Earth Day Network, first established in 1970 and based in Washington DC, America, is an international environmental organisation that operates in more than 190 countries.
The network has recently appointed Sri Lankan actress Michelle Dilhara as the Sri Lankan Ambassador for the network. Michelle is also an author, philanthropist, and climate activist and was awarded the Asia Inspiration Award at the South Asian Youth Summit held in Colombo in 2018 for her contribution towards social invisibility.
The Global Advisory Committee of the Earth Day Network includes personalities such as actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Begley Jr., and Anil Kapoor, the 68th Secretary of State John Kerry, and Indian businessman Anand Mahindra, just to name a few. The current President of the Earth Day Network is former environmental attorney Kathleen Rogers, with Nishu Kaul and Karuna Singh taking up the mantle as Earth Day South and Southeast Asia Director and Earth Day Network Regional Director, India, respectively.
Speaking to Michelle, she shared that she was invited by the Earth Day Network to feature in its “My Future, My Voice” campaign for their 50th anniversary of Earth Day 2020 with 49 other prominent young environmental activists from 17 countries of the South and Southeast Asia regions. She further stated that the Earth Day Network digital event has grown wider with messages from global leaders which includes a number of prominent activists and celebrities such as Pope Francis, former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Al Gore, former UN Executive Secretary of Climate Change Christiana Figueres, White House Climate Striker Jerome Foster II, and others.
Michelle shared that it has been a great honour to be included amongst great personalities such as her own personal hero Al Gore, who inspired her philanthropic work which she has been engaged in since she was 15 years old. She is an active environmental activist having organised several climate campaigns to minimise the ongoing climate crisis. Some projects include de-trashing beaches, planting 1,000 trees in Katana, and conducting awareness programmes on climate change and social invisibility at the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka and other schools.
Michelle, who is credited for having founded “The Invisible to Visible Movement”, has released a book based on the research done with Emeritus Prof. Antonette Perera and Dr. Parakrama Warnasuriya; the book titled Social Invisibility Is Not A Fiction It Exists was published by Amazon and it provides implementations on how to minimise social invisibility and social exclusion.
Michelle has continued her work as an avid activist while also maintaining her career passion as an actress; she is well known for her role in the television miniseries “Sudu Andagena Kalu Awidin”, which became the most popular teledrama at the Sumathi Tele Awards 2019. She shared that she hopes to continue her work for the betterment of society and the accolades she has received along the way has only sparked her desire to keep going, and that this honourable inclusion as Earth Day Network Ambassador to Sri Lanka has been one such achievement she will be most grateful for and hopes to leverage it in order to make a lasting difference in the world.