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Green lessons from �green cyclist�

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Putting across the message of sustainable development through his personal experiences, Matthew Harris, who has cycled his way through 28 countries, encouraged the children in Guwahati to follow a healthier and sustainable life.

In the city on Monday, Harris shared his experiences with a group of children in a programme organised by Anwesha.

Matthew Harris took up his cycling journey from The Netherlands to Australia covering a distance of 24,000 kilometres through countries like Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Croatia, China, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand among others.

Born in Adelaide, Australia, he completed his PhD in mathematics, but later on left his job to fulfil his dream of a great cycling expedition and creating awareness on global warming and environmental degradation.

�During my visits, I got the chance to see the rivers like the Mekong and Brahmaputra. The livelihood of a sizeable number of population depends on our rivers and unless environmental concerns get priority among all the countries of the world, the results would be disastrous,� he said talking to the mediapersons here.

�Though a lot is expected from the Paris climate summit, its success depends on whether our governments are willing to fulfil their promises. The onus lies of the western countries, which had contributed to the environment pollution in a major way, to support the developing countries, both financially and with technology, sharing to minimise the damage to the environment,� he added.

Though not carrying on his cycling expedition in India, Harris, on the visit to a friend in Guwahati, took the opportunity to interact with schoolchildren, helping them understand the importance of energy conservation, water and food and the associated need of sustainability.

In another initiative called Green Pedals by Harris and his team, programmes are organised in schools for sustainable development, inspiring sustainable change through the joy of cycling and encouraging the communities to opt for sustainable choices.

An advocate of minimal energy consumption, Harris said that though required for development, the production of hydroelectricity involves a lot of other factors like the displacement of villages in the downstream areas as well as the threats to the ecosystem, which must be taken into consideration while planning such projects.

Paresh Malakar, president of Anwesha, said that as the changing circumstances affect the children equally, they must be well informed about today�s ecological concerns. �The objective of holding this interactive session was to help the children understand the issue of sustainability and encourage them to contribute their bit into it,� he added.

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