxton.bkk

Reply-To: “Ghost Cities” <comment+rgnx_beb-sm2p49dm_dkvxz>

Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on Ghost Cities

The Green Man

by ghostcities

Sir Kingsley Amis first came to prominence when he won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954 for Lucky Jim, one of the great comic creations of the 20th-century. In subsequent works he proved to be a master of invective and comedy, as well as revealing his interest in the supernatural in several short stories and the chilling novel The Green Man (1969), which was described by The Times as “an accomplished ghost story in the M R James style, under appreciated when it first came out, but winning some belated admiration when it became a television serial in 1990.” A clubbable, generous-hearted, though often irascible man, Amis unwittingly created a furore when the novel was first published. It was written in its original form as a radio broadcast intended to make listeners believe it was a factual account. The whole idea backfired, however, when – like H G Wells before him – he found people, including close friends, believing it was true! Indeed, despite the fact that he repeatedly stated it was a “lying narrative, fiction disguised as fact,” this misapprehension – like the theme of another of his short stories Who or What Was It? – haunted Amis for the rest of his life.

Read more of this post

ghostcities | August 14, 2016 at 2:00 am | Tags: Kingsley Amis, The Green Man | Categories: Horror, Supernatural fiction, Tall Tale, Urban Legend, Writer | URL:

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Thanks for flying with


July 22, 2016 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog got this from Prisana. It’s rated a Hugh Paxton Blog 5 Star courageous.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Prisana Nuechterlein <prisanan>

Subject: Courage

Date: July 22, 2016 at 1:33:16 AM EDT

To: Hugh Paxton <paxton.bkk>

Dear Hugh,

Where There is A Will, There is a Way

Only 1 Day left for my big annual ride! Please help me reach my goal of $2,500 by donating any amount. So far I have raised $915 toward my goal and believe I could reach it with any help you could please give me.

This is my 3rd Courage Classic and every year, I am overwhelmed by people’s immense generosity and heartwarming support. Thank you beyond measure for helping us to further aid other children at the amazing hospital that saved my son’s life in 1998.

At 15, my son Brandon was diagnosed with Aggressive Leukemia (AML and ALL) while we were living in Phuket, Thailand. At the time we had little knowledge about leukemia, nor what his chances of survival would be. I can’t describe the devastation that I felt in Bangkok, upon learning that his diagnosis came with a 30% survival rate. There was no one at the Bangkok hospital to guide us through the fear and pure panic upon realizing that my adorable son, who was experiencing extreme pain the week leading up to his diagnosis, could indeed die from this disease.

For a couple of months prior to his diagnosis, high fevers caused him to wake up drenched in sweat and he was experiencing pain that I mistakenly thought was either sports related or growing pains. The doctors on the island of Phuket, Thailand​ where we were living guessed at several possible diagnoses: could it be a slipped disc from playing rugby? Malaria? Dengue fever? Cancer was not even considered and when the doctors suggested exploratory surgery (the day after I admitted him due to his sudden weight loss of 10lbs and high fever), I knew we were in a truly dangerous situation.

I would not agree to the surgery because Brandon’s platelet count had plummeted to a dangerously low level and surgery would have killed him. His symptoms worsened and he went into septic shock. Bacteria had infiltrated his bloodstream. His white blood cell count spiked to 250,000. Normal range was 5,000 to 10,000. That meant his body was attempting to wage a futile war against a mysterious infection.

In desperation, I called Children’s Hospital from Phuket and talked to a doctor who was on call working in the cancer ward. From across the world, the kind doctor told us by phone that Brandon most likely had leukemia. In 5 minutes, the doctor from Colorado had managed to diagnose Brandon based only on my description of what had been happening.

Meanwhile, the doctors in Phuket, truly did not have a clue. They kept saying that it was dengue fever and I would argue that it couldn’t be. I admit, I was unable to reign in my fear and frustration and often was quite angry at the team of “healthcare” providers that were treating Brandon at this hospital. I challenged them by asking them “if they had ever seen a case of dengue fever with such a low plalette count??” Their answer was finally a definite “No,” admitting that they did not know what was wrong with my poor son.

Almost immediately after the phone call, we flew Brandon up to Bangkok, where he was given a lumbar puncture – also called a spinal tap to remove cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain and spinal cord to detect whether blood cancer cells were present confirming leukemia. Shockingly, the doctor performed this excruciating procedure without any local anesthetic! Even worse since the doctor could not get any fluid, he actually chipped some of Brandon Nuechterlein​’s bone to get a sample. Unbelievably cruel! In the US, you would never get a spinal tap without the use of a local anesthetic to numb the area beforehand.

During the procedure, I was trying to convince myself that he didn’t really have leukemia, praying to the Universe that everything would be fine and that the tests results would prove that he had some other easily curable ailment. Only a short time later, the results came back and our lives forever changed.

“Your son has AML and ALL,” the doctor said definitively. “His chances of survival are zero, unless you can go back to the U.S. for treatment.” Back in 1998, Thailand did not have a bone marrow transplant facility which it now has.

We were on a plane the next day, and it was the most stressful and scary flight imaginable. Brandon was in immense pain and even though he was in pain meds, the pain meds did little to alleviate his suffering. It is hard to relive all of this by writing it. It is heartbreaking to know that so many children and adults in Thailand are presently dying from leukemia, without any chance of survival because their families cannot afford the high expense of the treatment. Brandon was extremely fortunate and on Dec 17 1998, after weeks of total body radiation (3 days straight) and high dose chemotherapy that caused every cell in his body to vomit (a few times he would nearly choke while vomiting horrible softball size blood clots) he was finally ready for a cord marrow transplant.

I can never thank the amazing team of doctors, nurses, financial aid counselors and everyone that we interacted with at Children’s Hospital, enough for their compassion and total dedication toward helping children to survive an untold number of horrible diseases.

A few of the children I bonded with over the course of practically living at Children’s for a year, showed me courage that will forever inspire me. They got their legs and arms amputated; they had severe reactions to chemotherapy that I won’t describe because I want to spare you from the reality of what a cord marrow transplant involves and what cancer does to children. In the movies, it looks like a cord marrow transplant is over within one day. Yes, the actual procedure does look like a blood transfusion, but in order to get the marrow, every cancer cell in the patient’s body must be killed off which means good cells are also killed off in the process. The treatment has changed radically since 1998, but it still really really sucks. Simply put. It took a year for Brandon’s immune system to build back up to a safe level and I am beyond happy to tell you that he has been leukemia free now for over 18 years!

Following Brandon’s transplant he was so weak that he could barely walk up a flight of stairs. The idea of riding 157 miles over 3 mountain passes was unimaginable. However, “where there is a will, there is a way” and thanks to the dedicated team at Children’s and their tireless efforts, Brandon was able to complete this ride the past 5 years, raising over $35,000 and recruiting 40 additional riders to help other children battling cancer. Brandon’s dream was to one day work at Children’s Hospital in the center for cancer and blood disorders and his dream came true 6 years ago. He now has the privilege of helping other children overcome their cancers and hopefully a couple of mountain passes as well!

This year our Wheels of Justice team will ride to honor the memory of Delaney Goodner, of Kick Cancer’s Ass. Delaney was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, on June 10, 2008 when she was 13 years old. Delaney’s treatment over the first 6 months went very well. The tumor reduced to just a spectacle. Delaney endured 3.5 years of treatment, never giving up, until she passed on December 9, 2011. The Goodner’s started Kick Cancer’s Ass in support of Delaney and all children with cancer. They have ridden in the Classic for 6 years now, raising a combined $114,265!

Thank you for reading and sharing our story and for helping us to save the children. Your donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated. Even $10 would be a big help! It all adds up!

Prisana Nuechterlein
Mobile: 303-895-8164

Please go to the following link to donate to Prisana Nuechterlein’s Courage Classic Ride. Thank you!


Vietnam’s booming Ivory Market

July 22, 2016 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog received the following. It isn’t just rhino horns. Vietnam is up to more mischief in Africa.

Begin forwarded message:


From: Adriana Dinu <adriana.dinu>
Date: July 21, 2016 at 2:21:14 PM EDT
To: Nik Sekhran <nik.sekhran>, Midori Paxton <midori.paxton>
Subject: FW: Report: Vietnam’s booming Ivory Market

This is so depressing read. Wish I had this data before the meeting with the Vietnam Vice President, so I could have include it in Helen’s briefing to raise it. It is so sick! Quo Vadis Homo sapiens?



Adriana Dinu
Executive Coordinator
UNDP – Global Environmental Finance
Sustainable Development Cluster
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
United Nations Development Programme
304 East 45th Street, FF 914
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: +1 (212) 906-5143; Mobile: + 1 202 460 5118
Skype: adriana.dinu Follow us:

From: Iain Douglas-Hamilton [mailto:iain]
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 9:30 PM
To: Adriana Dinu <adriana.dinu>
Subject: Report: Vietnam’s booming Ivory Market

Dear Adriana,

I have the pleasure in forwarding to you a copy of ourPress Release of a study we are publishing entitled Vietnam’s Illegal Ivory Trade threatening Africa’s elephants.

Following their reports on the ivory markets in China in 2014 and in Hong Kong in 2015, a new report on Vietnam’s ivory trade by researchers Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin reveals dramatic increases in the number of pieces for retail sale, the number of artisans joining the lucrative industry, and its fundamentally illegal nature.

With most of the products being carved or processed being small transportable jewelry items, and the majority of the buyers coming from mainland China, Vietnam is now one of the world’s biggest illegal ivory markets. The number of pieces for sale rose more than 6 times between 2008 and 2015, with most of the ivory now originating from Africa. No other country is known to be as active in both illegal imports of new raw tusks and illegal exports of the final ivory products.

We have seen great gains made against the ivory trade over the past year, with a federal ban in the US, a timeline announced by Hong Kong and a presidential commitment from China. We must work together with governments to prevent markets from springing up elsewhere like Vietnam.

Click here for the press release and here for the report.

Yours sincerely,


Iain Douglas-Hamilton D Phil CBE

Save The Elephants

P.O.Box 54667, Nairobi, 00200 Kenya



July 19, 2016 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has tried this at home. I’m not in danger of adding it to my list of vices. A lot of people find it compulsive. As game obsessions go it does have its amusing moments. Two men in California falling off a 50 foot cliff, people shrieking with triumph in inappropriate places devoted to grief and silent contemplation…that sort of thing… but nope! I don’t get it.

If you have got it, read on and be warned!

From my daughter:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Annabel Paxton <anpa22>


Date: July 18, 2016 at 12:30:05 PM EDT

To: “paxton.bkk” <paxton.bkk>

Sent using OWA for iPhone

Anthony Brian Logan: “Dear Black Lives (LIES) Matter, Stop Blocking Traffic and Focus on …” and more videos

July 13, 2016 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog’s arrival in the US has coincided with a number of fairly appalling incidents and another flare up in deja vu debate on race relations, gun control, heavy handed police response etc. The TV here has lots of channels showing a lot of rubbish and tediously frequent ads for dodgy legal firms specializing in injury claims and rather explicit medical products. The news coverage I have seen so far is either lightweight, tabloid, heavily opinionated or dominated by repeat footage. Mostly it is very firmly focused on the domestic with the occasional foray into Europe. It is too early to generalize and the place we are renting has a rather limited bouquet so I’ll probably need to review my review in a few weeks time! I’m not sure why Anthony Logan sent me this but I’m glad he did. A very non mainstream series of opinion pieces not really reflected on what I’ve seen on the tele to date. Worth exploring and deserving further dissemination and discussion. Perhaps even some common sense action!

Cheers from Brooklyn!


On Jul 12, 2016, at 4:52 AM, YouTube <noreply> wrote:

Hugh, check out the latest videos from your channel subscriptions for Jul 12, 2016.
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Nigel Farage why are rich Arab states not taking immigr…
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