Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kolamba yathra

I know its not fair to have such a long silence. Since we became active in face book ( I rarely had time to write a blog. So today I am posting about our new yathra - Kolamba yathra 2015.
The logo designed by Dulshan who is our IT volunteer since 2003

The Kolamba Yathra for Climate Change is the 3rd Yathra of Eco Friendly Volunteers (ECO-V). Previously, ECO-V has conducted two other Climate Yathras: the KelaniNadee Yathra - a river journey for climate justice (2011), and Paapedi, a bicycle journey for climate justice (2013). The Kolamba Yathra takes place on 19th September 2015, with support from Journeys for Climate Justice (JCJ) Australia, Federation of Environmental Organizations (FEO), the Good Market, Foundation of Goodness and IUCN Sri Lanka.
The Kolamba Yathra: An Interfaith Journey for Sustainability is a one-day program with at least 100 youth of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds walking around the city of Colombo-- the commercial capital of Sri Lanka-- to create awareness on Climate Change.
The youth who are taking part in Yathras gain exposure to ‘green activities,’ serving as a gateway to personal and community behavioral change, while establishing groundwork and support for them to become ‘Green Youth Leaders.’ After participating in the Yathra, these engaged youthwill have an opportunity to conduct their own ‘green project’to combat climate changewithin their own communities, through the facilitation and support of ECO-V.
1.      The main objective of this Yathra is to raise awareness of climate change issues across the Colombo public, to engage religious and political leadership on climate change action, and most particularly to engage youth in modeling and action for eco-friendly, sustainable methods, climate change education and adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity restoration and conservation efforts.
2.      It is intended to support the global event, the “People’s Pilgrimage” which is gathering a global ‘critical mass’ of grassroots and spiritual leaders in an interlinked global ‘climate Yathra’ or pilgrimage, collecting climate stories, and gathering local voices and messaging to bring to the global leaders at the pinnacle inter-governmental climate talks, COP 21, in Paris this November and December2015. This is undertaken in concert with the Pan-Asian ICE Network, the African ‘We Have Faith’ climate caravan, and the Our Voices platform.

Methods and Strategies
ECO-V calls for youth participation through social media, print and electronic media and through various other environmental networks and their platforms.  100 youth at minimum, representing Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, are expected to participate. All Yathrees (the youth who will walk in the Yathra) will visit a selected religious institute from above the mentioned religions during the Yathra day along a pre-planned route. They will discuss respective practices and perspectives (including their own) on climate change and sustainability.
Once the 100 youth Yathrees are selected, all will be briefed regarding the Kolamba Yathra route within Colombo city, along with the education and awareness-raising activities planned for the general public. From start to finish, the entire event will be environmentally friendly, and all youth will be trained on such eco-friendly organizing and eco-friendly lifestyles in general. Youth volunteers will make props, banners and other material for raising awareness before the date and will be thoroughly prepared for the event.
The Kolamba Yathra starts off at 9am on 19th September from the Good Market Racecourse, and loops back around to the Good Market by 2pm. Participants will then prepare for a 4 pm public event open to all, featuring Dr. Stephen Bygrave, the CEO of the Australian Beyond Zero Emissions, several Sri Lankan governmental ministers, a diverse representation of Sri Lankan faith leaders, and children of the Colombo community. This public event will take place by the car park of the Colombo Racecourse where the Good Market open-air event is held.
We invite the Sri Lankan corporate sector, NGOs and INGOs, government and inter-governmental agencies to join with us in these collaborative efforts, through contributions of funds, in-kind donations, time,and energy and in-person participation in this Climate Yathra journey.  Climate change brings with it an urgent call to action, and we need everyone, from all walks of life, to come and join together in solidarity for climate justice.  Through education, outreach and action, we can strive to care for and protect all beings on this beautiful blue planet.

Expected and Planned Outcomes
1.      The walk (Yathra) will raise public awareness on climate change issues.
2.      Messaging will be broadcast Island-wide and globally through media.
3.      Enlisted social media will help to spread the message more broadly.
4.      A large photograph of the Kolamba Yathra participants, youth leaders, faith leaders, special guests and children of Colombo will be taken. This photo will include sign boards with key messages from Sri Lanka, to be taken at this occasion, to support and contribute towards Pan-Asian messaging at the COP 21 Climate Talks in Paris. 
5.      Youth who participate in the Yathra will learn more about Climate Change, and (inter-) faith-based actions towards sustainability and ecologicallyfriendly initiatives.
6.      Youth will work further with faith-based groups to strengthen and enhance their sustainability initiatives such as building eco-friendly religious institutions as a part of a community youth initiative (within 2 years).
7.      A video report and written report will communicate the Sri Lankan experience, concerns and messages regarding climate change, to be shared nationally, regionally and across global platforms.

Organizers and Partners
1.       Eco friendly Volunteers (ECO-V)
2.       Journeys for Climate Justice (JCJ) Australia
3.       Federation of Environmental Organizations (FEO)
4.       Good Market, Sri Lanka
5.       IUCN Sri
6.       Sarvodaya Movement
7.       Foundation of Goodness
8.       Center for environmental Justice
9.       Global Eco-Village Network, Sri Lanka
10.    Undertaken with peripheral support and engagement from the ICE Network

11.    People’s Pilgrimage and Our Voices We Have Faith -or-, and The Green Faith Network: