World leaders have told us that while we keep our feet firmly planted on ground realities, we need to set our vision on the stars and have noble goals in life -- beyond selfish or self-centred agendas and ambitions.
The essential factor for this is to allow ourselves to be filled and refilled with positive energy. This means positive thinking, positive words and positive actions. As we exercise the power of positive thinking, we will experience it more and more, so much so that when we see a desert we will see adventure, when we see a hospital we will see compassion and when we see an airport we will see an international hub as a popular world television channel tells its journalists.
We need widespread positive thinking and action in facing the major issues in our country and in the world. One of the priorities is poverty alleviation. The National Government, despite all the divisions and disputes which may lead to a Cabinet reshuffle soon, has repeatedly pledged its commitment to a sustainable development strategy which is eco-friendly and all-inclusive. Despite obstacles and objections, the European Union this week restored the GSP-plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka. Government economic analysts say this will mean thousands of new job opportunities mainly in rural areas and millions of dollars in export revenue through substantial tax concessions for thousands of products including innovative or creative products coming from the marvels of modern technology.
On this and related issues, we have heard or seen far too much negative talk and action not only by Tamil Diaspora extremists but also by some political parties and other anti-government groups.
These negative thinking patterns are unfounded or unfortunate because the EU’s restoration of the GSP-plus trade concessions will obviously bring a multitude of benefits to all people and mainly the rural poor.
In this mission for poverty alleviation with President Maithripala Sirisena taking the lead role, the free media also need to play a positive role. Unfortunately we have seen too much negative reporting with excessive publicity being given to opposition parties which are obviously trying to boost their strength and agendas without rising beyond or working for the common good of the country.
As we have said before, positive journalism is more than a profession. It is a vocation where professional journalists, while being aware of ground realities, need to have the vision that we are the voice of the voiceless people. We need to give a voice to those who have not spoken. We need to find the words for those whose lips are sealed and we need to find a tune for those who sing no more. Professional journalists who cannot or do not want to set their sights on this vision and goals, need to seriously think of some other field of work.
Another key issue for Sri Lanka and the world is positive thinking and action in the battle against climate change. Last week the Daily Mirror editorial made the shocking revelation that if we did not act fast we would have more plastic than fish or other marine species in our oceans. We know the drastic consequences of this, not only for fish and other marine species, but also for the people. Therefore we urge the people, mainly those who go on regular seashore holidays, to act as responsible eco-friendly citizens and ensure that plastic and polythene are disposed of elsewhere.
In addition, political or religious leaders and the media need to encourage the people and highlight eco-friendly solutions. These could include solar energy panels, rainwater harvesting equipment, the use of compost or other organic fertilizer and so many other measures that could come from education and awareness programmes and from our own creative thinking.