The third edition of Green Conversations, an ongoing event series organised by EFL, was conducted on 21 June 2019 at Hatch CoWorking Space, Colombo 01. This time, the theme was climate change.
Climate change in a broader term refers to significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region or on earth over a significant period of time. Climate change results abnormal variations to the climate which eventually causes extreme weather patterns affecting the livelihood of all people. In recent years, climate change is often used to refer specifically to anthropogenic climate change (also known as global warming). Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of earth’s natural processes.
When climate change results severe droughts, floods and unusually heavy rainfall the extreme conditions naturally affect the livelihood of humans. It is in this timely nature that Green Conversations decided to address the topic, find out how it affect Sri Lanka and meet speakers who work on bringing solutions of climate adaptation.
Green Conversations is a fast-paced event format that brings together established environmentalists, entrepreneurs, academics etc to bring light on pressing environmental issues in Sri Lanka and find solutions together in one platform. The idea was stumbled upon with the intention of networking experts from all backgrounds to find feasible solutions to protecting the environment and inviting all parties to join hands to conserving Sri Lanka’s natural environment. The event series is sponsored by Nations Trust Bank.
The event comprised seven speakers from various backgrounds with different expertise who addressed climate change via their own perspective. Chaturangi Wickramaratne, PhD- Chaturangi heads the Science Division at EFL whose an early environmental scientist keen on finding solutions to balance development needs and environmental conservation. Chaturangi initiated the event this time by giving an overview on climate change, explaining causes and impact and to what extent Sri Lanka if affected by the problem.
One of the clear evidences of climate change is the drastic weather patterns and extreme weather causing so much destruction and damage to the environment and livelihoods. Shiromani Jayawardena, the Deputy Director and Meteorologist at the Department of Meteorology, shared her expertise on the subject followed by her thorough knowledge and years of experience in climate variability.
Captain Samarawickrama is a pioneer member of the Naval Environmental and Marine Conservation Committee since 2014 and has authored over 30 scientific projects. During Green Conversations, Captain Samarawickrama highlighted some of the most effective projects initiated by the Navy as solutions to problems generated by climate change such as replanting corals in Nothern and Eastern seas, mangrove planting to reduce coastal erosion etc.
Chamila Weerathunge from International Labour Organisation who is a National Project Coordinator of the International Labour Organisation addressed what is meant by climate resilience and what measures can be taken to mitigate extreme weather such as floods and droughts as experience by Sri Lanka over the last few years.
Ranga Pallawala- CEO of Janathakshan with extensive technical expertise on Climate Change gave his insight into climate adaptation, to what extent Sri Lanka’s temperatures have risen over the past two decades and what measures, practices can be taken to adapt to climate change in Sri Lanka. Sharika Senanayake, Director of Environmental Sustainability at MAS further added to climate adaptation by elaborating corporate responsibility in mitigating climate change as practiced by MAS and other individual practices one can develop as an environmentally conscious citizen.
Finally, Eric Wikramanayake, Chairperson at EFL, also a renowned Conservation Biologist with over 25 years of experience summarized climate change highlighting why it has converted to a crisis today and why all Sri Lankans must act now adding pressure to those in charge of enforcing policies to take immediate action and to what extent the younger generations can contribute. The event concluded with the poem about climate change recited by Navini Premalal, an undergraduate from the Faculty of Law from the University of Peradeniya.
Green Conversations is an interactive event series organised by EFL and the next event will take place in approximately two months. EFL would sincerely like to thank our sponsor Nations Trust Bank for all the financial support and Pulse who joined the event series as our online media partner!