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Act Responsibly to Save Our Children’s Planet

Dilinika Peiris's picture

“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.

Comments

Submitted by Joanna Kane-Potaka on
What a great contribution. We do have to change OUR mindset and lifestyle. This needs worldwide momentum. The Slow Food movement started in Italy is along these lines and should be extended.

Submitted by Mayuri on
Any good concept should ends up in a favourable action by human beings. Climate change indeed a popular topic theses days since we "feel" it stronger nowadays than ever beofre. It doesn't need much of an effort to make a big difference. Just do it right conciously. What we and do then? Just plant a tree on the birthday of yours and all your loved ones! stop running your a/c unless absolutely needed! admire the mother nature, but not spoil it!. our own acts today will be the tomorrow's vision of oue kids!

Submitted by Vinod Moonesinghe on
Sri Lanka's contribution to global warming must be about 0.01%. If everybody in Sri Lanka started using the least amount of resources used by a person in the USA, we would start making a rather larger contribution to heating our planet. If we are to act responsibly, we should be getting together with other third world countries and forcing First World resource-wasters to STOP.

Submitted by Priyan on
Well written Dilinika, and agree with all of your comments in relation to getting caught up in the rat race. However, it's important to look at climate change objectively without getting caught up in the hyperbole created by alarmists. The climate has been changing over time, over hundreds and thousands of years, through a natural evolution process. The issue is whether human actions have actually had a major impact on global warming and the evidence isn't conclusive, despite what we hear. Over the past 8 years, the global climate has actually cooled rather than warmed and the rate of increase in sea levels have reduced. Air pollution and excessive use of natural resources are a reality across the world - and it's this that global organisations and governments should attempt to control. Lets pressure these institutions to find alternative and cleaner sources of power/ fuel, and have effective measures in place to monitor usage, irrespective of a country being first or third world. At the end of the day, we are all part of the same 'world', and it's incumbent on us to ensure finite resources are used effectively.

Submitted by Melanie Kanaka on
A strong and clear message - thoughful insights that truly help us reflect that ... "We should live simply so that others (our future generations) may simply live." The responsibility is ours, friends so let the savings of earth's resource begin with "ME" at home with each one of us. The oceans and seas are indeed made with little drops of water - so what seems like each of our individual droplets of contributions can undoubtedly make the change we are loking for. Thanks Dilinika for spurring our thought.

Submitted by Dilinika on
Thank you all for your contributions and resolutions. Climate Change has become a buzz phrase today and I do agree that there are a lot of perceptions out there. At the same time I totally agree that we need to look at the issue objectively and take on the responsibility of informing ourselves on the science of climate change and how our individual actions, however small and seemingly insignificant they may be can have an adverse effect on the environment. We all need to resolve to be sensitive to the issue and sensitize the next generation in our own little ways.

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