Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Bye and Thank you year 2012!


Today is the last day of year 2012. I was very busy since I came back in mid November from USA after Eisenhower Fellowship travel. During the last week of Eisenhower fellowship programme we were supposed to provide a photograph which will express feelings about whole programme. The image should have chosen during the travel. It was very interesting to put two months of experience and feelings into one image. A butterfly flying away from its cocoon was my image which was taken at Audubon Society education center in Phoenix, Arizona. I felt like a caterpillar inside a cocoon who is absorbing everything and turning into a butterfly who fly away to pollinate. 
Award of certificate by EF president John Wolf
EF experience for me in one image

I missed the opportunity to visit Namibia in November to attend the refresher course on conflicts on Wetland management due to a strike by Air Namibia. However, Centre for Innovation and Development (CDI) at Wageningen, Netherlands who was the organizer of the programme in Namibia had a similar programme running in Nepal. CDI invited me to attend it in Pokhara, Nepal instead of Namibia. This was the second time I attended a course at CDI and first one was held at Netherlands in 2009. 
During stake holder interviews on Rupa Lake case study

With some of course participants

Fish tail Mountain at Annapurna mountains in Pokhara

It was almost Christmas when I returned from Pokhara, Nepal after 2 weeks and was looking forward to have a holiday after long travel for last 3 months. Still no great luck in getting holidays as we had the meeting for ECO-V members on the day after I returned. The meeting was to discuss our future activities in the coming year. It was very nice to meet most of our enthusiastic members. Some of them were with us since 2002. 

During ECO-V Thiresi meeting

Many of our senior members

Last year we were busy with kelani Nadee Yathra the river journey for climate justice which was a huge success. This year we were fully involved with the yathrees (youth who participated in the journey) supportive projects. All yathrees did at least a small scale project and 6 of them are still continuing their initiatives at local level to make a difference. They all are good examples of youth leaders at grass root level. Our promise was to guide them for one and half years after the river journey but it seems like we have developed strong bonds with them for another few years which is very encouraging. Now it is the time for another initiative and we are getting ready for next National level event in coming year.
Well, personally, 2012 was a very happy year as it helped me to become an Eisenhower fellow and got my leadership skills strengthened. We have been talking about our dream of having a well developed training component for future leaders at grass root level.  So I believe that we all can keep dreaming and acting together to make it a reality in year 2013.
We thank you all for being with us by encouraging and admiring what we were doing and we believe that you will continue to be with us in coming year too.
Good Bye year 2012 and happy New year to all of you!
Kanchana, Thushara and rest of ECO-V

Monday, December 3, 2012

Back to San Francisco, Canticle Farm and workshop with Joanna Macy

After Boston un-conference organized by New England Eisenhower fellows I flew back to San Francisco. It was a very unique experience for me. Throughout Eisenhower fellowship travel, I had the opportunity to stay at hotels like Hilton, Double tree and many other star class hotels but two nights living in a small room at Casa de Paz at Canticle Farm ( was an unforgettable experience. It took me back to my university days when I did research living in Tropical Rrain Forests when I sleept on floor, living with minimum facilities this time eating vegetarian and sometimes even vegan (which is a new practice for me) walking in the organic garden watching humming birds!!! Wow…I really enjoyed few hours of those two days meeting very unique personalities in USA who are trying to get connected with Mother Earth with a simple life style. In fact it’s not very new to me as many people in Sri Lanka live that way but I think for many Americans its very unusual. They all talked about Ghandian philosophy, middle path of Lord Buddha, meditation, sustainability, connection with Mother Earth, inner peace, and low ecological impact and non violence. All familiar words! The beauty of it is they respect Buddhist philosophy, and teachings of St. Francis. Isn’t it wonderful??? I only spent the night and early mornings at Canticle farm as I had to travel to San Francisco to participate in Joanna Macy’s workshop on “Great Turning”. Read more about Canticle Farm community on this link.

Garden which provides food for all community members

seating areas giving the opportunity to connect with Mother Earth

Two days with Joanna Macy talking about “Great Turning” was giving me full of positive energy. It confirmed me what I was preaching for last 11 years is so true and Joanna confirmed me that I am on right track. This is what Joanna says about Great turning A revolution is underway because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world. We have the technical knowledge, the communication tools, and material resources to grow enough food, ensure clean air and water, and meet rational energy needs. Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now”. 

During "Active Hope" workshop

Very happy to meet you Joanna...

Joanna Macy with full of positive energy

So ECO-V’s mission towards Eco friendly life style is the key path for more sustainable future on this planet. It was very nice to have a very positive feeling about life after 2 days of “Active Hope” workshop by Joanna Macy whom I have been admiring for past few years but never had the opportunity to meet her before ( I would like to thank Eisenhower fellowships for making all the arrangements to meet her and get that training under her.

Also I would like to invite all who read this blog to take some time to read more about “great Turning” and also to take possible actions to be a part of it.