Monday, February 27, 2017

Those who can, do, those who can’t teach. REALLY?

This paraphrased quote from George Bernard Shaw (actual quote: “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)  is frequently used to demean teachers and ridicule their efforts while lauding the doing part of life over the teaching part of it.  The problem with the statement is that no one has the slightest idea what actually constitutes a “doer” and what constitutes a “teacher”. 

Is a doer an action hero? An activist? An inventor of new things? A re-creator of old things in new skins? A person who exploited thousands to salt a few million francs away?  A person swollen to the gills with achievement in action? All of those? Some of those? None of those? 

Is a teacher an instructor in a skill? An imparter of knowledge? An educator? A trainer? A parrot of things heard casually and remembered with difficulty? A person swollen to the gills with achievement in qualification? All of those? Some of those? None of those?

See also, Accomplishment must come at the cost of achievement

In the modern reading of those two terms, it is not that hard to figure out that both arise from a base of two fundamental commons. Two foundation cornerstones. 

One, self-servitude, the other, ego.  

Once this is understood, it is not that hard to understand that both the so-called doer and the so-called teacher are basically doers – doing for themselves, their self-enhancement and their self-aggrandization only. The sum result of that effort, regardless of the label attached, is transitory and fleeting, largely destructive and mostly useless. We have seen that over the last few centuries in the horrors we have visited upon ourselves and our planet due to such self-centered ideas of what constitutes action and education within this questionable framework of endeavor we call civilized behavior. Behavior which, antithetically, actually breaks apart human groupings and mocks the very word, destroying civilization while claiming to be its developers and its growers and its consolidators. After four centuries of this madness, all we have to show for ourselves is a large number of buildings, an equal number of machines and a comparable number of degrees and qualifications. When these are combined with dysfunctional families, fragmented societies, infighting, cross-fighting, world-wars, disasters upon disasters mostly made by our own hands, we must recognize the painful truth that our doers and teachers have failed us.  We have only managed, by our action, by our instruction, to create the conditions that may well lead to the death of us all. 

Where did we go wrong?  Well, many things but greed, primarily. Greed in one exists to pull everything to oneself and remove everything from everyone else (1% at the top use more resources and wealth than 57% at the bottom!). The imbalance of energies, potencies and dynamics created by a civilization founded on greed cannot sustain as we are seeing now. 

Here is a brief litany of our insanity: 250 major wars since WWII and 49 ongoing, 23 million people killed, more children killed in wars over the last decade than soldiers, three out of four casualties of war women or children, 9 million people incarcerated, a third of the global labor force (1 billion people) unemployed or underemployed, 20 million people in bonded labor,   8.4 million children trapped in the most abhorrent forms of child labor - slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution and pornography, 1 out of 6 (246 million) children between the ages of 5 and 17 in child labor, women constituting 70% of those in poverty, extrajudicial executions in 47 countries and disappearances in 37 countries, detention without charge in 66 countries, prisoners of conscience in 78 countries, half the world (3 billion people) in poverty, 800 million without proper healthcare, 75 million children never attending or completing primary school education,  870 million of the world's adults illiterate, 3 million people dead of HIV every year, half of the forests that originally covered 46% of the Earth's land surface gone, 30% of the world’s freshwater species extinct, 250 million people affected by desertification and 1 billion at risk, temperature rise expected to be 3 degrees over the next 100 years. 

The master species has taught itself to do these wonderful things to themselves and their world

We, killing off our world, must ask ourselves: Is this our great human race? Is this our fantastic civilization? Is this the group that claims to be overlords of all things, ideas and life? Can we call this type of intent to hurt, this type of desire to inflict pain and suffering, this type of action to exploit, pillage, corrupt, damage, rape, murder and destroy “doing”? Can we call the type of instruction that led to this type of destruction “teaching”?  

I will not answer those questions because the answers are not convenient or right to the majority of the people on earth. Hell, they created this craziness and they are pretty happy with it, right? Unashamed, this peopled earth has stripped itself naked and is not at all upset that it stands so, unclothed, for all to see. We, flensed of cover, see value in lying, cheating, thieving, manipulating, conniving and murdering. We, bereft of shields, see value in driving ourselves to the grave and making certain we take everyone else alone with us for the ride. 

There doesn’t seem to be much that anyone can do about this mess but I can certainly state my claim as to what constitutes  doing and what constitutes teaching. It is simply this: None who can do for the good of all will ever stop short of doing, and none who do so stops short of teaching what was done for the benefit of all. 

Against that rule, real doing upholds all sentient life, regenerates all sentient life, succors all sentient life, protects all sentient life, makes content all sentient life, makes joyous all sentient life. Even if such doing costs the doers their own lives.  They will never say what they have done until they have done what they have said. Then, if they survive the life-giving tasks they have set themselves, they will proceed to teach everyone else how to do the same. True doing is then the antithesis of the vulgar idea of doing and, by extension, the vulgar idea of teaching. 

That, friends, is a terrible truth to swallow. For most people it is a truth that is impossible to digest. Every indicator of what most people have decided is good points in the diametrically opposite direction. To acknowledge this truth is to acknowledge the fact that there are very few people who can do in this world, and very few people who can teach in this world. To acknowledge it is to understand that the chances are high that one has never been either a doer or a teacher regardless of how one labels oneself. It is to acknowledge that it is only the true doer who can truly teach and that the chances are that one does not fall into either category. 

SO……? Be it! 
I cannot apologize for exposing the naked shame of the human race because I value above all else, the fact that I have been the happy recipient of the knowledge of doers who taught. I have been the beneficiary of a few “disaapaamokh anduras”. Men and women who have been holistically enabled doers who then spoke as empowered and envisioned teachers  - or knowers of the ten directions - or those who have practiced the sum total of all there is to practice and are thereby bound to instruct others in the same.  

The great doer-teacher, Disaapaaamokh Dronacharya instructs his student Arjuna to become the greatest bowman the world had ever known

To have known the true quality of the doing teacher is to know the misery of what passes for both doing and teaching as they are cognized these days.  Within a mangled value system, few will get a chance for engaging in anything that sustains, regenerates and rejuvenates our earth, its plants, its animals and its people. 

I can look forward... with misplaced hope perhaps... to our young. We have already shot ourselves in the head while shooting the world in the foot. Having seen the darkness we have bequeathed to our children through our action and our instruction, I can only hope that our 25 something kids will reject everything they saw us do and redact everything they heard us teach and start afresh in their approach to human effort and what constitutes true quality in those exercises. 

It is perhaps a fools hope. Perhaps it is a quiet desperation. Perhaps it is an acknowledgement of "Oh my God... what have we done...  Dear God... what are we telling our children to do?".  

But I do hope that they will know that those who walk their talk will also talk their walk and, instead of making silly statements of no merit, change Bernard Shaw’s saying to “Those who can truly do, can truly teach” .

Friday, October 21, 2016


The day of reckoning for the most evil corporation in America is at hand:

The Monsanto Tribunal in the Hague adjourned after the panel of judges heard evidence from farmers, victims, lawyers, doctors and activists from all over the world over two days. The tribunal is to deliver its verdict on Monsanto in December.

Monsanto was invited to the tribunal and its parallel sessions but refused to attend. Rather, they issued a statement in five languages that the tribunal was ‘pushing’ the wrong issues, since the real discussion is about feeding the world. Really now!

Well, firstly: Apparently, everyone but Monsanto saw that the issues that were being discussed at the people’s assembly that ran parallel to the tribunal were in fact discussing the real “real” issue of how easy it is to feed the world safely and without the ghastly socioeconomic fallout of the Monsanto recipe of captured bio-resources, disenfranchised farming communities, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and planet destroying agrochemicals. The world is going to quickly and easily find ways to feed itself that does not involve ecocide – the crime that the tribunal hopes will be ratified by the international courts and for which, Monsanto is one of the primary respondents.

Secondly: Monsanto’s billions of bottom line profits do not come from feeding the world. Instead, it comes from producing commodities, feed for animals, fuel for cars, and sugar for the food industry at a very high cost to human health and environment. This is production that feeds profit, not people. In that respect, sugar and tobacco have the same level of addiction, uselessness and health cost but there are more sugar addicts than there are tobacco addicts. So their profits from Sugar are actually counterproductive to human health and since many sugar based food products also have barrel loads of fats and additives, they have contributed quite substantially to the obesity epidemic, cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

Thirdly: When they talk about any issue they call “real”, we must understand that it is in fact fantasy. It is fantasy legitimized as reality by the capture of science and scientists. It is  fantasy converted to reality by terror tactics similar to those used by witch doctors, kattadiyas and mainstream religion. It is fantasy forcibly shoved down the throats of the people as reality, by capturing public opinion through marketing, by pirating and commandeering common biological resources, It is fantasy confounded into reality by purchasing policy, by ridiculing, suppressing and attacking alternative practice and independent science. People may have never heard of this company but practically every food and many non-food based products that they buy contain a so-called Monsanto signature be it glyphosate and other toxins, GMOs  or other residuals of their profit motivated market aggression. People buy these not really because they want them but because they cannot escape them. 

Legitimizing quackery and quackerizing science:

Monsanto should be worried. The world is no longer willing to listen to the manufactured truths and blatant lies of the Trans National Corporations (TNCs). The tribunal and people’s assembly in The Hague  clearly, unequivocally and deterministically underscored the lies and the viciousness of the spin through some of the strongest, most collective global testimony against Monsanto to date. They proved that the spin is no longer either valid or valuable and that it is being increasingly known to the people of the world as being part of the same old tired, stale, nasty marketing swill and gobbledygook of the TNCs as a whole.

The reason why a tribunal had to be held as a precursor to global litigation was in fact because of the extent to which this TNC controls agrarian policy, practice and ag-research. Their track record on this speaks for itself. They are currently facing at least 700 lawsuits of victims who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a result of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which Monsanto manufactured until the 1970s. Their mantra then was “oh its quite safe for use and singularly free of difficulties”. It is the same spiel that they are using now for glyphosate. However, the USA government banned PCBs in 1976 due to its carcinogenic potential. They could not claim ignorance of the nastiness of their own product with internal documents showing they knew and that in fact, they stopped their own staff from having lunch in areas in their PCB section because “chlorinated biphenyls were quite toxic materials by ingestion or inhalation."  Much like Pacific Gas & Electric, Monsanto is now being massively litigated for their continued suppression of the health hazards of PCBs and their continued marketing of those products three decades ago.  P,G&E got taken to the cleaners back in 1996 in California for contaminating the ground water with hexavalent chromium and causing area residents to become ill with a cocktail of cancers. Similar to what Monsanto does these days, Pacific G&E used money, power and false science to try to evade being convicted but they were brought to book through public action and civil torts with the highest ever direct action settlement at the time (USD 333 million). I don’t need to explain this to anyone who has seen the movie “Erin Brockovich”. What P,G&E did in California is a sneeze compared to what Monsanto has done to the world. Monsanto knew that glyphosate is an acylating agent when it bought the patent in the early 70s. They knew that it will combine with heavy metals and make hard water harder. They knew that the toxins created would rot the kidneys of anyone who drank it or inhaled it. They knew that it would cause was not “harmless” by any stretch of the imagination as they claim. Dr. Jayasuma was brutal in providing his findings to the tribunal. The settlement from Monsanto for their crimes against humanity and crimes against nature should run into billions. 

The TNCs respond:

The TNCs are fighting back in many ways – not just through their old tricks and trucks such as trying to bluster and lie their way out of culpability by attacking the attacker such as  via this piece  that tries to debunk the findings of all of the expert witnesses at the Hague Tribunal in single paragraphs, with the writer covering himself by stating that it is not an in-depth study but still making in-depth claims. The writer then claims no studies have been done that prove that agrochemicals have any impact on human health. I beg to differ via this piece.

No, there new, disturbing strategy is by putting up a common front by consolidating the nastiness of a collection of evil corporates through mergers. Monsanto agreed recently to be bought out by Bayer of Germany and the US regulators must rule on it. If it goes through, that would make the most evil company in America and the most evil company in Europe one giant poison factory. It is expected that the  EU will put up more of a fight against this merger because of their general revulsion of GM foods. However, recent merges of other large agribusiness TNCs are equally worrying not just for their potential to sell lies as truth, bad as good, demonic  as angelic. If regulators approve, then Dow Chemical will merge with Dupont. In 2016, the China National Chemical Corporation was allowed to buy the Swiss seed company Syngenta for USD 43 billion. In Canada just this last September 2016,  Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium joined forces to create a fertilizer giant amid slumping fertilizer prices. If all of these mergers go through, then, 59% of all patented seeds and 64% of all pesticides will be sold by the triad of BayerMonsanto, ChemChinaSyngenta and DowDupont with even more consolidated potential to mess with the truth and sell the world a crock of lies to go with their vats of poisons. 

The world shall have its day in court:

The world is not going to cow down or knuckle under their terror tactics of claiming that the world will starve without them. As already pointed out, they don’t feed the world and they never did. While they are profiteering from various non-food products and bad food commodities, it is the small farmers of the world that are actually feeding it. One of the key issues that illegally legitimized science has suppressed is the fact that we have enough food to feed the world but that it's distribution is crazily skewed by multinationals commandeering food growing resources and market chains resulting in horrifying waste. This dictatorial capture and excessive waste is why the world's most densely food growing region (Asia) is also the region that has the most number of starving people and no amount of arguing about "feeding the world" can justify that crime against Asia specifically and the world generally. Of all of the food that is sucked into the TNC businesses that deprive the growers of equitable consumption of their own efforts, a full 35% is wasted (last I checked). THIRTY FIVE PERCENT! Much of that waste is by developed countries and of those, a huge component  is from the west. Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, south and south-eastern Asia, each throw away only 6-11 kg a year! Take a look at the production to retailing waste in the table and the significant culpability of the TNCs in this madness needs no further explanation.  It is a perverted, pervasively vicious model that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth before its practices wipes us all off the face of the earth. The tribunal in The Hague is the first step in that process. 

As engineer Nnimmo Bassey of Nigeria said at the opening of the tribunal, “Being an ambassador to this Tribunal is like being an ambassador to mother Earth. If mother Earth could speak, Monsanto ought to be in jail long before now. Food is a celebration, it is culture, it is life. This is a struggle not against one multinational corporation, it is a struggle for life, it is a struggle for liberty. A struggle to stop big companies from colonizing our food systems, colonizing our agriculture, holding mother Earth as a slave for their profits”.


Even though the Monsanto lackeys have already started their ridiculous games of attempting to ridicule the witnesses, the independent experts and the panel itself, no one is fooled. They tried to portray the events as a “fake trial” when it fact it was not a trial at all but a tribunal and that as such, its goals and objectives were entirely different to that of a  trial although the findings of this tribunal will most certainly affect the outcomes of a trial on the same issue.  

Not when the tribunal consists Judge Dior Fall Sow of Senegal who is a consultant to the International Criminal Court and a former Advocate General at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,  Judge Jorge Fernández who is from Souza, Mexico and who is currently Judge at the Court of Administrative Litigation of Mexico City, Judge Eleonora Lamm of Argentina who is the Human rights Director for the Supreme Court of Justice of Mendoza with a doctorate in bioethics and law, Judge Steven Shrybman of Canada who is a partner in the law firm of Goldblatt Partners LLP and practices international trade and public interest law in Toronto and Ottawa and Judge Françoise Tulkens of Belgium, who has a Doctorate in Law, a Master’s degree in Criminology and is a former judge in the European Court of Human Rights.

Not when the witnesses include Mr. Timothy Litzenburg, a civil torts lawyer from America with over a thousand cases against Monsanto, Dr. Channa Jayasumana of Sri Lanka with extensive research into Chronic Kidney Disease, Dr. Damian Verzeñassi, public health expert from Argentina, Professor Marcelo Firpo, public and environment health researcher from Brazil and most telling, the host of victims from all over the world from rice farmers to bee keepers who calmly, confidently provided their testimony as a damning indictment Monsanto.

There day of reckoning is going to come sooner, rather than later.

As Judge Tulkens stated “We will try to deliver the legal opinion before December 10th, the International Day of human Rights. It will be addressed to Monsanto and to the United Nations. From this legal opinion, other jurisdictions can be involved and more judges will step in. We, as the judges [at the Monsanto Tribunal] have seen, heard, noted and deliberated.

International law will now probably take into consideration new issues such as the key issue of ecocide and bring justice to the earth, its plants, its animals and most importantly, its people. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Hague Tribunal on Monsanto

The multinational thug goes under the legal microscope for human deaths and ecocide and Dr.  Channa Jayasumana and Farmer Saman provide a damning indictment of Glyphosate

Farmer Saman at the tribunal

It is well known that Monsanto promotes an agroindustrial model that contributes to at least a third of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. it is also largely responsible for the depletion of soil and water resources, species extinction and declining biodiversity, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide.

Despite serious allegations against this multinational thug, they have continued to engage in activities devastating to the earth, its plants, its animals and its people through a systematic concealment strategy through lobbying regulators and government authorities, lying, corruption, commissioning bogus scientific studies, putting pressure on independent scientists, and manipulating the press and in all of these, blithely, brutally and unpardonably ignoring the damage to human beings and their social fabric in every part of the world and their massive contribution to the destruction of the stability of the global environment.

The world has had enough of this organization and its lies and its corruption of science for its own profit and gain. As part of the process to sweep them into the dustbin of one of the darkest chapters of human history – that of corporate greed taking precedence over justice – the peoples of the world gather today and tomorrow (16th and 17th October 2016) at the Institution of Social Studies at The Hague, where 30 witnesses and experts from five continents  give evidence against Monsanto and its products in front of an internationally renowned panel of judges.

The judges are Judge Dior Fall Sow of Senegal who is a consultant to the International Criminal Court and a former Advocate General at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,  Judge Jorge Fernández who is from Souza, Mexico and who is currently Judge at the Court of Administrative Litigation of Mexico City, Judge Eleonora Lamm of Argentina who is the Human rights Director for the Supreme Court of Justice of Mendoza with a doctorate in bioethics and law, Judge Steven Shrybman of Canada who is a partner in the law firm of Goldblatt Partners LLP and practices international trade and public interest law in Toronto and Ottawa and Judge Françoise Tulkens of Belgium, who has a Doctorate in Law, a Master’s degree in Criminology and is a former judge in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Panel of Judges at the Monsanto Tribunal at The Hague - Follow the proceedings at 

Sri Lanka was represented by Farmer Kolonnage Saman and Dr. Channa Jayasumana. They were the third duo to give evidence before the Hague Tribunal.

Farmer Saman paints the frightening socioeconomic scenario farmers in Sri Lanka face as a result of glyphosate: 

 Farmer Saman gave first hand testimony on the damage caused by glyphosate which is the chemical found in such Monsanto herbicide brands as RoundUp. From him, the tribunal heard of the rapid increase in the rise of kidney disease occurring concurrently with the hardness of already hard water and both damningly being noticed with the introduction of glyphosate herbicides from Monsanto’s local cat’s paw – CIC. This was comparatively common knowledge but more important was his indictment of Monsanto who did not inform them of the dangers of using their herbicide and the social and economic cost of the chief breadwinners getting sick and ripping apart the entire social fabric of farming communities in rural Sri Lanka. He completed his testimony demanding that Monsanto provide every one of the tens of thousands (government data says 69,000) of sick farmers as well as those tens of thousands (over 22,000 at present)who have already perished with a significant financial compensation package.

Dr. Channa Jayasumana testifies to the true medical facts behind glyphosate, the rationale for the ban and the effort made by Monsanto proxies to get the ban lifted:

Dr. Jayasumana, Head, Department of Pharmacology, Rajarata University, in his testimony, took the tribunal through the history of kidney disease in Sri Lanka starting as far back as 1994 and the reasons for the 15 year hiatus from the start of the chronic application of these herbicides to the incidence of the first cases of the disease. Citing his own research as well as that of others, he outlined how the active ingredient of such products as Roundup - isopropylamine salt of glyphosate – was identified as the determining cause of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in unshakable testimony that the agrochemical industry has sort to deny and / or, suppress. He stated that it combined with heavy metals, leached into ground water and created the toxins that destroyed the kidneys of the farmers and their families in the rice farming belts of the country. He also informed the tribunal that Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to completely ban glyphosate and despite this ban, the proxies of Monsanto were continuously striving to get the ban lifted and using pressure on the government, threats to scientists and infiltration of key academic and state institutions to prevent research from seeing the light of day. He stated that the ban was still strongly in effect and that it was now even firmer because the WHO has recently reported that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen.

On being questioned by the Tribunal on whether Monsanto knew about the properties of glyphosate, Dr. Jayasumana stated that glyphosate was an acylating agent capable of forming bonds with heavy metals and that Monsanto knew of this when it bought the patent from its previous owner as far back as 1970 after which one of the Monsanto scientists John E. Franz, reformulated the chemical glyphosate (assigned new purpose) to be used as a systemic herbicide.

Responding to a tribunal question on whether there had been attempts to suppress or curb the research, he stated that the University of Peradeniya had recently appointed Buddhi Marambe as a council member when he was also a director of the Monsanto proxy CIC and that every research that was proposed had to be approved and the infiltration of the academic infrastructure in Sri Lanka was typical of how Monsento worked in other countries as well.

When asked by the tribunal if the lack of protective gear was a cause for the incidence of kidney disease, he said that women and children in those areas who had never applied the chemical were also succumbing to the illness although not in the same percentages and that this was due to drinking toxin  contaminated well water.

The key to his testimony was that it was not a product that was banned but rather the active ingredient and this is of paramount importance since various adjuvants for Glyphosate exist, under dozens of trade names ever since Monsanto’s patent expired on it in 2000 with most of the giant biotech, agrichemical corporations jumping on the bandwagon wanting some profits from the world’s top-selling Roundup weed-killer (and human-killer) ingredient.

Citing all of this evidence, he appealed, with powerful scientific backing to the international community to join Sri Lanka in banning glyphosate and not just roundup while sending a strong message to the policy makers of Sri Lanka to uphold the blanket ban on all glyphosate based herbicides even though they are being pressured by various so-called scientists and advocates and lobbyists who have been bought up by Monsanto and its proxies to lift the ban.  

The Tribunal in full swing. At left, before the panel, a witness gives testimony

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Sri Lanka CAN achieve 100% renewables by 2030 says Ashoka Abeygunawardhane

We are all quite aware of the mess in the electricity sector in the country. Both quality and continuity have been compromised and there seems to be little done to rectify the matter. The consumer suffers constantly due to blackouts, breakdowns, price hikes and manipulation, horror service and customer response, insane engineering decisions, all sorts of rumors related to corruption, citizen confusion and trade union thuggery. The pressure is seen not only in macroeconomics but in micro-wallet. These are the normal conditions under which the Sri Lankan citizen lives... in a hate-love, lose-win relationship with the monopolist service provider of electricity, the CEB. Fifteen years ago, the citizens rumbled that it was high time something was done.

Since then, that rumble occurred each time they were forced to sit in the dark or light candles and those times became more and more frequent despite the fact that the long suffering public was almost resigned to never getting the type of service they paid for and deserved. With the spate of island wide blackouts over the last few months the situation is no longer one that the public is willing to tolerate. Indeed, it is not something that the state can tolerate either. Something had to be done. But what? And How? And when? And by whom? And at what cost? And with what sort of future-proofing?

These key questions that impact national energy security, citizen wellbeing and overall national security were addressed by Mr. Asoka Abeygunawardhane at his lecture on THE ELECTRICITY SECTOR - A VISION FOR THE FUTURE: 100% RENEWABLES BY 2030 held on the 26th of May 2016 at the auditorium of the Institute, Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL). 

To lay the ground work for his answers, he asks a key question of the electricity sector in Sri Lanka: when the world has decided that rise in temperature has its original and its continuance in the fact that the world continues to burn fossil fuels and bound itself legally to sustainable energy based on renewables, why is the CEB continuing with the coal, coal, coal matra as a solution to Sri Lanka’s energy issues? When it is proven that coal is the most expensive fuel for use in Sri Lanka why is the CEB claiming it is the cheapest? When the national policy and the policy under which President Maithripala Sirisena was elected was based on 100% renewables, why did the CEB submit a long term generation plan for 2016-2034 that was based to the tune of 85% on coal? When the rest of the world was trying to figure out what to do with their existence fossil fuel infrastructure because they were pushing towards renewables, why was the CEB actually trying to build more power stations that used coal which no body in their right minds was promoting anywhere in the world? When there was proof that there was ample opportunity to renegotiate so-called “committed” coal power stations such as Sampoor, why was the CEB reluctant to do so despite of the issues at the Puttalam coal power plant that is threatening national energy security?  How did they manage to wire up their transmission system in such a way that when one single transformer blew the entire nation was plunged into darkness not once but thrice in six months? When renewable energy technologies have improved dramatically over the last five years, why was the CEB still harping on issues with these energy sources that are no longer present?  Why did they plan only for large hydro among all the renewables in their generation optimization plan and didn’t even consider other sources?  Why do they say “Whatever the manifesto of the president of the country and the aspirations of the people, we will do what we want!”?

Well, some of the reasons are answered in the questions themselves.  Ignorance of technological development in renewable energies indicates either engineering astigmatism or more likely, a deliberate choice to remain ignorant in order to keep promoting the most expensive fuels at cost to the national economy and the wallet of the consumer. Believing they can act with impunity indicates strong reliance on the ability of the oil & gas mafia to exert sufficient pressure on the government as it has always done in the past. The fact that the transmission system was so badly designed was a clear indication that the generation fuel was already determined to be coal and the transmission system created to cater to that source when in actuality, transmission systems should be designed along with generation strategies and be independent of the specific fuel that is being used so this is a indication of a complete lack of professionalism on the part of CEB engineers. 

However, none of those provide a clear reason why the CEB is so allergic to renewables except for large scale hydro and perhaps large scale wind. The real reason as Asoka points out is that renewables are difficult to monopolize because they are small in size and scattered in location, and, the minute the ability to control the energy source is removed, the CEB is no longer monopoly, it cannot continue to be inefficient, it cannot continue to dictate service standards and pricing to the market and it cannot continue to be high-handed with either the state that created it or the public that uses its services. 

However, as Asoka pointed out, the game that the CEB has been playing with the public and the state for years is now up. The PUCSL and the Ministry of Power and Energy rejected its long term generation plan citing the fact that it was not in line with government policy of achieving 100% renewables by 2030 and that it simply chose to maintain renewable energy sources in its generation plan at the 20% level which was agreed to before the present government came into power. The fact that the CEB’s high handedness has been condemned and literally thrown out of the window should be a slap that stings then badly Asoka implied. 

Next, he went on to prove that micro-generation of power either through hydro or dendro or solar would instantly turn consumers into producers, ensure that money that hitherto went to the energy mafia would now be channeled directly to the citizens of the country generally and specifically to the rural poor who engage in providing biomass for micro-dendro plants scattered throughout the country and generating about 500MW of power. He further added that the growing of such plants was part of the broader national strategy of the government to move swiftly to sustainable development with a parallel exercise in toxin-free agriculture that would overall reduce the food production related energy costs, improve rural economies, stabilize the environment and instantly improve the overall health of the country.

He also pointed out that Sri Lanka can utilize about a million rooftops in the country to generate electricity and that Sri Lanka can significantly tap into the energy potential of its seas (wave energy and ocean thermal conversion) and use such source to cater to thermal comfort related applications in urban centers such as air conditioners.
 He also had a firm counter to the claim of variability of renewable resources that the CEB constantly harps on and stated that creating about 3000MW of pump water storage will manage this issue for the next few years. After that, Asoka justifiably states, “renewable technology will advance with the global push to a level where power variability will no longer be an issue”. 

Asoka not only clearly stated that the path to energy security for Sri Lanka is not through coal or LNG or any other fossil fuel but by ensuring the 100% renewables target but was also equally clear that the government was committed to demand side management which, if managed well with the citizens executing their responsibilities could reduce overall energy usage by as much as 40%.

The overarching implication of his talk was that the world was at the end of the era of reductionism driven by fossil fuels, motor transportation, centralization, profit and large businesses and moving sooner rather than later to a holistic development paradigm based on renewable fuel sources, IT / Public & NM transportation,  distributed systems, satisfaction and cottage industries. He observed that the CEB was still living in the stone ages with the former paradigm while the present government of Sri Lanka under President Maithripala Sirisena was forward thinking according to the later paradigm and with the political commitment to deliver on the promises made to the people, neither the CEB nor its supporters who were (and still are) bent upon the destruction of Sri Lanka’s environment, the impoverishment of its people and the ruination of its economy.


For those of you who want to know...