It is the last day of 2015. Wow.. 2015 has gone very fast but we are very happy at ECO-V as we managed to do so much of work. New developments, new partners, new projects….and many more experiences and achievements.
It’s 2.10 am of 31st December now and I decided to write this blog. Personally for me the year 2015 was started in Bangladesh. I was with BGreen project in Dhaka as a representative of Journeys for Climate justice (JCJ http://www.journeysforclimatejustice.org.au/) in January this year. It was very nice to meet many youth who were trying to combat Climate Change by empowering youth Green leaders. Soon after Bangladesh I had to go to Chennai, India to meet very inspiring group of people who were at “Un-conference”. That was my second experience of unconference after Boston in 2012. My first experience of an unconference was as an Eisenhower fellow which I really liked the idea of having “space” for many people rather than limited people presenting their work at a usual conference. Chennai Unconference was named as Diversion and U-turns and it was a real eye opener for me to understand what we are trying to do with ECO-V. It was the write language for our work. Learning, discussing and understanding about un-learning, un-schooling and Eco-versity was very inspiring and helped me to define ECO-V work better than before. Thanks to Manish Jain, co founder of Swaraj University in Rajasthan, India (https://www.facebook.com/swarajuniversity/) and Nat (https://www.facebook.com/nadarajah.manickam?fref=ts&ref=br_tf) and many others for sharing their stories of unique work in making change.
|Some of the participants at Unconference at Chennai|
ECO-V is indeed is on its way towards so called Eco-versity education system with unconditional passion, love and care for Mother Nature. It is high time for us to announce widely what we are trying to achieve through our work of practicing Deep Ecology, Permaculture, traditional knowledge and practices.
Another eye opening event for me personally was Fukushima exposure visit. Thanks to ICE network (Interreligious Climate and ecology Network - https://www.facebook.com/groups/InterreligiousClimateandEcologyNetwork/?ref=br_tf)
I got the opportunity to be part of the small team who made this exposure visit to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant in April. It was heart breaking yet made me understand how much damage could be done by man- made disasters. It was funny to say it’s a “man made” disaster as the main reason was a Tsunami hit on March 11th 2011 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_Nuclear_Power_Plant ) But the devastation still happening is not just the Tsunami. It was all about Nuclear power and people trying to get rid of radiation.
|Haunted villages in Fukushima|
|High radiation level even after 4 years|
After the exposure visit in Fukushima we had the opportunity to see and learn about Eco temples in Japan who are trying to make a positive impact. It was a better ending in Japan with more positive learning and we all headed to South Korea for the 2nd International conference of ICE Network. Again we had the opportunity to have another exposure visit to Nuclear power plant in South Korea where people are fighting to close it down. Will they be successful??? Nobody knows? ICE conference was all about many like-minded people who are trying to make a positive impact to protect Mother Nature through religious practices or rather with spirituality.
Meeting Yeb Sano (http://mashable.com/2014/12/04/yeb-sano-climate-talks-typhoon/) was another great memory I had from South Korea. I would define Yeb who has “power of 1” (the book written by Sharif Abdulah) who is making a change with individual commitment and courage. He was the key note speaker and was really touched when he said that he was going to walk 1000km to Paris at the end of the year. (By now we all are very happy as he did it).
Participating at Rome convergence was my 4th International tour in 2015. “Una terra Una familia” – A world a family, was the theme of Rome convergence organized by “Green Faith” and “Our voices”. I was so happy to be part of that huge family of spirituality with deferent faith and religious backgrounds Meeting my fellow Buddhists from USA, Vietnam, Nepal, India, South Korea, UK, Japan and some other countries and sharing wisdom with them was so inspiring. We all discussed and communicated one clear message, no matter which faith or spirituality you are into. It was “combatting Climate Change!!!!
Isn’t is fascinating?.
Meeting Yes Sano for the second time in Rome, taking part in the peaceful march while taking a message to Pope Francis and seeing him at St Peter’s Square, participating at mini pilgrimage around city of Rome wih Yeb Sano was highlights of the Roe visit.
|With Yeb sano in Rome|
|At St Peter's square|
As a result of Rome convergence, we managed to run our 3rd journey in Sri Lanka in September. It was the “Kolamba Yathra 2015” (https://youtu.be/N8lwLhWiIVc)and was an interfaith journey for sustainability. This was the Sri Lankan journey to Yes Sano’s People’s pilgrimage took place from Rome to Paris in November (http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2015/06/09/faith-groups-in-peoples-pilgrimage-seek-climate-deal-boost-from-pope/). This was also aimed at initiating a conversation among different faith back grounds within Sri Lanka towards combatting Climate Change. Dr. Stephen Bygrave the CEO of Beyond Zero Emission (web) visited us to join with our 3rd Journey which was targeted at sustainability. Thanks to JCJ for organizing his visit to Sri Lanka and it added great value to Kolamba Yathra. Also this helped us to work jointly with Federation of Environmental Organizations, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Business and Biodiversity forum.
|Kolamba Yathra 2015|
|Some of youth during journey|
Contributing towards translating the Buddhist statement on Climate Change, sharing the video report of Kolamab Yathra for Paris Convergence, were some of our contributions for Global movement towards combatting climate change. UNDP Sri Lanka was highlighted ECO-V‘s contribution towards Environmental conservation through volunteerism on their 60th anniversary. We were one of the partners of celebrating International Volunteer Day of UNV Sri Lanka where we initiated and announced our support towards Sustainable Development goals.
Oh…well…there are many more events which are coming into my mind that we conducted within 2015. Our contribution towards creating awareness on Consumer issues, spreading awareness on Climate change and ecology at Good Market on every Saturday, Developing Eco Garden and getting the Organic certification for its products and slowly developing it as a Eco education center, Initiation scientific research on Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra) in Sri Lanka with the support of Wild Otter India and Conservation Leadership Programme (web) were some of other achievements. Oh…I almost forgot…winning the awards for Environmental Impact” at Annual award ceremony of Good Market was a great appreciation we got for our commitment and passion in serving Mother Nature.
|During field research of Otters in Sri Lanka|
ECO-V has a new office in Colombo. Thanks to Good Market team for sharing their small but beautiful working space with us. We look forward to expand our services through our second station in Colombo city. We have a bigger programme ongoing and give us more hopes for 2016. That is Youth Yathra 2016 which is “Creating Green Leaders for sustainability and combatting Climate Change”. Thanks to US Embassy and American corner Kandy for providing us financial assistance for this programme where we are expanding our services to Jaffna for the first time in ECOV history, also to Matara and Kandy.
Well…I am not going to say “thank you for anybody particularly as there are hundreds of names, organizations coming into my mind who helped us throughout our journey in 2015 but as I always say.. ”Thank you Mother Nature” who is giving us space to work, air to breath, food to eat and water to drink and many more services. ECO-V is always there to do our little help to give you a better life!.
|Happy Butterflies at Eco Garden|