Creating a platform for the gathering of youth-led organizations, entrepreneurs and other individuals from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), International NGOs and local groups, Peace Expo and Colombo Food Fest 2017 was able to enable a diaogue on peacebuilding, reconciliation and human rights initiatives as well as Sustainable Development Goals. The two day event was organized by the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation in collaboration with Road to Rights and UN SDG Action Campaign on the 9th and 10th of December in Colombo. SLYCAN Trust was also present at the event promoting sustainable lifestyles with the Meatless Monday Sri Lanka campaign, calling for the adoption sustainable lifestyles to mitigate climate change effects.
Executive Director, SLYCAN Trust addressing the audience at SDG media zone highlighted the need for mindful consumption to achieve sustainable development. Ms. Wijenayake stated, “Adopting eco-friendly consumerism to combat climate change is crucial as we need to be mindful in consuming in an environmentally friendly manner ensuring that we do not over-utilize or over- exploit scarce resources that we have.”
A brief overview of SLYCAN Trust was provided as being an initiative that started as a youth network and broadened its scope to other aspects such as gender, social justice and animal welfare. In terms of the main highlights of the activities conducted by SLYCAN Trust to promote sustainability, Ms. Wijenayake elaborated on the organic agriculture projects done with youth and farmers in the North Eastern province of Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, the Meatless Monday Sri Lanka campaign was introduced to the audience as an initiative that is focused on reducing the meat consumption which is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. “The livestock industry contributes significantly to global emissions which can be curbed if we change our dietary patterns” underscored Ms. Wijenayake.
The ask of the Meatless Monday Sri Lanka campaign to go meatless starting Mondays was presented to the listeners as an activity that everybody can commit to at least once a week for collective mindful consumption. The campaign has been promoting the message of mindful consumption in Sri Lanka with multiple stakeholders.
She also presented the need for climate change awareness creation, climate literacy and the need for scientific data on climate change were stated as three important aspects to address climate change issues in Sri Lanka. It was also mentioned that the social context of people, in terms of income levels, age and gender influence the level of vulnerability to climate change effects.
“Overall policies in Sri Lanka need to ensure that they are in line with the green initiatives and climate change policies of the country and do not contradict them. And we need to take individual actions to ensure that we are not harming the planet. One of the easiest steps to do is to be mindful of our consumption pattern” concluded Ms. Wijenayake.