Friday, October 28, 2011

Training on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation- Sweden

This is one of the best trainings I have ever followed - Climate Change mitigation and adaptation; sponsored by SIDA and conducted by Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) in Norrokoping, Sweden.  When  I recall the other trainings I have had during my carrier I can rate this on par with the  training on endangered species management at Durrell, Jersey UK and training of trainers at Waheningan in Netherlands. All these trainings gave me skills and lot of confidence to continue my career as a conservationist. Since Climate Change issues are addressed at broader level now, this training is very important for me. One month in Sweden with 22 other middle level managers who are actors of climate change in their countries coming from various backgrounds was very helpful for us to share experience and learn from each other. 

Course content was not only restricted to theory but more practical exposure too given to us. Visiting many Swedish initiatives like wind and solar power stations, sustainably designed cities, exposure to bio gas production for transportation in Stockholm, bio energy production out of garbage and sewage for National electricity grid, are great experience we came across. It was very interesting to learn more about climate change scenarios, assessing vulnerability, modeling, protocols with the legal background, initiatives in Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), Cleaner Development Mechanism (CDM), and Payment for Environmental Services (PES), Reducing Emission from Avoiding  Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) etc. 
Trainees in Stockholm

During one month of staying in Sweden, I questioned myself why can’t we do it in our country? what make us prevent initiating?…why??…and always what?…and how?..So now I am ready to go back to Sri Lanka to try my best to continue my mission as a campaigner, communicator, leader and a citizen to do my best to convince stakeholders, direct them to do what they can do and let them think about what they should do. I am not sure how far I can go but at least I know I have 21 youth ambassadors already trained to some extent (Thanks to Kelani Nadee Yathra) to be ready to go forward and always with young energy. So let’s go for it…with like minded people, politicians and policy makers …because its “our country our future”.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Short visit to London in September soon after Kelani Nadee Yatra

September was a really busy month for me. Soon after I finished the final celebrations of Kelani Nadee yatra I went to London. It was on an invitation from Conservation leadership Programme (CLP) to give a presentation at a ceremony they have organized.
With Catherine Isherwood
It was a short but a very nice visit where I was able to meet some of my old friends whom I have met through my conservation work. I also met my  dear friend Catherine Isherwood. She was a member of Sinharaja 97 expedition which came to Sri Lanka in 1997. This expedition which came after winning a CLP award was the turning point of my conservation career. Catherine is a Geologist in Sterling now after finishing her PhD. Even after 14 years , we are a good team as Julia Jones and Claire Ferry are also with me whenever I need any assistance for our conservation work. In fact very recently Claire had a walk around Northern Ireland to raise funds for three conservation organization including ECO-V(

Dr. Mark Rose in the middle
Three of past CLP award winners were invited for this event they have organized at BP head office in London .We had to share our success after winning CLP awards with the BP officials. This event gave me the opportunity to meet Dr. Mark Rose the head of Fauna and Flora International (FFI) whom I have met during Whitley awards interviews in 2002. CLP had also organized another meeting for me at FFI Cambridge which gave me the opportunity to show the video of Kelani Nadee Yatra and talk about the river journey. Thanks to Robyn Dalzen and Stuart Paterson of CLP for inviting me for the event.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Final celebrations of Kelani Nadee Yatra

Invitees lighting oil lamp

Kelani Nadee yatra..the journey along Kelani river is over…We had a grand final event on the 15th of September 2011. Thanks to Western province ministry of Environment for organizing such a wonderful final event for us. All the Yathrees (travelers) were felicitated by the ministry by giving a certificate and an award. Senior minister Hon.  A.H.M Fauzi was the chief guest along with the western Province Environmental Minister Hon. Udaya Gammanpila and some other invitees. It was held at the beautiful Beire lake premises and many school children, press, government officers, Cooperate sector, and ECO-V members were among the invitees. They all were there to share the information about the journey. Imala Aberatne from Sabaragamuwa Province was awarded as the best Yathree. All the yathrees came back to Colombo. Thanks to kind permission from Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen Chandana Rajaguru who personally participated in the event we had both Selva and Newton from North back to Colombo for the event. All Yathrees were with full of energy and some of them have already started their projects which was very encouraging. All were delighted to watch the 15 minute documentary film we made about Kelani Nadee Yatra- a river journey for climate justice. We missed Jim and Pat from Journeys for Climate Justice in Melbourne but we knew that their blessings were with us on that day. 
Hon.Minister Gammanpila Addressing the gathering

Well... thank you for everybody who supported us in many ways to have our journey a success. It was not just a journey along Kelani River but a journey of Youth in their lives with a positive behavioral change.  Also it is a beginning of another journey with a message we take across the country and to the region in coming months! Let’s have our own journeys towards positive attitudinal change to save our Mother Earth from Climate Change crisis. 
Western Province Ministry felicitated ECO-V 
Yathrees and school children sharing experience
Happy Yathrees
Staff of WP environmental ministry & Yathrees