End of one and a beginning to another!

20 January 2011

By Joanne Kotalawala, International Climate Champion, Srilanka

Day 6 of the ICC International Camp in Goa, many are filled with mixed emotions today as it is the final day of activities of the camp. Once again we begin the day early and head in to the coach for a somewhat different field-trip. Today we will explore nature by boat. We are heading out to visit the mangrove eco-systems of Goa and we were also visiting Cambarjua Canal, where we hoped to sight crocodiles, who are the keystone species in the mangrove ecosystem of Goa. We were privileged to be in the presence of Dr.Untawale and Dr. Borekar who are experts in these fields and were able to give us a great deal of information on these. We first visited the Mangrove ecosystems, where we first sited the white egrets dotting the green background of mangroves. Here we were able to observe the unique structural and biological nature of growth of the mangrove species. En route to the Cambarjua canal we made a stop at the Dr.Salim Ali Bird sanctuary, which is located along the edge of the mangrove forest. Along the way we observed birds such as Kingfisher, Eagle etc. Then it was a smooth ride to the Cambarjua canal, it did not take too much time to spot a crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) quietly basking in the muddy waters on the banks of the mangroves. It was truly amazing to observe a crocodile in its natural habitat. From here we headed back to ICG, where the groups made the final additions to the Goa declaration and prepared for their sessions with Sam Harvery, Director British Council, West India and also with David Viner, Head Climate programme, British Council, London. After this it was time for a lovely dinner, overlooking the beautiful beach of Goa.

By Abhishek Acharyya, International Climate Champion, India

When I touched down at the Kolkata Airport I ended a phenomenal journey which started from the same place a week back. In the last 7 days. I have learnt so much not just about the environemnetal isssues but about many more things. About life in different parts of the world, about environmental problems in different parts of the world. Also how they are tackling those. These 7 days of my life have been one of the best days of my life. There were many first in life in these 7 days. From flying to a live video conference and more. Even though I live so close to the Sunderbans I have never been able to go there. But thanks to British Council I have seen how estaurines ecosystem work. I think I should not write a lot about what happened when as it will take ages to explain and my climate buddies have already written about it.

But I would like to thank British Council for organising such a wonderful camp for all of us. In this world spinning out of control due to selfishness and conflicts we the young people of the world came together and worked for the same goal ‘a better future’. We may live thousands of miles, separated by seas, oceans and un- erasable lines. We might speak different languages, we may belong to different religions but we are one – we are Climate Champions. We are doing different kinds of works and in all these works I have a strong belief that we will contribute to a better world in the future.

The journey now we will begin will decide whether we will get to live in this world as humans, whether our young cousins will get to play in those fields where we used to play when we were young. Whether we will restore the dignity of our Mother Earth. And whether we will give the helm of affair of a better world to the coming gerenation. I wish you all a very best of luck and I strongly believe that we with our youth power will find answers to these questions.

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