Roll out green carpet
Daily Mirror Editorial
Apr 18, 2012

In the aftermath of the massive undersea earthquake off Sumatra and the four-and-half-hour tsunami warning, which eventually did not bring tsunami waves but sent shock waves and panic waves throughout Sri Lanka and 27 other countries, the Government now needs to take immediate and effective action to curb global warming.

Top geologists here are warning that Sri Lanka now appears to be on the earthquake belt via the Indian Ocean although there was an earthquake in Colombo Fort in 1620 and some 2,000 people were reported to have been killed. Since then there has been no major earthquake here but somehow during the past few decades and due to various factors such as global warming and undersea nuclear tests in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is now on the tsunami belt as seen by the fact that buildings in Colombo shook for about two minutes when an earthquake occurred tens of thousands of miles away. There were about 80 aftershocks in the wake of the 8.6 magnitude earthquake at about 2.10 p.m. on Wednesday and geologists say no one can predict what kind of an earthquake could happen, when or where. So we, especially the all-powerful political leaders and the rich and ruling elite who merrily indulge in extravagances need to come to terms with realities. The worst calamity or catastrophe could take place at any time and our sand castles or castles in the sky could end up in nothing or one hell of a mess. So this period after the National New Year might be a good time for deep reflection on the transience and impermanence of life.

With this honest internal reflection which will hopefully bring a change of altitude and approach especially by political and other leaders and inspire them to sincerely selflessly and sacrificially become servants of the people, we also need to start and sustain effective eco-friendly projects which will roll out not red carpets but green carpets.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions one important step would be for political and other leaders to take a firm decision to reduce fuel consumption. If the leaders set an example, then the people also will follow. Unfortunately most political leaders, their stooges and sycophants use super luxury fuel guzzling vehicles for themselves and their hangers on. The Rajapaksa regime from time to time and obviously for the benefit of party financiers has raised and reduced taxes on motor vehicles.

During the past two years taxes have been slashed several times apparently to allow party bank rollers and other corrupt elements to import thousands of a particular variety of vehicles with a four letter word. After that taxes were raised. The latest huge tax hikes, especially on motor cycles and three-wheeler cabs will particularly affect the less privileged people. If the Government goes on indulging in such jugglery and wheeler dealing, plans to curb global warming will not succeed because the virtue of honesty is sadly lacking.

Besides reduction of fuel consumption and getting people to measure their carbon footprints, we need to act effectively in so many other areas to defuse this crisis. Reduction of deforestation, creative and imaginative thinking to work out eco-friendly projects need to be given high priority but unless there is genuine concern and honest commitment we will be heading towards self–destruction.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka