World Earth Day 2012

Initiated in 1970,  April 22 each year is now known to be Earth Day. This Day was created to have a high appreciation of Mother Nature in the World. The proclamation of 22 April as International Mother Earth Day is an acknowledgement that the earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life sustenance. It is also recognize a collective responsibility as called for in the Rio Declaration to promote harmony with nature and the earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.  

Sri Lanka also celebrated World Earth Day 2012 on April 22 and the main event was held jointly by the  United Nations Information Center, Ministry of Environment, EDEX Think Green ,British Council  and the Team of Make It Green Again (MIGA)  at the Royal College Skills Center, Colombo 07.  On this Day, a workshop  on “Using Digital Media for Sustainability” was held in the morning and in the evening a documentary film, which captured dazzling array of human experiences where footage was filmed on 10-10-10, named “One Day On Earth” was released  as a part of global screening.  This was attended by  the Secretary to the  Ministry of Environment, Mr.  B M U D Basnayake, , Dr.Ananda Mallawathanthri Assistant Resident Representative/Environment & Energy, UNDP, Mrs. Hiranthi Gunawardena, United Nations Information Centre  and Chairman, EDEX, Mr. Kamal Abeysinghe.  
Speaking at the event, The Secretary of Ministry of Environment, B M U D Basnayake Said  that the youth are a powerful tool in creating awareness on these  risk issues and the Ministry believes in mobilizing the youth in the efforts to mitigate climate change and protect the environment. He also mentioned that the Ministry is currently drafting its policy to be presented at RIO+20. 
Mrs. Hiranthi Gunawardena of UNIC read out the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon for the Day in which the UNSG had emphasized the importance of making the best use of Rio+20, a once-in-a-generation opportunity,  to promote better respect for nature and to cultivate an environment – natural and social – in which all children fees safe and all people can prosper. Mrs. Gunawardena while hailing the enthusiasm and commitment of the youth in the issue, sustainable development in Sri Lanka,  thanked the Youth organizers for taking initiatives towards National Road to Rio+20.  The support given by the Ministry of Environment and private/educational sector organizations such as Edex, British Council was acknowledged. 
The workshop was participated by members of leading youth organizations in the country where the sessions featured key eminent speakers in the field of Sustainable Development, Film Making & Social Media such as Mr.Hemantha Withanage, Taya Diaz, Mr. Neshan Gunasekera & Charitha Ratwatte Jr. 
The event was organized by the team of “Make It Green Again campaign (MIGA) in support of National Road to Rio+20.  The campaign was a brain child of the British Council International Climate Champion Nilanke Panthiarachchi and was initiated in 2011 through Earthlanka youth network. This team produced an earth song, a music video which was screened as a side event  at the  United Nations Framework for Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 17)   in Durban, South Africa in December 2011 which was attended by Sikander Sabeer, Founder/National Road to Rio+20 campaign.    The lyrics were by Ms.Y A Sriyani Yapa  and Kalasoori Diliup Gabadamudalige  produced the music track for the video.  More than 50 youth volunteers participated in acting, artwork, and visual effects and performed in the orchestra in the music video.  Miss Anoka Abeyrathne, South Asian Youth Award Recipient, played the key role  and her dress was designed by famous fashion designer Ms. Dulakshi Jayasekara.