Comments /3271 Views / Tuesday, 21 March 2017 00:00
The Z Club of Colombo – an internationally affiliated youth development initiative of the Zonta Club II of Colombo – collaborated with the Interact Club of St. Joseph’s College, the Community Service Club of Asian International School, and the Interact Club of Colombo to present The Colour Run 2017 in aid of The Rainforest Trust of Sri Lanka.
The Rainforest Trust of Sri Lanka is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to rescuing, protecting, and conserving the deteriorating rainforests of Sri Lanka. Currently the rainforests cover around 2% of our land, a disturbing statistic since they are regarded as a biodiversity hotspot, is home to unique and useful flora and fauna, and hold in balance the watercycle, weather patterns and the overall health of the planet.
Eshana Amarasighe, the 15-year-old President of Z Club said, “We decided on a Colour Run because the rainforests, unlike sustainable timber forests, are much more than just ‘green’. They give life and colour to the world we live in. We’ve learnt how most of our food products, medicines (both preventive and curative), come from the forest plants. Some are still being tested. We’ve also learnt that it is a human activity, some of it inevitable due to population expansion and urbanisation that causes the depletion of rainforests. We’ve experienced firsthand, the resulting destruction caused by climate imbalances like floods and droughts, natural disasters, etc. So, the least we, as the future generation, could do for ourselves is to make sure we stay aware and work as a team to help rebuild our rainforests, in a practical, sustainable way. It is, literally, ‘Run or Dye’ as our slogan goes.”
Kishori Opatha, Vice President of The Z Club added, “The importance of learning about rainforests is not only for environmentalists and geographers. Those interested in Biomedical Sciences, like myself would learn much from the unique species of wildlife therein. Medical advancements come from not only studying plants but animals too. The destruction of wildlife habitats is a far more significant consequence than what meets the eye.”
The Trust aims to restore and rebuild lost forests, through the ground-breaking analog forestry program designed by Dr. Ranil Senanayake, a passionate ecologist with decades of research knowledge and experience. The work of the Trust is two-fold: first is the forest corridor project such as that in Uda Kirawa, whereby parcels of land surrounding rainforests are purchased and replanted with the same composition of plants, which are grown in the second project; the plant nursery, such as the one in Belipola. The plants are all grown organically, and this approach is seen by experts in the field, both locally and internationally, as far more ecologically sustainable and profitable than industrial reforestation programs.
On Saturday 11 March, at 8am, approximately 300 people gathered at the Independence Square to run 3km, to bring colour back to the rainforests of Sri Lanka. Each of the participants sponsored saplings to be planted in the Uda Kirawa forest corridor, each contributing to extension of the forests and the health of the planet in their own little way. The run commenced with an introduction to the Trusts’ goals and work by Chris Tilakesri Dharmakirth, Trustee, and by 8.30am, clad in white t-shirts with the slogan I WAS PART OF THE COLOR RUN 2017, they ran, and some faster than expected!
The surprise of the event – water squirting, and splashing of Holi colour, (the biodegradable variety) at various points en route to the delight of the runners and passers-by – flashes of blue, yellow, purple, red, orange - through streets of Colombo ended up at the Racecourse pavilion like an endless rainbow. The participants were victorious and rejuvenated, in that moment, and in hopes for the future they had run for.
Sheehan De Zilva, Vice President of the Interact Club of St Joseph’s College commented “We were proud to have been a part of organizing such a successful event in aid of a great cause. It was both an enjoyable and educational experience for us all and we hope to continue this endeavor with The Z Club in 2018!” Mithara Silva, representing the Community Service Club of AIS noted, “The width and diversity of participation we saw today is what would carry the message and sustain these efforts. Our club was glad to have helped with the organization and running of the event, and we hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!”
Dr. Mala Tudawe Trustee of RT thanked Z Club and the participants for their initiative and contribution. She said that whilst the Trust continues their work to raise awareness and preserve the remaining forests, she was “happy and relieved that the youth had taken an initiative to kick start this event” which she hopes “would be repeated each year with even more participation”. Eshana Amarasinghe of Z Club agreed “What began today as an awareness building initiative must gather momentum from now on – to become a movement. Colour Run 2018 must definitely be bigger and bolder!”
The event was a resounding success.
– Mahika Panditha, Director of The Z Club of Colombo
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