by Shaan Sahas Kumar, Raakhee Suryaprakash, Salman Khan, and Binod Parajuli

Mr. Azhar Deane has been successfully running Lucky Plaza Homestay for a while. In this time he has noticed changes that has affected his business for which he needed to act. Solar water heater has been there since then the three storey residence was built but it has acquired a solar photovoltaic (PV) system to solve their energy needs.

With a one-time investment of 1.2 million Sri Lankan Rupees for a 4kw roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) system, Mr Deane is now able to not only save on his electricity bill that could’ve gone up to Sri Lankan Rupees 30,000 monthly, but with the help of these solar panels he is able to offset some of the carbon emissions emitted by his hospitality business.

Solar Panels

Citizens of Colombo are slowly shifting to solar panels. Photo by Shaan Kumar.

Mr. Deane is an environmentally conscious guest house manager crusading for climate action. He recalls some memories of how the beautiful beaches of Colombo have drastically eroded completely over his lifetime, losing over 100 metres of prime beach front area. All that remains are pictures of a bygone era of his childhood.

“Tourist’s and local residents complaining of extreme heat and humidity in an island that was once referred as the pearl of the orient,” said Deane.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes it as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

The prolonged drought conditions in Colombo have made water recycling and energy conservation a priority. Landslides and flash floods alternate with long dry spells. Mr. Aadil Jabbar’s workplace has considerably made conscious effort to conserve and recycle water. Maybe rain water harvesting has to catch on to boost water security.  Despite all the depressing figures coming out of the data that is available, one man’s mission in the area abound with solar heaters and solar photovoltaic panels. Scaling up of even the investment in solar panels and heaters that abounds in this enclave of Thrimbigyaya could bring about savings. Energy and economy wins? So why doesn’t the circle of influence of these green initiatives move?

Running the many air conditioners and electricity guzzling equipment in a way that is green. Homes as well as hotels should seriously look into renewable. The previously mentioned solar PV system now costs less. The price is down to 700,000 rupees.

Uber driver

Traffic is a major problem in the capital city. The number of vehicles on the road is increasing; the positive is that the number of hybrid cars are also increasing. Yet the high costs make it more of a luxury than an adaptation strategy. One Uber driver mentioned that he would love to own a hybrid. It would save on his fuel bills and be easy on the environment if not the traffic conditions but can’t even dream of affording it.

Mr. Deane went on to add that the high price of adaption practices can only be afforded by the environmentally aware affluent’s are the only one concerned about saving their business interests from the impacts of climate change.  Climate awareness and implementation of adaption plan is missing out from a wider national context. People around Sri Lanka are being affected by climate change from the raging droughts, flash floods and sea level rise that is destroying the tourist and agricultural economy of the country.

Srilanka infographic

Climate Tracker

About Climate Tracker