Be the first to like this
A talk given to Sri Lanka Rationalists' Association (SLRA) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 7 June 2012. In this presentation, I share my observations on how attempts aimed at environmental conservation and sustainable resource use in Sri Lanka are hindered by many misconceptions and myths.
I propose a basic categorization of eco-myths as myths of the first, second and third kind – the last one being the most pervasive and harmful. Drawing on my 25 years of experience as a science writer and journalist, I cite several examples from air pollution, biodiversity and climate change.
There is also the mother of all eco-myths that Lankan nationalists never tire of repeating: romanticising the ‘good old days’ before modernisation and colonisation. Ah, if only real life were that simple…
I acknowledge that scientific knowledge and understanding on some ecological matters are evolving so have to keep an open, inquisitive mind: science does not have all the answers, but provides a framework in which to ask the right questions and to go in search of answers supported by evidence.
I also concede that many individuals - and their societies - are not always rational. Some people readily believe in their favourite misconceptions, but demand the most exacting proof for scientific theories or explanations.