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2010 personnes participent à l'appel des consciences
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Vinya Ariyaratne Sri Lanka

Pourquoi je participe à l'appel des consciences

I care about climate change because of my two young children – son and daughter. I see the future of our world through them. As a doctor and a humanitarian worker I have experienced first-hand the effects of climate change. I have worked in situations of disasters resulting from climate change – droughts, floods etc. and with poverty stricken communities affected by such disasters to revive their livelihoods. I am worried about the kind of future my children and their generation would inherit if we do not make a dramatic change in the way we live in this world.

As a Buddhist I believe in the interconnectedness of all living beings and nature. We all are also interdependent – interdependent on each other and with nature/environment. We need to urgently reexamine our relationship with nature. Nature provides us the basic necessities of life - the air we breathe, the food we eat, water we drink etc. Our survival depends on balance with nature and protecting our eco-systems. We ourselves - the human beings are the main culprits of destroying nature. It is our excessive desires and greed that lead to unsustainable life styles which result in environmental destruction, the root cause of climate change. Therefore we need first re-awaken our spiritual values to understand ourselves, look within ourselves and then live in harmony with nature.

During the last 25 years, I have been working with grass roots communities across the country with the aims of alleviating poverty and empowerment through a holistic approach developed by the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement – Sri Lanka’s largest grass roots development organization.

I feel a sense of obligation to do more – having gained an understanding and experiencing firsthand the disastrous effects of climate change. We can build a better world for our own children many more generations to follow. However, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “we need to be the change we want to see in this world”.

General Secretary

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

Dr.Vinya Ariyaratne is the General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental grass roots development organization. Following a unique model based on Buddhism, Sarvodaya Movement serves over 15,000 village communities across ethnic and religious divides through an integrated approach to development, peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Dr.Ariyaratne is a physician by training and specialized in Public Health. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Degree from the De La Salle University in the Philippines in 1989 and his Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree from the Johns Hopkins University U.S.A. in 1990. He also holds the Degrees of Master of Science M.Sc. (1996) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Community Medicine (2003) from the Post-Graduate Institute of Medicine of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, U.K. (1992) and a Chevening Fellow at the Nuffield Institute of the Faculty of Medicine and Health of the University of Leeds, U.K. where he obtained with Distinction the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Management, Planning and Policy (2006).

been extensively involved in health and development programmes related to the war affected communities in Sri Lanka.

After the Tsunami disaster in 2004, Dr.Ariyaratne was responsible for the overall coordination of the Sarvodaya’s emergency response and later the entire reconstruction programme which is one of the largest Tsunami recovery programmes in the country with a portfolio of projects worth over 15 million US dollars. In recognition of his dedication to humanitarian causes and peace initiatives, in February 2007, Dr.Ariyaratne was awarded the Degree of Civil Law (DCL) honoris causa by the University of Durham, U.K. When the large displacement from the Northern Province took place in early and mid 2009, Dr.Ariyaratne was coordinating the humanitarian relief efforts of Sarvodaya to assist the Health Ministry, the UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to provide services to the large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

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