WNPS Monthly Lecture Harnessing Nature for Climate Change Action

Nov 13 2023.

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WNPS Monthly Lecture Harnessing Nature for Climate Change Action By Dr. Sriyanie Miththapala and Prof. Devaka Weerakoon

The biggest challenge in this century is climate change and its related impacts with multiple approaches to address these impacts. Dr. Miththapala and Prof. Devaka Weerakoon will introduce one of these approaches: nature-based solutions for climate change.  

They will talk about how nature-based solutions use ecosystems (protect, manage and restore ecosystems) to reduce human vulnerability to help people adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. Common hard engineering solutions – such as retaining walls and diversion channels may reduce risk from, for example, erosion – but they provide no other, additional benefit. In contrast, nature-based solutions provide multiple benefits such as enhancing biodiversity and introducing sustainable livelihoods. Therefore, nature-based solutions address both human well-being and ecosystem well-being, are critical to sustainable economic development and ensure that our natural wealth is conserved for future generations. The youth of today, more actively environmentally conscious than the previous generation, will find nature-based solutions to be appealing, long-term, cost-effective interventions for climate action.

Dr. Sriyanie Miththapala is a graduate in Biology from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka and obtained her MA in Biology from Smith College, USA, and her PhD in Wildlife and Range Sciences from the University of Florida, USA. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura and was the Principal of Ladies’ College, Colombo. A former Smithsonian Research Associate, she is a long-term consultant with IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and supports work for its headquarters, the Washington DC office, the Sri Lanka Country office and formerly, the Asian regional office. She uses the strength of her technical knowledge to simplify and present complex material to non-biologists. She is a Commission member of IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management and Commission on Education and Communication.

Prof. Devaka Weerakoon graduated from the University of Colombo in 1985 with a major in Zoology. He joined the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo in 1986 and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1988 to Illinois State University, USA, where he obtained his MSc. and PhD. In 1995 he returned to the University of Colombo, where he currently holds the post of Senior Professor. His main research interest is the conservation of threatened species, especially Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka. He also serves as the chief technical advisor on fauna for the Red Listing programme of Sri Lanka. 6 pm, 16th November 2023, at Jasmine Hall, BMICH


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