The year 2020 has indeed started off with a stark reality, that climate change is a threat on us all and it is only worsening every single day.
There is no country in the globe who can today stand proudly and say they have not been affected by this crisis or have taken enough steps to mitigate this issue. Nations, including Sri Lanka, need to do more to address this grave crisis and it is high time world leaders unite to pass necessary resolutions to address climate change.
The year 2020 began with some alarming examples of how we all have to some extent neglected the climate crisis. Australia is burning with dozens dead and a billion animals perished, floods have swept through parts of Jakarta, skies in New Zealand have turned orange as a result of the Australian fires, the Earth has endured its second hottest year on record and the Arctic is melting at an alarming rate, all due to global warming.
So as humans have we done enough to protect our Mother Earth?
Being a small island in the Indian Ocean region, Sri Lanka shockingly was the second worst country affected by climate change in 2018. Floods and droughts have become a yearly phenomenon in this country which as a result has killed hundreds of innocent people, affected thousands and caused immense damage in recent years. The last government unfortunately were so engulfed in their internal political battles that climate change was never a priority on their agenda. Infact, this was one of the least debated issues in Parliament within these past four years while we were hit by the crisis the most.
During my political career, I have always been vocal about climate change and have on many occasions written about it on this platform. I have also discussed it on several international forums and stressed on the importance of how our future generations should be encouraged to address this issue.
With the election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the appointment of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in November, it is encouraging to see the importance these two leaders are giving global warming and how we in Sri Lanka have begun taking steps to address this issue.
Infact I myself, as a politician and citizen of this country, under the guidance of the President and Prime Minister have already begun a program to strengthen the organic farming industry by increasing lands for organic farming to 1000 acres this year. Steps are also being taken to increase the number of farmers involved in organic farming to 1500 and by the end of 2020, Sri Lankans can purchase more organic food to maintain healthier lifestyles.
Then a few weeks ago, the government also started a project to plant thousands of trees and I personally began this project in my constituency of Hambantota. These trees planted are commercially viable trees which can bare fruits and vegetables so that it can benefit us and our children.
We started this project a few weeks ago from the Hambantota AG’s office and last week I planted trees in the Rajapaksa Central College in Weeraketiya. I will be visiting all schools in the Hambantota district to plant these trees in collaboration with the school management in the coming weeks and students will be encouraged to follow this project and will be educated on the importance of climate change.
If we begin our challenge in addressing this global risk, we can soon join many organizations and politicians world over who are working tirelessly towards this efort, trying to make their voices heard and implementing projects to minimize global warming.
As a responsible government, we will ensure that Sri Lanka’s future generations will be educated on the threat caused by global warming and the steps which need to be taken to mitigate this crisis completely for the generations to come.
I have always believed, that as a politician, my job requires me to work towards my nation and all its citizens and I have to take steps to safeguard this country. I have started my bit to make a change. I invite everyone to join me.