Message from the President of the Institute of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka
The first Annual General Meeting of IEPSL after its incorporation by Act of Parliament No 1 of 2020 was held on 29th January 2021, with the participation of Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment as the Chief Guest, and Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi, a founder member and a Past President of IEPSL and the former Chairman of two key environment-related state organizations, CEA and SLLDC, as the Guest of Honor in the Inaugural session. At a time when the local as well as the global environment is facing many threats due to human activities, IEPSL as a corporate body, and the individual professionals who are our members, need to take a responsible stand to conserve our natural resources and protect the environment from degradation and damage, and to mediate where actions aimed at development are conflicting with the well being of present and future generations. It is our responsibility to make sure that sustainability is a key consideration in whatever we are practicing as a professional, so that protection of the environment and natural resources is not a separate item, to be looked after by a separate group of people, but a part and parcel of every professional’s work. Just being aware is not sufficient; we must equip ourselves with the knowledge, skills and competences needed to do our work with a new perspective – how can we achieve the dream of a convenient, contented, and happy lifestyle, while conserving our precious natural resources? Taking an example from nature, just like the bees and butterflies gather the nectar from a flower without damaging it, in fact doing a service to the flower by pollinating it in the process, can we make use of resources that are available to us without allowing them to be depleted?
There are many instances where people are doing these in different parts of the world – some using traditional methods, and some using latest technologies. IEPSL has taken the initiative to share the knowledge of the experts from around the world among the members and the general public, on some of the key environmental issues and the various approaches for managing them with the series of webinars prior to the AGM, which will be continued up to the middle of February. While IEPSL will strive to provide many more such opportunities, there are many other resources also available for us to educate ourselves, to learn the good practices in sustainability and environmental stewardship. I believe as responsible environmental professionals, we all must acquire the competences needed to scientifically approach the issues and find sustainable solutions.