ECO-V is 20 years!! Can you all believe it? We started ECO-V on the 7th of February 2001. It was a very small meeting with my university friends; Sujani, Lal, Harsha and some of Thushara’s friends and my family members. We launched it officially as a ...
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  1. Celebrating 20 years of ECO-V - A personal note from the Founder
  2. Sustainable Resource Management by following 10R
  3. When Nature wanted to keep us inside our homes…..need to find a way connect with Nature and continue the business as usual...
  4. Covid-19, Lock Down and Rajesthan India.
  5. Updates about My activities just before Global lock down due to Pandemic.
  6. More Recent Articles

Celebrating 20 years of ECO-V - A personal note from the Founder

 

ECO-V is 20 years!! Can you all believe it? We started ECO-V on the 7th of February 2001. It was a very small meeting with my university friends; Sujani, Lal, Harsha and some of Thushara’s friends and my family members. We launched it officially as a new organization and then started working as a team. The first office was at the living room of our one-bedroom apartment in Moratuwa. I was 1 month pregnant with our first son Buhusuru, so ECO-V was our first child officially. We started working after winning the Rufford small grant from Whitley Fund for Nature (https://whitleyaward.org/). All happened just because I met Edward Whitley from WFN at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Conservation leadership programme (https://www.conservationleadershipprogramme.org/) held at Natural History Museum in London in April 2000! It was like yesterday when Edward came to our table and had a chat with me during a small break while compering at the award ceremony.

 


At the award ceremony of WFN 



Our first working team, Harsha,Sujani,Sudharshi,Samanmalee and Lal

Being thankful!...

I should be very thankful to Catherine Gotto the Manager of CLP at that time for inviting me as the Mistress of Ceremonies to the event. If not, how could I meet Edward who suggested I should start an organisation while having a meeting at his home the next day? Also, I should be thankful to Cambridge 97 project team members - my dear friends Jules, Claire, Cathy and Chris who came to Sri Lanka after winning a grant from CLP in 1997. They were my mentors during the 3 months project around Sinharaja rain forest and later they supported me to attend Durrell Conservation academy in 1999 (https://training.durrell.org/). 

Meeting Claire and Jules in the UK, after 15 years of Sinharaja 97' 


Meeting Cathy in London during the visit in 2012

Me at Durrell in 2012 during a revisit. 


Going further back I should be in debt to my dear teacher/mentor Prof. Sarath Kotagama for selecting me to Sinharaja 97’ project as one of the Sri Lankan counterparts. All these people behind me were always remembered along with the ECO-V life story. Adding more to the story I should be remembering my dear father, Punchi Banda Weerakoon, my uncle Dr. A.T Ariyaratne and late Mr. K.D.R.N Wijesinghe the director of National Zoological garden who gave me advice, guidance and helped to select the honest and clear path in establishing the organization legally. How should I not be thankful to my loving husband Thushara for encouraging me to start the organization after Edward suggested but me having doubts about my capacity?

 

Positive impact….

When I travelled through the memories while clicking on photographs in hundreds of folders in my external drive, I really can’t believe how much work we had done.  So many projects, so many activities took place within these 20 years. Numbers are not important to us but all stories we hear from people who have been following us, how they have made positive behavioral changes within themselves, individually and at family level, at working places and in the communities are the most important to us. We never had a permanent donor; we were depending on small grants, or some organizations who supported us short term. We never had a proper office like other organizations, it was only a dedicated area on a floor at our home (only twice we went out for a year but it was not the best environment for us). The team members were a family to us. My two kids grew up while watching our work. How we made plans for sustainable events attending to all minor details about minimizing our carbon footprint during such events, focusing on zero waste events or projects focusing its sustainability and long-term positive impacts, where our waste would end up and quality of work rather than numbers of attendees. In the early days Harsha and Lal helped me to carry my kids when we travelled to the field to do our work even during civil conflict in Sri Lanka. Kids were always around me when we had monthly “Thiresi” meetings for members. 

Kids enjoying water during our Leaf Monkey project

Lal carrying Nipuna during Pelican conservation work while Bandara helping Buhusuru

Today, I see the results of bringing up two boys in a very eco-friendly manner, when I see their leadership qualities in school or university clubs, their thinking on current issues, and their essays they write for university entrance applications or even for TED talks. One common comment I get from both of them is “Mother, thank you for making us feel guilty about what we want to do for fun!!!” Yes...it is very sarcastic comment but, I know that means they are thinking not only twice about their acts but many times before they want to get involved. Which is for me simply “conscious consumerism or eco-friendly thinking” what we have been preaching over 20 years. It is the behavioural change that we wanted to bring among individuals. Many past and current members of ECO-V must have got that thinking but for sure I know at least I have mentored two children where I see positive impact on Mother Nature! Of course, I can add my husband and myself into that list of people who changed positively via ECO-V activities. Whoever comes forward and says “I changed my one little behavior following ECO-V’s work will be an added bonus to our list of success stories!! This may sound like bragging about ECO-V, but to be honest, I know there are many like that as I have heard that comment so many times within these 20 years. We had beautiful time together learning and experiencing Nature during "Thiresi Charika" and monthly "Thiresi Meetings". 

 



Volunteers and my two boys experiencing a "Environmental Meditation" session during a "Thiresi Charika" 



During a monthly members meeting at our home - "Thiresi" meeting 


Bu and Nipu with me listening to our discussions of Nature during monthly "Thiresi" meetings 

Failures and challenges...

During these past 20 years, only one project ended up without a sustainability that was the Bellanwila-Attidiya sanctuary conservation work. It was due to government laws related to conservation status and then another project on Otters had to stop soon after we implemented as we could not secure funding. We regretted those two but all other projects ended up with very positive outcomes. Keeping and maintaining staff was always a challenge as we could not secure their jobs beyond the project period since we did not have permanent funding sources. So, nobody stayed with us beyond 3-4 years. We take it positively as we were able to train youngsters to do work faithfully and productively and also bring the behavioral change to themselves within the short period of work with us. Even today all my past staff members communicate, admire our days together and tell us how much change brought into their lives and many are still volunteering to us. Some have started their own organizations or movements. Isn't it great?? 

At our home based office, even team has to play with cats! 

Team meeting at home based office for Leaf monkey project team  



Planning team of Paapedi 2013 at our home based office 


Not a professional office but of course a skillful team - Team Paapedi 2013

I live outside of Sri Lanka now with my family but still ECO-V activities are taking place. Office is based at our home in Sri Lanka on an entire dedicated floor for office. There are no big projects currently but with activities with high positive impacts with services. Those services are not only for humans but also for other living beings! We don’t have huge grants but we have well-wishes who are supporting us in small ways (personally or as organizations) but just enough for us to bring the positive change. We still function as a voluntary organization, just like when we started and we will be, as our aim is to let people understand money is not everything. Just like Mother Earth giving her services to her children, we too try to give our services back to her and her children! 

Lessons learnt…

I am 20 years older than when I started ECO-V. When I look back, I have no regrets, but a huge satisfaction for being able to do so much voluntary work (Thanks to my husband, I never had a need to earn to feed my children). I might have done a little bit well in the finances side and found a big donor for ECO-V to do more work but….that was my capacity and may be this is what I was destined to do. Therefore, I take it as a positive karma!

Global impact…

With the experience gained through building up ECO-V, I managed to co-found Journeys for Climate Justice in Australia (https://www.journeysforclimatejustice.org.au/), and Edible Routes Foundation in India (https://www.facebook.com/edibleroutesfoundation/). I enjoy work at International level through these organisations and many networks that we work together to bring up positive change to the world of conservation.

  

My interpretation….

Well for me, I was born to this world to do this service mostly as a volunteer. May be making money is not my destiny during this birth but the service to all living beings is what I have to do which I am happy about. As a founder of an organization this may be a failure. But I am not regretting as I have understood myself and anyway we have done our best to protect Mother Nature and will be doing it with money or without money. We used to make cloth tote bags and eco friendly greeting cards and sell them to raise funds and we still do such activities as raising funds vis such activities are very helpful for us to get developed our skills. 

Me painting the cloth tote bags to sell and raise funds. 

ECO-V is like a beautiful river still flowing 20 years! Sometimes splashing water, sometimes meandering, facing boulders steadily,   slowing down around deep puddles, running when needed flow silently along the valleys. Creating beautiful water falls down the hills and carrying and planting the seeds along its banks. Small streams keep giving water on the way so it will not get dried. That's just enough to see ECO-V as a river. It is there to drink water, take a bath, use for growing plants or just listen to the sound and enjoy but never stoppable by a dam because we will flow over the dam nourishing more lands helping more beings until it meets the great ocean.  Don’t know when. Until then May you all see it as a beautiful river and enjoy it!!

 













    

Sustainable Resource Management by following 10R

Waste is one of the main topics in the world! As an organization campaigning for sustainable Resource management and zero waste lifestyle for last 20 years, I wrote this article few years ago and modified again very recently with more details. 

 

Hope one can learn something out of this. I heard about 10R in waste Management when I was in Melbourne in 2010 and since then we at ECO-V adopted the method by modifying it in our own way. We always talk about "conscious consumerism and waste" together as waste is not a waste but it is a resource. 


Everybody knows about the 3R’s in Waste Management. I believe that simply following the guidelines of the 3R’s is not sufficient action to manage our global waste sustainably. I offer here a different perspective on waste management. We must stop generating further waste in order to get the issue down to a manageable scale. Human beings are the only living animal on this plant who generates waste. This is a self-created problem. Therefore, the solution must also be created by humans. I believe the only viable solution is a “zero waste” lifestyle (or to at least achieve 99% waste free). To enable us to lead a zero-waste lifestyle, we must follow the 10-R method. In other words, “consuming consciously or Conscious Consumerism”.  There is no such thing as “waste” unless we humans generate or create wasteful products. Therefore, what we are managing is “Resources”; once you manage resources wisely then there will be no waste products left. Let us see how we can manage resources sustainably.

 

Follow the 10Rmethod to become a conscious consumer and zero waste generator!! It’s very simple, once you get the hang of it!

1.      Reject– Always buy only what you NEED. Reject unhealthy, unsuitable, unethical goods. Don’t buy more than what you need even if it’s cheap or on sale. This way you are saving resources for others who need to buy and also bringing less waste into your home. Moreover, it saves you money. Soon you will have created a list of permanently rejected items from your life. Some of such items that I have rejected in my life are: any kind of carbonated and sugary beverages, single use plastic or polyethene, artificially made or processed food like instant noodles and soup cubes, snacks, many varieties of biscuits, plastic straws, and tobacco. Rejecting these sorts of items has also helped our family to maintain healthy food habits, and has taught my two young sons how to eat healthier and eliminate waste from their lives. I have also rejected the purchase of any chemical detergents for cleaning and laundry. This way I know I am not polluting my home environment.

 

2.      Refuse– Say no to plastic bags always…be brave enough to Refuse on the spot. This R is bit more flexible than Rejecting. Depending on the occasion you might need to take some of the items you want. For example, if you are really thirsty and you have forgotten your reusable water bottle you may need to buy a bottles water from a shop. Then you may buy it but the bottle will be given for recycling. Therefore, you must be conscious about your choices.  This means you might buy or take items only when they are absolutely needed. Some items I have refused personally are paper bags, cloth bags, any wrappers including cardboard boxes, paper straws, milk packets, yoghurt, ice-cream, makeup, perfumes and even take-away food, online purchases etc. So, I will buy them only if I know how to manage the left-over waste that comes with the item. Otherwise, I will not buy or accept them.

 

3.      Reduce– think twice and reduce consumerism. When you practice the above-mentioned two “R”s you are automatically reducing loads of waste and also saving many resources. Still, you can reduce using paper, cloth, shoes, clothing, handbags, jewelry, perfumes. Always try to avoid using wrappers when you give a gift item. If absolutely necessary then use a compostable paper wrapper or a reusable wrapping like a muslin bag. Be aware that many trees are cut down to make paper; we are losing vast amounts of forest land because of paper production and agriculture.  Use less detergent, shampoo or soap and strive to completely eliminate all chemical products. You have plenty of natural alternatives now. Also, and importantly, be aware of the amount of food you consume daily. Wasted food feels like a crime to me. We must pay respect to our farmers by avoiding food waste. Also, we must be aware of how many resources, such as time, water, manure, and land, went into growing our food. Food wastes in landfills create methane gasses and are contributing to climate change. Each of us are obliged to consume a healthier, smaller quantity of food and to purchase food that has been grown through sustainable agricultural methods. Another resource we should treat with greater respect is water. Be conscious about how much water you are using when you bathe. Reducing water usage is an important step in the 10-R’s, especially as the planet is experiencing droughts and water shortages globally. In this same vein, we must reduce our global consumption of electricity and other sources of energy, fuels, etc. through frugal personal energy consumption.

 

4.      Reuse– Use a cloth bag and reuse hundreds of times. Even paper bags or plastic bags can be reused multiple times. Use reusable cutlery, crockery, or wrappers. When somebody gives you, a present wrapped in wrapping paper, remove it carefully and save for reuse later. This applies to bubble wrap, brown paper, commercially-made wrapping paper and other packaging. Before you buy an item, think twice about whether you can reuse it or not. Always reuse and upcycle whenever possible. When up-cycling, you should remember to upcycle something with no waste generated or whatever waste generated is recyclable. In the meantime, do not up-cycle an item where the end product is going to be waste.  For example, people like to upcycle plastic bottles (PET bottles) into growing/planting containers. When they cut them to make a planting container, loads of micro plastics are released into the environment and these small pieces of plastic are not recycled. Furthermore, the upcycled plastic growing container is then filled with soil and, over the growing period, this plastic breaks down into smaller, now contaminated pieces which are no longer recyclable and becomes a waste product that will not break down for thousands of years. It would have been better to return that water bottle for recycling when not contaminated, and even better to not purchase it in the first place. You can use other types of garden containers (even plastic pots) which are designed for growing plants and are durable so that you get years of use out of them before they become waste.  Never reuse plastic PET bottles for storage of food or liquid as they might be releasing Bisphenol- A (BPA) chemical over the time. In plastics, only type 4 (LDPE) 5 (PP) and 7(other) are meant to reuse for food and liquid.

 

5.      Repair– rather than simply discarding damaged bags, cloths, shoes, furniture, tools and other utensils, seek to repair them.  If something is broken, be creative and see if there is another way to use it if it can’t be repaired. This way you will be saving money and reducing the energy used for recycling.

 

6.      Replace– replace parts rather than buying new. Before you purchase anything new, always think about whether those items are reparable or replaceable. For example, if you buy plastic furniture, you will end up having to recycle when broken. Wooden and metal furniture has several other options when broken such as repair, replace reuse, and recycling.

 

7.      Recycle– always separate your waste and submit for recycling as almost everything, except for a few types of polythene, plastics and hazardous wastes, is recyclable. However, recycling is not always the best action; recycling requires a large amount of resources like energy and water and emits pollutants into the environment. Some areas accept recycling but don’t have the resources to actually recycle and so these items end up in the landfill. Hence, we must consider reducing recycling too. For example, you may feel that it is fine to use paper wrappers as they are compostable or recyclable. But never think that way.  Always be conscious about the original resources that went into making these items, and the resources that will be required to recycle them. If you use more recyclable items, and find yourself with large amounts of recycling, that means you are wasting natural resources.

 

 

8.      Rethink– You must think over and over again about how much you are consuming. Rethink your choices and choose Nature-friendly innovations. Be mindful about all positive action by practicing the above “R”s. Even though you may avoid many wastes coming into your home, you may still have some items that you can’t prevent from entering your life or home. So, the best solution to Rethink is having your own ECOBRICK. It’s the best solution you have at the moment to go towards a zero-waste lifestyle. I will give you one example. As I said, I have rejected buying unwanted items, but occasionally I buy a dress. The dress has a price tag, brand tag and sometimes many plastic labels. So, when I purchase my cotton dress all these tags are coming along with it. I cannot reject them and drop them at the shop. It would be a very extreme act too and I would lose the opportunity of exchanging it later if there is an issue. Even if I were able to leave the tags at the shop, they will be thrown into a waste bin at the shop.  Therefore, the end result is trash going into a landfill (nobody recycles such tiny tags). Trash often ends up in the ocean where it is responsible for killing many ocean creatures and ultimately ends up in our bodies where it can cause hormonal imbalances and cancers. What I believe is, if I purchase an item whatever labels, tags coming along with that product is my responsibility. So, I have decided that the best option is to bring the dress home with its tags, remove them carefully and collect all the tiny pieces and insert them into an ECOBRICK. By taking this small action you keep in mind all living beings, and rethink your own waste generation.

 

9.      Remember– to consume consciously, remember to take your own reusable bag, refillable water bottle, and reusable cutlery set when you go away from home. Always remember to keep extra bags or containers with you and in your vehicle, and remember to tell others of your good actions as inspiration for how they too can become more eco-friendly. By following the 10R’s and telling others about them, you will create many positive ripples in society. Remember to walk and talk your beliefs. If you forget today, be sure to remember right away and take action Now. We may not have time tomorrow.”

 

10.  Repeat– repeat all above actions every day in your life. Make it a habit like breathing in and breathing out. Make the 10R’s a beautiful song that you sing every day! Healthy consumerism, Healthy life and Healthy Planet with no waste!!!! The Planet will thank you by healing and thriving. For truly, we cannot thrive if the planet dies. This, then, should be our walking meditation from the time our eyes open until we close them at night: If not me, then who? If not now, when? 

 

Concept adopted and modified by Kanchana Weerakoon

Founder President of Eco Friendly Volunteers (ECO-V)  

www.eco-v.org

kanchanawr@gmail.com


    

When Nature wanted to keep us inside our homes…..need to find a way connect with Nature and continue the business as usual...

It’s been almost a year since I did my last training session inside a room with an audience which had a physical presence. It was February 2020 and I was running really great training sessions in Myanmar and in Sri Lanka. Since then, I could not run such programmes till today. I really miss such and I know all my colleagues must be feeling the same way.

 

Now it’s 2021 and I don't know what will happen next month as such uncertainty is in front of us. People say once you have the vaccine you will be free to move like before but who knows what kind of virus will meet us next??? Anyway...other than the whole virus-related negative experiences such as people getting sick and listening to the increasing number of death toll there were so many positive things happening during the past 11 months. I am sure you were aware of many such positive moments.

Among many positive moments and happenings in my life, one good thing is that I started teaching online!!! I was a person who did not like or enjoy much online work. I always had issues with technology and was preaching to use it consciously. Don’t worry, I still say that.  Somehow, I changed a little bit and started enjoying the technology for some useful work. So I started connecting with Nature while connecting with technology…..




Well....I had to think how to do such because I was conducting “connecting with Nature” sessions while taking a bunch of kids or adults to a park or a wetland or to a forest and letting them touch, hug or smell the trees, flowers or plants and watch animals very patiently. So how could I do such via technology was a bit challenging. When I did some kids workshops last year...I brought “Nature” into my home. Had to do this in many ways without damaging Nature. So, I made videos in the park (soon after the initial lockdown was eased out in June).

Buhusuru helping me on technical stuff 





Brought fallen leaves and flowers, plants in the pots into my living room which became the training venue for “connecting with Nature”. Did some art and craft sessions for kids. Collected soil, twigs, plastic wrappers, polythene...all sort of so-called waste to run sessions on sustainable waste management. Even dug my own garden where I grow Earthworms and carefully collected some of them and brought them to my living room to talk about composting. My sons helped me in operating my mobile camera when I wanted to run some practical demonstration other than the slide shows. Wow….it was such a mission...but we loved it and most importantly the participants loved it. So, we used the technology and tried our best to stay connected with Nature!!


10R in Resource Management to avoid waste  


Buhusuru using the mobile camera


Now it’s January 2021, A New year!! Not a new beginning yet as still I am trapped in New Delhi as Sri Lanka is not open for visitors to travel yet. Until they open and let us travel freely, I will continue my mission using the technology!

P.S As a tradition I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!! I truly mean it this year!

Also, I wanted to mention that I could not meet you all via our blog and that did not mean that we at ECO-V or me personally as a conservationist did not work for 2020. It's just we were very active on face book and after making posts for face book I felt not to repeat on the blog.


    

Covid-19, Lock Down and Rajesthan India.

After being inside for 7 months without traveling, we just came back from a 4-day trip to Rajasthan. It was a great trip with a 17-hour straight drive from New Delhi to Jaisalmer and spending some time around Thar Desert and understanding the history there. Here are some interesting places we traveled and what we saw. I decided to share those experiences and talk about some issues in a conservationist’s perspective.

  


This is the Jaisalmer lake in Rajasthan, India.

We had a visit there as it’s in the middle of the city. While others were talking about the beauty of the lake, I was looking at the surrounding trees, birds and then water. I caught a piece of polythene at the edge of the water body. It was moving a bit oddly. So, I had a closer, careful look.







Oopppsss…. automatically I was counting. One...two...three, four five six oooppss….one fell back to water and including that altogether seven frogs...I was surprised, smiling and murmuring of course taking pictures...while others were talking about the lake and its history. I was thinking how these frogs are getting adapted to the pollution and taking advantage of the polythene as a surface to climb up and breath...poor little frogs…. I was thinking while I was coming back.

Next day we had another 45 minutes travel from the city towards the Thar Desert. That was for organised Desert Safari.

When we were planning the Rajasthani trip last week, I was pretty sure I was not going to go on a camel safari. It was my personal ethic that I never want to enjoy sitting on a trained animal back as I know there is some animal cruelty involved in that. But I did not force others not to go. When we went to the place for Camel ride, a Rajasthani man pointed out two camels who just finished a trip and lay down on sand and stretched their legs, saying they were for us. Not having a much break for them it was the turn for our group. All preceded. I was sitting on a local bed. The man in charge was repeatedly inviting me to come while pulling the string coming through the nostrils of the camel. I was watching away as I could not see the pain of that animal.....then I heard a voice behind me saying “we are not coming, you all go”...that was my husband Thushara Ranasinghe . I looked back and saw Nipu (Nipuna Ranasinghe) also standing behind nodding his head saying no. I was not too surprised but a bit anxious to find out what’s the reason behind them for not going….Anyway all others went... we three were deserted in the desert….


People enjoy while animals suffer 

Soon after a ride they try to get a rest but....


While watching on our own shadows in the desert 

I looked at Nipu. He was patting on a cute, innocent doggie who came towards us by limping a few minutes ago. I approached them. “Putha, why didn’t you go on Camelback? With a little pause Nipu replied…. “It's the same reason as amma’s” and he continued petting that unknown dirty looking doggie girl. My heart melted, I walked away with wet eyes...not just because I was feeling sad, I am sure.






I looked at the horizon and it was almost sunset. I was watching the beautiful colours of sunset and thinking...If all kids are having this kind of METTA - Loving kindness and KARUNA - compassion for suffering, this world would have been a better place for humans and animals…..I have a hope..










    

Updates about My activities just before Global lock down due to Pandemic.

Well after 6 months of lock down due to Covid-19 and after a long break of writing, I thought I should write something now. Honestly there is no such lock-down now in New Delhi, where I live and we all are getting used to the “new normal”. No Cinemas, no metros. no commercial flights so no air travelling and no such free life yet. But life is pretty much functioning with masks on. Today I was going through some old photos so realized that I never reported about such work we did just before lock down. From 8th February to 13th February I was travelling in Myanmar for work purposes. I was invited to train staff of Amava Group (Clothing factory) in Myanmar. I traveled between Pathein and Yangun for training of more than 1500 employees on "Conscious Consumerism and sustainable living". Also we managed to prepare the Sustainability Management Plan for two factories of Amava Group in Myanmar. It was a very tight 5 days working from dawn to Dusk and travelling from one place to the other. Of course the unknown situation of spreading the virus made us a bit nervous but it was a good opportunity for me to make the participants understand about Eco-centric thinking and the value of respecting all forms of lives on this planet under “true sustainability”.




The trained Management staff in Myanmar







 The enthusiasm of trainees was so great and I saw the positive changes they made even on the same day and the following day. Such as refusing drinking instant coffee available in Sachet packets, refusing bottled water and instant food, bringing their lunch in reusable containers, immediate start of bringing a reusable water bottle from home. It’s amazing to see the willingness of change towards a healthy life and healthy management within the factories. when the general awareness for factory workers took place using huge screens and multimedia in the full packed house with translations happening, still the audience was patiently paying attention and I had no issue of keeping their attention towards the talk. All were enthusiastically listening for one hour and even I was flooded with questions after the sessions. 


In between the training sessions I had a fruitful meeting with the Eco Temple team who happened to be in Yangon and it was so nice to meet colleagues and discuss our upcoming conference in October. Had the great opportunity to meet the high priest at Oxford Buddhist Temple in Yangon with fellow eco temple team mates. Also I was able to visit the world famous Shwadagon Pagoda.



Most Venerable Dhammasami Thero

Eco Temple team with Most Venerable Dhammasami Thero

After finishing a tiring but satisfying tour in Myanmar I traveled to Sri Lanka via Bangkok.It was tensed but fully packed flights and had to go through temperature screening and filling health forms at airports. Looking back today, what an experience I had in Myanmar just before all went very wrong by March!!! It was my first travel experience with a mask on and I was feeling very uncomfortable (today it has become a part of the body).




I arrived in Sri Lanka on the 13th February and here again the next step of training sessions started on 14th. It was the same group of companies where Mr. Prasanna Jayasinghe is the CEO. So I concocted the same training in two more factories. General awareness of “Conscious consumerism and Sustainable living” for factory staff and then “True Sustainable Management” for Management staff along with preparing the Green management plan. It was another 1500 more staff members who participated within two days of training.

 


Training for Management staff of the factory 


One of the largest crowds I have addressed in the recent past 


After the fully packed weekend with talking and discussing I had no time to have a break and went to Galle to conduct another workshop on Zero Waste Lifestyle and Ecobricking on the following day. Then another workshop on Sustainable Waste Management and Ecobriking at Diyasaru Park, Thalawathugoda.

 




A bench made out of ecobricks at the end of the workshop

Thanks to the beginning of pandemic situation it was the high time to explain the shift of thinking "Ego to Eco" thinking and acting. It was easy to explain about the rights of each and every "being" of the world taking the Corona Virus as example and how we should co-op up with it (just after the training in February everything changed in the world but I feel what I said was still relevant.


Today I see myself having too long break of 6 months without travelling and just being at home but still working remotely, conducting webinars for the same topics, having virtual meetings and working with kids via zoom and telling them how to connect with Nature even at this difficult time. Oh well…..what a life?? Who thought of being locked down like this, globally!!!

    

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