Lifestyle

Seven things to know about climate change

By Pujanee Galappaththi

Climate change is very real and getting worse by the day. Climate variability and climate change are two different things. Marine and coastal ecosystems are natural buffers. Climate resilience is all about infrastructure. Nuwara Eliya doesn’t produce coconut oil in kilograms anymore. The secret to winning against climate change is to have a plan. Create a green revolution.

An informative third part to Green Conversations hosted by the Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Ltd. (EFL) concluded on 21 June 2019. The event was sponsored by Nations Trust Bank and partnered by Pulse and Hatch.

“Green Conversations” is a series of discussions covering environmental issues and how we can achieve sustainability by conserving our precious environment. It’s a wonderful platform for activists, academics, and anyone the slightest bit concerned with the environment.

The burning problem of climate change and how it should be handled was the key focus of the most recent conversation. This, like its previous renditions, was an engaging hour of passionate environmentalists, academics, and nature lovers conversing and identifying the biggest concerns with regard to climate change and the viable solutions. Here are some learnings from the discussion.

EFL Head of Science Chanurangi Wickramaratne PhD spoke to us about a series of incidents that took place over the years, which contributed to the complicated situation we’re in right now, under the topic of “climate change science evolution over time”.

Climate change is listed as Goal 13 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Paris Agreement is an agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which works to move the world towards a possible solution to eradicate climate change as a whole, as it is consuming our beautiful planet by destructing ecosystems and causing the sea level to rise day by day.

Shiromi Jayawardena PhD from the Meteorology Department addressed the issue of the impact of climate change on drastic weather patterns, and went on to explain that climate change refers to the alterations that occur through the earth’s atmosphere over much longer periods of time. While climate change can be caused by natural processes such as volcanic activity, solar variability, plate tectonics, or shifts in the earth’s orbit, we usually refer to changes attributed to human activity when speaking about climate change, such as increased greenhouse gas emissions.

She went on to explain climate variability, which is when the climate changes gradually. This also includes short-term fluctuations on seasonal or multi-seasonal timescales. There are many things that can cause changes to average temperatures that don’t necessarily cause changes in the long-term average temperature. This phenomenon of climate variability refers to changes in the average state and other aspects of the climate over space and time, beyond that of individual weather events.

Captain Samarawickrama from the Sri Lanka Navy discussed the contribution of the Sri Lanka Navy toward the mitigation of climate change effects. Sri Lanka Navy had carried out numerous projects to conserve and protect marine ecosystems to buffer against the destruction of coastal ecosystems. These projects included the plantation of 100,000 mangrove saplings last year. Further, Sri Lanka Navy had implemented mechanisms to protect against oil spills and prevent illegal fishing, which are considered to be major contributors to the destruction of marine and coastal ecosystems.

Chamila Weerathunge of the International Labour Organisation, speaking under the topic of disaster reduction, touched on climate resilience, which includes the strengthening and maintenance of ecological infrastructure. Weerathunge added that besides the preservation of the ecosystems, the conservation and protection of fauna after significant change of climate is essential, together with the improvement of the economy and adaptive social protection.

Speaking on the topic of climate change adaption, Janathakshan CEO Ranga Pallawalla shared a story about growing up amidst the misty mountains of Nuwara Eliya. The cold weather used to be a defining factor of this beautiful city and coconut oil was sold in its solid state in the past. However, with the increase of the heat layer and rise of water levels, ergo the rapid increase of climate change, this stays in the past.

MAS Holdings Environmental Sustainability Director Sharika Senanayake spoke about the vision of one of the biggest manufacturers in Sri Lanka for a brave future. MAS Holdings believes that working towards a set goal within a carefully set plan is the key to defeating climate change. Their plan for 2025 includes the generation of more renewable energy, which they have sought to achieve via generation of solar power, investing in wind power stations, converting waste into consumable products, aiming to dump zero waste, and indulging in reforestation.

EFl Chairperson/Director Eric Wickramanayake PhD shared a heartfelt message with the environmentalists of the country, stating that it is imperative that each and every human being on earth exercise their right to play their part in saving this planet from the horror of climate change.