“Responsible Actions”, “Scientific Thinking” and “Partnerships to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change”…. These are some phrases from my loot bag of thoughts taken away from the World Congress of Environmental Journalists organized by the Asia Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists in Colombo. The theme of this Congress was “Educate to End Climate Poverty” – Copenhagen Summit and Beyond…..
So what does this really mean to me? I learnt that I am much to be blamed for these changes that are taking place in the climate than any other person, organization or country that is blamed for contributing to this change whether deliberate or not. I felt that all participants in the forum learnt that when they point one finger at someone or a group to blame, they are actually pointing three fingers in the direction of his or herself. I learnt that it’s time to STOP BLAMING and START ACTING.
Dr. Sarath Kotagama, introduced as the Public Face of Conservation in Sri Lanka quoting Albert Einstein said “Problems cannot be solved within the mindsets that created them”. He also explained that the time is now too late to tell people what to do or what not to do. Instead as communicators and media persons, we need to show the way forward and be responsible in all our actions whether it be personal or professional.
Reflecting personally, to what extent do we try to keep up to the Jones’ and get caught in a rat race that does not ultimately bring us happiness? Do we help our children to realize their potential on their own or do we try to realize our own missed opportunities through them pushing them to become mechanical human beings rather than human beings sensitive to their natural, physical and social environments?
To me, a mother of a four year old, this indeed is a thought to ponder. I am guilty of comparing my daughter’s progress academically with that of her peer group, not realizing or understanding better the learning process that actually takes place. My daughter attends a school that has as its motto “Helping me to do it myself”… this pre-school does not pressurize the children to progress academically and it does not encourage competitive events such as sports meets, concerts etc… in the early years of education, unlike most pre-schools in Sri Lanka today. Instead, it teaches the child to think and act by observing others and exploring concepts through specialized equipment as well as the natural environment. The teachers in this school don’t “teach” they facilitate the learning process.
Listening to Dr. Kotagama, I resolved to facilitate my child’s learning as a parent. I would also want my child to grow up to be a responsible citizen and tell a forum one day, the same way Dr. Kotagama proudly said “I am what I am but not something that someone wanted me to be”.
The message I took away from this forum is CHANGE through RESPONSIBLE ACTIONS. We cannot do big things to mitigate Climate Change now. But we can adapt by making a change in our lifestyles, which would ultimately mitigate Climate Change in a small way. If people work towards this individually and in groups to make this change in lifestyle in their own little way, then we could go to our graves satisfied that we have done our little part to save the planet earth or what is left of it for our children.