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BEACH BOYS, GROUP TOURS & LOBSTERS – Part 26

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CONFESSIONS OF A GLOBAL GYPSY

By Dr. Chandana (Chandi) Jayawardena DPhil

President – Chandi J. Associates Inc. Consulting, Canada

Founder & Administrator – Global Hospitality Forum

chandij@sympatico.ca

Some Challenges on the Beach

As the Executive Chef of the Coral Gardens Hotel, I laid a strong foundation for my work in the new environment by learning about the union, the history of the hotel and the work culture of the kitchen. I changed my management style slightly to suit the team of 50 mature employees in my departments. I experienced positive outcomes with the team due to that adjustment. I also enjoyed positive reactions from the customers about the ‘new-look’ products and services. These were encouraging signs, but my optimism was short lived when we experienced a series of hostile encounters on the beach in front of the hotel.

It commenced when a security guard tried to chase away some beach vendors who harassed the hotel guests sun bathing on the beach. The beach vendors had been selling corals. Later when one of the hotel gardeners asked a local fisherman not to keep his fishing boat right in front of the hotel, I heard a loud argument. “Your rich hotel does not own the public beach! My family used this spot on the beach to keep our fishing boat for generations! If you touch my boat, you will not be allowed to come out of the hotel, alive!” the fisherman yelled. The Manager of the hotel, Muna requested the staff to avoid any further confrontations with the locals.

I considered such disagreements as an indication of deeply hostile attitudes of the locals toward the hotels. One day, a well-known local deep-sea diver, drew a pistol and shot the bullseye of the dart board hung in the public bar. I then felt that the situation with the locals was like a time bomb. There were also objections from the locals about the hotel using the public beach for weekly barbecue buffets. Reluctantly, I had to back off and re-locate the barbecue near the beach but, within the boundaries of the hotel. I was disappointed, but learning from this challenge, decided to do some research about the culture of the locals living in the town of Hikkaduwa and nearby villages. Muna and I consulted the local businessmen – Lesley and Dudley, whom we befriended before we took over the management of the Coral Gardens Hotel.

Two Worlds Separated by a Wall

Having spent the first two decades of my life in Colombo, I had to make an effort to learn the culture of Hikkaduwa area. It was small, but a vibrant town in many aspects. It was important for me to understand the attitudes and aspirations, behaviour patterns and belief systems, customs and cultures (ABC) of the local residents. In general, the area was poor and the economy was largely dependent on the co-operative fishing industry owned and operated by small-time local businessmen.

I realised that compared to the locals who were making a living from agriculture, fishermen communities were more aggressive in their nature. Some younger members of the local population attempted to make a living by selling local handicrafts, corals and other items to tourists. They also rented diving equipment to the tourists. The hoteliers called them “beach boys” or “touts”. In the mid-1970s, unlike Bentota, Hikkaduwa attracted many low-budget travellers and hippies, who were served well by these local beach boys, and smaller guest houses.

Showing some respect to the locals, being flexible and having an open dialogue appeared to be wise decisions by Muna. However, I felt that being firm and fair would be an even better approach in dealing with hostile locals as well as the union. I noticed that some people took kindness for a weakness. Muna was not keen on walking outside the hotel. However, on some evenings after dinner service, I used to walk to nearby hotels to meet friends and play cards. I used to walk back to Coral Gardens Hotel during early hours of the morning. During my walks I usually spoke briefly with local vendors and touts. That provided me some understanding of their attitude and mentality.

A string of small tourist hotels mushroomed in Hikkaduwa following the success of Coral Gardens Hotel which set the standards for others to follow. The key common element of these hotels were the names, which all had the word – ‘Coral’ (Blue Corals, Coral Reef, Coral Sands, Coral Rock, Super Corals etc.). These hotels were predominantly owned by rich business people from Colombo. In general, the poor villagers viewed hotels as rich establishments providing luxury products and services to tourists while making lots of profit, without providing any direct or indirect benefits to the locals. A couple of these hotels hired retired army officers to manage hotels. They were considered tough administrators, who maintained connections with the top brass of the army.

Coral Gardens Hotel provided security to its guests with tall walls and gated entrances controlled by uniformed security guards (mainly ex-military men) provided by an agency from Colombo. In general, villagers were not allowed in the hotel. The only exception was the public bar, which had a separate entrance from the car park. As management, our key responsibility was to provide services to our guests in a safe environment. In later years, during my work as a hotelier in other parts of Sri Lanka as well as in other developing countries such as Iraq, Guyana and Jamaica, I always felt that the wider the economic gap between the luxury hotels and the local communities and economy, the higher the tensions were.

The Most Experienced Sommelier

In addition to the union leader Edmond, there were two other Butlers at the hotel. They supervised the restaurant employees during breakfast, lunch and dinner service. The oldest of them, Butler Raman, had gained over 25 years of experience as a Wine Waiter and Sommelier at the famous Galle Face Hotel, prior to joining Coral Gardens Hotel, 10 years earlier. He was reputed in Sri Lanka as the person who had opened the greatest number of bottles of wine during his long career. I learnt from his knowledge of wines.

Butler Raman was a cheerful man. He was loyal to the hotel and respected the management, unlike some of his peers. He was happy when I commenced a restaurant employee briefing prior to each lunch and dinner service. He loved my detailed explanations about the preparations of dishes and how the dishes had been named, particularly the new items I introduced to the menus. He took notes during all my briefings. We developed a mutual respect for each other. Raman was very open to my new and creative ideas. He respectfully addressed me, ‘Master’ and I addressed him, ‘Butler Raman’.

Raman’s customer relations were excellent. He had a good memory and addressed repeat customers by name. All tourists who returned every year or sometimes a couple of times in each tourist season, all knew Raman by name. He quickly became my right-hand man in the restaurant. Often both of us stayed by the entrance to the hotel reception area to greet tourist groups arriving at the hotel.

Categorising Lunch Groups

When the hotel was full, we had only around 100 resident guests for lunch and dinner. On most days, we catered for an additional 150 to 200 tourists who visited Coral Gardens Hotel only for lunch. These ‘lunch only groups’ were on one-week long tours of the island. Coral Gardens Hotel was their first stop and they arrived towards late morning or around noon. After they did the glass-bottom boat excursions to see the underwater Coral Gardens and a quick dip in the sea, they used the large changing rooms with showers and lockers. Then they came to the restaurant for a quick lunch. Speed of service was very important as the European tour leaders in charge of these groups had to manage the time efficiently.

In consultation with the tour leaders, I planned standard three-course lunch menus that can be prepared and served quickly. These menus changed slightly depending on the fresh catch of the day from the sea. Obviously, the restaurant staff provided better service to high spending tour groups who tipped generously. After the welcome, Raman quickly categorised the tour groups into the following four:

a) Wine Party – a group that ordered wine and tipped well. The best tables were allocated.

b) Beer Party – a group that ordered only beer and tipped a little.

c) Soda Party – a group that ordered only soft drinks and pop and hardly ever tipped.

d) Choo Party – a group that did not order any beverages or tipped, but stopped to use the washrooms only.

Selling Lobsters

A month after the tourist season in 1975/1976 commenced, I wanted to introduce a lobster night similar to that Bentota Beach Hotel offered weekly. As most guests were on full-board packages, we charged extra to include a lobster dish on their dinner menu or upgrade the main course with lobster. I planned the additional lobster dishes and briefed Raman and motivated him to take lobster orders and sell wines to match the dishes. I gave him a free hand and he commenced lobster order taking for our first lobster night. The next day, when I checked how many lobsters that Raman had sold, I was disappointed to note that he managed to sell only six.

“That’s OK, Raman. I know that you tried your best”, I told Raman, as he was also disappointed to let me down. “Sorry, Master. As those guests who were satisfied with the lobster dishes you cooked this evening and talked with other guests, I think that we should be able to sell more, next week” Raman told me. I understood that word of mouth is a good form of sales, but I was eager to have some quick results. We agreed that next week, I should join Raman to sell lobsters, as a team of two. “Next week, shall we take lobster orders soon after breakfast?”, Raman asked me. “No, let’s sell when the tourists are hungry, say just before lunch, around noon” I decided on the timing strategy.

The next day just before 12 noon, on my way to meet Raman at the restaurant, I dropped in at the stores. The divers from Ambalangoda were delivering freshly caught live lobster to the stores. “Sukumaran, give me that king lobster”, I told the storekeeper. Carrying that large lobster, I accompanied Raman and went near the beach where most of our guests were sun bathing. As someone in a chef uniform including a white hat carrying a lobster was uncommon, I attracted some attention of the guests immediately. A few guests surrounded me and one guest asked me, “Is that lobster live?” “Henny, you may touch one of its eyes”, I gently prompted. The lobster moved in an aggressive manner when Henny did so. She screamed and all the guests on the beach came to check the commotion.

I knew at once that we had created some interest and now, I had a interested audience. I wanted to strike quickly to take lobster orders for dinner. Raman carried two empty Coca Cola crates from the resident bar, and told me, “Master, stand on these crates so that everybody can see you and the king lobster.” I did the sales talk and Raman wrote down the room numbers and orders. It was perfect team work. When I explained how I prepare our favourite lobster dishes I noticed some guests looking hungrier and clearly indicating their desire to order the most expensive item on our à la cart menu. When I mentioned the price, that became an obstacle for closing the sale. Some guests said that was too expensive for them. I quickly thought of a few problem-solving deals.

Later, privately I told a couple, “Mary and George, I know that these dishes are expensive, but do you want to return to France without tasting a single lobster dish in Sri Lanka?” As they were still not convinced, I then said, “I have a solution for you. I will serve one lobster dish for both of you to share, but served on two large plates, filled with some extra assortment of salads. Two plates for the price of one!” “That sounds great, count us in”, Mary said, even without noticing her husband’s nod of approval. With that confirmation Raman and I reached a record-breaking 50 lobster orders for that evening. We had to buy a few extra lobsters from neighbourhood hotels to meet the demand.

Our lobster nights proved to be popular and successful for the rest of the tourist season. Over the months, we enhanced the promotional tactics. This included taking the lobster orders the previous evening just before dinner. We set up a large sea water tank in the lobby with live lobsters and a colourful poster. At times I did some ‘free’ lobster tasting sessions. I also arranged for the Receptionists at the front office to talk about our lobster promotion to every new guest at the time of their arrival. Due to 10% service charge on bills, which were equally distributed to all full-time employees, I was able get the support of the employees working in different front of the house departments (waiters, barmen, receptionists, cashiers, room boys), for lobster promotion.

AIDA

A few years later, when I had my first course in Marketing at the University of Colombo, some of the best Sales and Marketing experts from Lever Brothers (who were guest lecturers) introduced a concept called AIDA to the business administration students. In explaining this concept, my first Marketing Lecturer and then Chairman of Lever Brothers Sri Lanka, Mr. Stanley Jayawardena told my class that AIDA is the best way to describe the customer journey throughout an effective sales process. Without any formal education in Marketing or sales training, in 1975, at Coral Gardens Hotel I had followed exactly the four stages of the AIDA concept:

Attention

– attract the customer’s attention – timing, location and the chef uniform.

Interest

– generate interest in the product or services – commotion with the live king lobster.

Desire

– transition from interest to actively ‘wanting’ the product – dish explanation.

Action

– spark / convince the customers to take action / close the sale – 50 lobster orders.

Since then, I have been a firm believer of AIDA. Not only in selling, but also in advertising campaigns I designed, seminars I presented and keynote speeches I delivered. I used AIDA for them all.



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Lives of journalists increasingly on the firing line

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Since the year 2000 some 45 journalists have been killed in the conflict-ridden regions of Palestine and senior Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was the latest such victim. She was killed recently in a hail of bullets during an Israeli military raid in the contested West Bank. She was killed in cold blood even as she donned her jacket with the word ‘PRESS’ emblazoned on it.

While claims and counter-claims are being made on the Akleh killing among some of the main parties to the Middle East conflict, the Israeli police did not do their state any good by brutally assaulting scores of funeral mourners who were carrying the body of Akleh from the hospital where she was being treated to the location where her last rites were to be conducted in East Jerusalem.

The impartial observer could agree with the assessment that ‘disproportionate force’ was used on the mourning civilians. If the Israeli government’s position is that strong-arm tactics are not usually favoured by it in the resolution conflictual situations, the attack on the mourners tended to strongly belie such claims. TV footage of the incident made it plain that brazen, unprovoked force was used on the mourners. Such use of force is decried by the impartial commentator.

As for the killing of Akleh, the position taken by the UN Security Council could be accepted that “an immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation” must be conducted on it. Hopefully, an international body acceptable to the Palestinian side and other relevant stakeholders would be entrusted this responsibility and the wrong-doers swiftly brought to justice.

Among other things, the relevant institution, may be the International Criminal Court, should aim at taking urgent steps to end the culture of impunity that has grown around the unleashing of state terror over the years. Journalists around the world are chief among those who have been killed in cold blood by state terrorists and other criminal elements who fear the truth.

The more a journalist is committed to revealing the truth on matters of crucial importance to publics, the more is she or he feared by those sections that have a vested interest in concealing such vital disclosures. This accounts for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, for instance.

Such killings are of course not unfamiliar to us in Sri Lanka. Over the decades quite a few local journalists have been killed or been caused to disappear by criminal elements usually acting in league with governments. The whole truth behind these killings is yet to be brought to light while the killers have been allowed to go scot-free and roam at large. These killings are further proof that Sri Lanka is at best a façade democracy.

It is doubtful whether the true value of a committed journalist has been fully realized by states and publics the world over. It cannot be stressed enough that the journalist on the spot, and she alone, writes ‘the first draft of history’. Commentaries that follow from other quarters on a crisis situation, for example, are usually elaborations that build on the foundational factual information revealed by the journalist. Minus the principal facts reported by the journalist no formal history-writing is ever possible.

Over the decades the journalists’ death toll has been increasingly staggering. Over the last 30 years, 2150 journalists and media workers have been killed in the world’s conflict and war zones. International media reports indicate that this figure includes the killing of 23 journalists in Ukraine, since the Russian invasion began, and the slaying of 11 journalists, reporting on the doings of drug cartels in Mexico.

Unfortunately, there has been no notable international public outcry against these killings of journalists. It is little realized that the world is the poorer for the killing of these truth-seekers who are putting their lives on the firing line for the greater good of peoples everywhere. It is inadequately realized that the public-spirited journalist too helps in saving lives; inasmuch as a duty-conscious physician does.

For example, when a journalist blows the lid off corrupt deals in public institutions, she contributes immeasurably towards the general good by helping to rid the public sector of irregularities, since the latter sector, when effectively operational, has a huge bearing on the wellbeing of the people. Accordingly, a public would be disempowering itself by turning a blind eye on the killing of journalists. Essentially, journalists everywhere need to be increasingly empowered and the world community is conscience-bound to consider ways of achieving this. Bringing offending states to justice is a pressing need that could no longer be neglected.

The Akleh killing cannot be focused on in isolation from the wasting Middle East conflict. The latter has grown in brutality and inhumanity over the years and the cold-blooded slaying of the journalist needs to be seen as a disquieting by-product of this larger conflict. The need to turn Spears into Ploughshares in the Middle East is long overdue and unless and until ways are worked out by the principal antagonists to the conflict and the international community to better manage the conflict, the bloodletting in the region is unlikely to abate any time soon.

The perspective to be placed on the conflict is to view the principal parties to the problem, the Palestinians and the Israelis, as both having been wronged in the course of history. The Palestinians are a dispossessed and displaced community and so are the Israelis. The need is considerable to fine-hone the two-state solution. There is need for a new round of serious negotiations and the UN is duty-bound to initiate this process.

Meanwhile, Israel is doing well to normalize relations with some states of the Arab world and this is the way to go. Ostracization of Israel by Arab states and their backers has clearly failed to produce any positive results on the ground and the players concerned will be helping to ease the conflict by placing their relations on a pragmatic footing.

The US is duty-bound to enter into a closer rapport with Israel on the need for the latter to act with greater restraint in its treatment of the Palestinian community. A tough law and order approach by Israel, for instance, to issues in the Palestinian territories is clearly proving counter-productive. The central problem in the Middle East is political in nature and it calls for a negotiated political solution. This, Israel and the US would need to bear in mind.

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Doing it differently, as a dancer

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Dancing is an art, they say, and this could be developed further, only by an artist with a real artistic mind-set. He must be of an innovative mind – find new ways of doing things, and doing it differently

According to Stephanie Kothalawala – an extremely talented dancer herself – Haski Iddagoda, who has won the hearts of dance enthusiasts, could be introduced as a dancer right on top of this field.

Stephanie

had a chat with Haski, last week, and sent us the following interview:

* How did you start your dancing career?

Believe me, it was a girl, working with me, at office, who persuaded me to take to dancing, in a big way, and got me involved in events, connected with dancing. At the beginning, I never had an idea of what dancing, on stage, is all about. I was a bit shy, but I decided to take up the challenge, and I made my debut at an event, held at Bishop’s College.

* Did you attend dancing classes in order to fine-tune your movements?

Yes, of course, and the start was in 2010 – at dancing classes held at the Colombo Aesthetic Resort.

* What made you chose dancing as a career?

It all came to mind when I checked out the dancing programmes, on TV. After my first dancing programme, on a TV reality show, dancing became my passion. It gave me happiness, and freedom. Also, I got to know so many important people, around the country, via dancing.

* How is your dancing schedule progressing these days?

Due to the current situation, in the country, everything has been curtailed. However, we do a few programmes, and when the scene is back to normal, I’m sure there will be lots of dance happenings.

* What are your achievements, in the dancing scene, so far?

I have won a Sarasavi Award. I believe my top achievement is the repertoire of movements I have as a dancer. To be a top class dancer is not easy…it’s hard work. Let’s say my best achievement is that I’ve have made a name, for myself, as a dancer.

* What is your opinion about reality programmes?

Well, reality programmes give you the opportunity to showcase your talents – as a dancer, singer, etc. It’s an opportunity for you to hit the big time, but you’ve got to be talented, to be recognised. I danced with actress Chatu Rajapaksa at the Hiru Mega Star Season 3, on TV.

* Do you have your own dancing team?

Not yet, but I have performed with many dance troupes.

* What is your favourite dancing style?

I like the style of my first trainer, Sanjeewa Sampath, who was seen in Derana City of Dance. His style is called lyrical hip-hop. You need body flexibility for that type of dance.

* Why do you like this type of dancing?

I like to present a nice dancing act, something different, after studying it.

* How would you describe dancing?

To me, dancing is a valuable exercise for the body, and for giving happiness to your mind. I’m not referring to the kind of dance one does at a wedding, or party, but if you properly learn the art of dancing, it will certainly bring you lots of fun and excitement, and happiness, as well. I love dancing.

* Have you taught your dancing skills to others?

Yes, I have given my expertise to others and they have benefited a great deal. However, some of them seem to have forgotten my contribution towards their success.

* As a dancer, what has been your biggest weakness?

Let’s say, trusting people too much. In the end, I’m faced with obstacles and I cannot fulfill the end product.

* Are you a professional dancer?

Yes, I work as a professional dancer, but due to the current situation in the country, I want to now concentrate on my own fashion design and costume business.

* If you had not taken to dancing, what would have been your career now?

I followed a hotel management course, so, probably, I would have been involved in the hotel trade.

* What are your future plans where dancing is concerned?

To be Sri Lanka’s No.1 dancer, and to share my experience with the young generation.

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Responding to our energy addiction

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by Ranil Senanayake

Sri Lanka today is in the throes of addiction withdrawal. Reliant on fossil fuels to maintain the economy and basic living comforts, the sudden withdrawal of oil, coal and gas deliveries has exposed the weakness and the danger of this path of ‘development’ driven by fossil energy. This was a result of some poorly educated aspirants to political power who became dazzled by the advancement of western industrial technology and equated it with ‘Development’. They continue with this blind faith even today.

Thus, on December 20th 1979, an official communiqué was issued by the Government and displayed in the nation’s newspapers stating, “No oil means no development, and less oil, less development. It is oil that keeps the wheels of development moving”. This defined with clarity what was to be considered development by the policy-makers of that time. This fateful decision cast a deadly policy framework for the nation. The energy source that was to drive the national economy would be fossil-based. Even today, that same policy framework and its adherents continue. Everything, from electricity to cooking fuel, was based on fossil energy.

The economics of development, allows externalizing all the negative effects of ‘development’ into the environment, this being justified because, “industrialisation alleviates poverty”. The argument, is that economies need to industrialise in order to reduce poverty; but industrialisation leads to ‘unavoidable emissions. Statements like, ‘reduction in poverty leads to an increase in emissions’ is often trotted out as dogma. Tragically, these views preclude a vision of development based on high tech, non-fossil fuel driven, low consumptive lifestyles. Indeed, one indicator of current ‘development’ is the per capita consumption of power, without addressing the source of that power.

A nation dependent on fossil fuel is very much like an addict dependent on drugs. The demand is small, at first, but grows swiftly, until all available resources are given. In the end, when there is nothing else left to pawn, even the future of their children will be pawned and finally the children themselves! Today, with power cuts and fuel shortages, the pain of addiction begins to manifest.

The creation of desire

This perspective of ‘development’, the extension of so-called ‘civilised living’ is not new to us in Sri Lanka, Farrer, writing in 1920, had this to say when visiting Colombo:

“Modern, indeed, is all this, civilised and refined to a notable degree. All the resources of modern culture are thick about you, and you feel that the world was only born yesterday, so far as right-thinking people are concerned.

And, up and down in the shade of glare, runs furiously the unresting tide of life. The main street is walled in by high, barrack like structures, fiercely western in the heart of the holy East, and the big hotels upon its frontage extend their uncompromising European facades. Within them there is a perpetual twilight, and meek puss-faced Sinhalese take perpetually the drink orders of prosperous planters and white-whiskered old fat gentlemen in sun hats lined with green. At night these places are visible realisation of earthly pleasure to the poor toiling souls from the farthest lonely heights of the mountains and the jungle.” The process goes on still …

Develop we must, but cautiously – with the full awareness of the long-term consequences of each process. Development must be determined by empowering the fundamental rights of the people and of the future generations. Clean air, clean water, access to food and freedom from intoxication, are some of these fundamental rights. Any process that claims to be part of a development process must address these, among other social and legal fundamental rights.

One problem has been that, the movement of a country with traditional non-consumptive values, into a consumerist society based on fossil energy tends to erode these values rapidly. Often, we are told that this is a necessary prerequisite to become a ‘developed country’, but this need not be so. We need to address that fundamental flaw stated in 1979. We need to wean ourselves away from the hydrocarbon-based economy to a carbohydrate-based economy. Which means moving from a fossil fuel-based economy to a renewable energy-based economy.

Fossil Fuels or fossil hydrocarbons are the repository of excess carbon dioxide that is constantly being injected into the atmosphere by volcanic action for over the last 200 million years. Hydrocarbons are substances that were created to lock up that excess Carbon Dioxide, sustaining the stable, Oxygen rich atmosphere we enjoy today. Burning this fossil stock of hydrocarbons is the principal driver of modern society as well as climate change. It is now very clear that the stability of planetary climate cycles is in jeopardy and a very large contributory factor to this crisis are the profligate activities of modern human society.

As a response to the growing public concern that fossil fuels are destroying our future, the fossil industry developed a ‘placating’ strategy. Plant a tree, they say, the tree will absorb the carbon we emit and take it out of the atmosphere, through this action we become Carbon neutral. When one considers that the Carbon which lay dormant for 200 million years was put into the atmosphere today, can never be locked up for an equal amount of time by planting a tree. A tree can hold the Carbon for 500 years at best and when it dies its Carbon will be released into the atmosphere again as Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon Dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere by plants and converted into a solid form through the action of photosynthesis. Photosynthetic biomass performs the act of primary production, the initial step in the manifestation of life. This material has the ability to increase in mass by the absorption of solar or other electromagnetic radiation, while releasing oxygen and water vapor into the atmosphere. It is only photosynthetic biomass that powers carbon sequestration, carbohydrate production, oxygen generation and water transformation, i.e., all actions essential for the sustainability of the life support system of the planet.

Yet currently, it is only one product of this photosynthetic biomass, sequestered carbon, usually represented by wood/timber, that is recognized as having commercial value in the market for mitigating climate change. The ephemeral part, the leaves, are generally ignored, yet the photosynthetic biomass in terrestrial ecosystems are largely composed of leaves, this component needs a value placed on it for its critical ‘environmental services’

With growth in photosynthetic biomass, we will see more Oxygen, Carbon sequestering and water cleansing, throughout the planet. As much of the biomass to be gained is in degraded ecosystems around the planet and as these areas are also home to the world’s rural poor, these degraded ecosystems have great growth potential for generating photosynthetic biomass of high value. If the restoration of these degraded ecosystems to achieve optimal photosynthetic biomass cover becomes a global goal, the amazing magic of photosynthesis could indeed help change our current dire course, create a new paradigm of growth and make the planet more benign for our children.

Instead of flogging the dead horse of fossil energy-based growth as ‘Economic Development’, instead of getting the population addicted to fossil energy, will we have the commonsense to appreciate the value of photosynthetic biomass and encourage businesses that obtain value for the nations Primary Ecosystem Services (PES)? The realization of which, will enrich not only our rural population but rural people the world over!

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