Thursday, May 12, 2016

Leaders Vs. Green there a difference....??? 

The year 2016 started with new hopes. We all at ECO-V knew that its the 15th Anniversary of ECO-V. We do not have any special plans to celebrate 15th anniversary. But we knew its going to be a very busy year with a project that we all were waiting for and also had very positive hopes in getting another grant for a long term commitment. So today I am writing this blog with a satisfaction for achieving both goals (up to certain level) those we had at the beginning of the year. 

The "Youth Yathra 2016" is the project we started in 2015 with the financial support of American Center Sri Lanka. It was very nice way of getting a grant as they supported us just because of our track records in doing something innovative and productive. Thanks to our previous Yathras  (Special thank to Journeys for Climate Justice ( we had so we maintained good records. 

This time the aim was conducting 3 yathras (journeys) in 3 districts - Jaffna, Kandy and Matara. The idea was training "Green" leaders in 3 different districts of Sri Lanka and bridge them to make a bigger impact to combat Climate Change issues. I still don't know whether we will achieve it 100% or not. Will see by December this you all have to wait till then.

As a trainer, facilitator, I read a lot. My passion in creating Green Leaders has become my life now. Its really amazing to live on it and practice it. The commitment to practice Green lifestyle is not very easy under the normal/ordinary social structures. When supplies are not enough to fulfill my demands to live on this subject such as organic food is expensive and not available everywhere..., food wrappers are not eco friendly..., energy I am getting from National Grid is not clean...,etc. But at least much more you can do on your own such as saying NO to unwanted wrappers even they are eco friendly, say no to plastic and polythene, drink water but not fizzy drinks, try to eat all natural food rather than processed and unhealthy food, buy local, travel by public transport or walk and cycle, grow what ever you can, plant more goodness the list is getting longer.....So becoming a Green practitioner is not that difficult. Only thing is you need to have urge. 

But then transferring that change into the society is challenging...because not all are thinking in the same line as we think about "Great Turning" 

Anyway Creating Green Leader through Yathras is our small effort in making a bigger impact. We started with Jaffna (the area that I was dreaming to start working soon after the war ended). Finding people for environmental related training (even though its free) was challenging and still we have only 25 people though the target is 40. Most of they say, what is the use of learning about it? Can we get a job? No time....hmmm...what can I say...But the people who joined with us experience the importance of the training. That's enough at the moment. 
usual indoor class room sessions

During 4 months of training sessions, I saw Jaffna participants changing....very slowly...towards positive thinking, team building, more importantly changing their thinking more green and heart felt feeling for Mother Nature. It was not easy to conduct the sessions in Jaffna, my thinking in Sinhala, speaking in English, then translating it to Tamil by a friend from Jaffna were all key practical challenges for effective communication. All initial sessions were held indoors which I hate. But we had to do that as we were using American corner facilities to teach them. 
The best class room....on Mother Nature
Can we work as a team?
Problem a team...its fun...
Think about Mother crative

Trying to protect an ant nest which is among grass....

Newton taking leadership...he is the only previously trained Yathree from North...

At last we found the best place for teaching...Out doors!!!! Wow....I realized the magic...magic of Mother Nature... it was much easier to convey my message of the big difference between a Leader and a Green leader....Indeed its different..Green leader must have all leadership qualities but most importantly the main quality is the "heart felt connection with Mother Nature"...of course that was not just a sentence...its a whole theory. So we managed to introduce the theory to the  participants from the capital of North of Sri Lanka! Let's see how we can start putting it to practicals....
The best shot of the day...they all are one team now and ready for tomorrow....

Wow....this is May...5 months were gone from year 2016. I just realized it was too bad as I could not write a single blog for this year. In fact there are about 4 blogs waiting in my email inbox written by various volunteers. Some are Chinese and some are locals. I never had a time to post them. So I must find some time to post them eventually. Anyway I decided to post Chamali's blog that she wrote very recently. She is very new to ECO-V and the coordinator of our new project "Conscious Consumerism towards sustainable life style and combating climate change" She joined with ECO-V from March 2016 - Kanchana

Chamali writes....

I am Chamali recently joined with ECO-V team as the coordinator to a new project named conscious consumerism towards sustainable life style. When I first came for the interview,  I thought this is the right place for me, because I am a nature lover and I want to work with Mother Nature since I passed out from the University.  So I am grateful to Ms. Kanchana for giving me this opportunity. The project that I have to coordinate is funded by Diakonia, a Swedish organization working in Sri Lanka. The awareness on consumer issues among Sri Lankan consumers is very limited. So this project mainly focused on sensitizing 5 main stakeholder groups (Youth, children, Women, Teachers and Farmers) at Kandy, Jaffna, Colombo and Galle districts on food safety and sustainable life style to combat Climate Change.