Mangala notes importance of protecting the environment

Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera says development should always go hand in hand with the protection of the environment and the well-being of planet earth.

He says this is the path many advanced economies in the world have already embarked upon.

Samaraweera was speaking at an event held at the Thomas Gall Green School.

“Thomas Gall Green is the first of its kind in our island and it opens at a very propitious moment when the world in general and Sri Lanka, in particular, is embroiled in a fierce debate about the environment and the future of our planet and the legacy we would leave behind for the next generation and beyond,” he said.

He said in the school there are young children of various communities and religions and it is essential that the respective culture and beliefs are celebrated freely and without inhibition.

“However, it must not be at the cost of our own common humanity. We may be Sinhala, Muslim or Tamil, we may be British, Australian or Sri Lankan. We may be Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Christian or a follower of Islam. But we must never forget that we are temporary residents of Planet Earth, hosted by Mother Nature,” he said.

Samaraweera said it is imperative that the people learn to enjoy, respect and protect the planet during their brief stay on the planet and leave so that those who come after us can also experience and enjoy the beauty of this amazing planet.

“Thomas Gall School, which has always strived to provide high quality education in a practical and self-driven format is now going one step further by officially converting the school into a Green/Eco focused learning environment. The school, I believe, will be a model school for sustainability and sustainable education in Sri Lanka. I hope that the Education Ministry takes note of this example and encourage and support other schools in this country to head in this direction,” he said.

Samaraweera also recalled that as the former Finance Minister, he was happy to have presented his first budget in 2018 under the theme of “Blue-Green Budget.”

It was ‘Blue’ because the plan was to integrate the full economic potential of ocean related activities in formulating the overall growth strategy and ‘Green’ as the plan of the then Government was to build the economy on an environmentally sustainable development strategy. (Colombo Gazette)

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