Monday, June 6, 2016

It's our Home, so let's take good care of it

Yesterday was World Environment Day, 5 June 2016. It even has its own website, which states that it "is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment."

I posted this picture to the Adventures in a Tuk-tuk Facebook page

It was one of many posts across social media highlighting awareness and action to protect our environment.

It got me thinking about the environment and what that actually means. Well, the blog post title gives you a big clue about what I think. And that is, it's our home.

I am inspired by all the actions that people all around the globe took to raise awareness of the challenges facing our environment or home, and all the precious time and effort that contributed to cleaning, safeguarding and protecting our habitat in both urban and wildness areas.

There are a myriad of environmental issues on this teardrop island of Sri Lanka that need to be highlighted and action taken to preserve and protect. These include things like deforestation, soil erosion, urbanization and poor urban planning, increasing urban pollution, poor waste management, industrial waste pollution, poaching in national parks, agricultural use of toxic chemicals, environmental un-friendly tourism, animal cruelty and more.

It's easy to turn a blind-eye and just go on with life as it is, but, the pressures we place on our environment are ever-increasing and you only have to consider the increasing rate of natural disasters in Sri Lanka to know that something needs to be done.

According to a report by the World Food Programme in October 2015, "Sri Lanka has been facing a cycle of extreme weather events for the last decade. Much of the risk is from floods and drought linked to erratic rain patterns. In just the last five years, Sri Lanka has experienced four major floods (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016), and three major droughts (2012, 2013 and 2014)."

Let me quickly say, I'm no expert on the environment. Nor am I an expert on the Sri Lankan environmental landscape. Most of what I know is from media sources, published reports and from speaking with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. But, I am a resident on the island and I do care about my home.

So this is what I'm going to do about my home. Not just on World Environmental Day, but every day.
  • I will put out any household rubbish in a safe and clean manner for it to be picked up by my errant rubbish collectors (i.e. no rubbish dumping on the side of the road)
  • I will recycle (i.e. I will have to drive my recycling to the bins, if I can locate them, because Sri Lanka doesn't have a household rubbish collection mechanism for recycling yet)
  • If I see rubbish or litter when I am out, I will pick it up and put it in a bin or take it to a bin
  • I will put my money where my mouth is and choose wisely when it comes to places I visit and business I engage with (i.e. if there's a place that is un-friendly towards the environment or promotes animal cruelty or a business that operates in an unsustainable manner towards the environment, then I'm not going to show any interest by visiting and I'm not going to give you my hard-earned money. In fact, I may just boycott you publicly)
  • I will use public transport most of the time (i.e buses, trains and whatever else the Megapolis Project for Western Province comes up with in the future), instead of my car, to reduce my carbon footprint and traffic congestion
  • I will endeavor to use less plastic (i.e. I will take cloth or environmentally-friendly bags when I go to pola or the supermarket; I will take my travel flask when I buy kenda or a drink; I will opt for the environmentally friendly option when shopping or consuming, where possible)
  • I will continue to compost uncooked food waste and compost friendly non-food items (i.e. this effectively recycles uncooked food and other waste for use in the garden, and reduces my overall household rubbish to be collected)
  • When I travel around Sri Lanka and abroad I will carry forward the same intentions and actions as I would at home
There are more actions to add to the above list, but these are a few to kick it all off. Some I have been doing already. This just makes the commitment more solid.

Every person makes a difference.

I believe that.

And I believe that if you set a good example there is going to be a ripple effect. Sooner or later your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and the rest of the community will jump of the bandwagon.

At the end of the day, it's our home, so let's each do our part and take good care of it.

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