Friday, 19th December 2014
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Over 500 gather at BC to celebrate World Environment Day

Over 500 people took part in the Word Environment Day celebrations of the British Council, Colombo held at its premises recently.

One of the most popular activities was the paper recycling work, which brought children even from Galle to view the process.

An interactive story time about marine wildlife and protecting the seas was held for children. Joanne Kothalawela conducted an art workshop for children to express their hopes on the environment on posters.

Film screening of environmental documentaries were led by teacher and Green Team member Mark Lerwill, to introduce some of the issues discussed in the public talk held later in the evening.

The newly built library was the venue for three speakers who are active in environmental advocacy in Sri Lanka.

Paul Hilder, the Deputy Country Director, introduced the event by reaffirming the Council's commitment to raising environmental awareness and reminding the audience that although the Word Environment Day is celebrated once a year, environmental concerns should be at the forefront of our thoughts and actions throughout the year.

The disparity between CO2 emissions among nations was highlighted by the first speaker, Sashrika Jayasinghe, who identified the big five; the USA, China, India, Russia and Japan, as the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, it is generally not these countries that feel the adverse effects of climate change, but developing nations such as Sri Lanka.

The theme of this year's Word Environment Day focuses on developing island-states, and Sashrika identified flooding as the major threat to the island's agriculture, food security, coastal areas and marine ecosystems.

Anosha Koralage spoke of ways in which business and industry can be the drivers for sustainable change.

She cited rainwater harvesting at Cinnamon Lakeside and water-saving flush systems used at Dialog and John Keels as examples of innovative thinking, where sustainability is integrated into a business model in Sri Lanka.

A key message was that, 'Nature can't be recycled', and that reduction in what we use and consume is far better than recycling. The audience were then asked by Anoka Abeyrathne to imagine a world in 2100 where the Maldives and large parts of Sri Lanka were just a memory as they had been submerged by rising ocean levels.

Anoka, the co-founder of Grown Money, presented practical ways in which we as individuals can affect change by volunteering, planting trees and shrubs, reusing and sharing products and resources and creating awareness.

She also announced the re-launch of the children's book 'An Islanders Guide to Climate Change'.