In celebration of International Youth Day 2018, the National Youth Services Council (NYSC) in collaboration with the National Federation of Youth Clubs organised a Youth Day Festival at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksha Theatre on the 12th of August 2018. Thousands of youth from all around Sri Lanka attended the festival making it a vibrant and hugely successful celebration of youth.
The Meatless Monday Sri Lanka team attended the festival and hosted a stall at the youth exhibition. There, the team created awareness on the importance of sustainable consumption and production to mitigate climate change and promoted animal welfare and healthy living. Visitors to the stall were educated on the role the livestock industry plays in accelerating climate change, with it currently contributing 14.5% of global GHG emissions, and creating demand for the conversion of more agricultural land and water for animal consumption.
The crowd was also made aware of the inhumane practices that are often implemented by animal farms in order to sustain the ever-growing demand for animal-based products and how the reduction of consumption can bring about a change and stop cruelty towards animals. To highlight the need to promote animal welfare, the stall supported a pledge to reject violence and cruelty to all beings.
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was the Chief Guest of the Youth Festival visited the Meatless Monday stall with the Minister of Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development, Mr. Sagala Rathnayaka and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Pujith Jayasundara. The representatives of the stall provided an introduction to the Meatless Monday Campaign and its objectives which includes mitigating climate change, promoting personal health and animal welfare. The dignitaries also signed the pledge, vowing to say no to violence and cruelty to all beings. Along with them, approximately 300 visitors to the stall signed the pledge to reject cruelty and violence.
(Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, signing the pledge, vowing to reject violence and cruelty to all beings)
To promote food outlets with sustainable production and to raise awareness on food items free of animal-based produce, the stall offered vegan cupcakes, brownies and cookies from ‘The Vegan Kitchen by Sulo’ and ‘Fit Sugar’. Visitors to the stall were amazed to see bakery goods without any dairy products taste as delicious as the regular kind.
Along with the vegan goodies, promotional material was distributed at the stall with the request of cutting down meat at least one day per week. The stall was buzzing with youth and various other festival participants throughout the day, and it was refreshing to see youth absorbing the Meatless Monday message and making personal vows to cut down their meat intake and animal-based produce.
(The Meatless Monday stall buzzing with visitors)