LIVING FREE coffee table book | Sunday Observer

LIVING FREE coffee table book

Chitral and Vimukthi presenting the first book to Ranjith Pandithage
Chitral and Vimukthi presenting the first book to Ranjith Pandithage

‘Living Free’ consists of more than 200 professionally shot high quality images, showcasing the natural world in Sri Lanka. Behind this unique publication are two veteran photographers, Vimukthi Weeratunga and Chitral Jayatilake with over 30 years of experience in wildlife photography. The moments captured in this coffee table book are all natural and fleeting, depicting how serene the wilderness is, and what a blessing it is to spend the hours available to humans in the calming forests of this island and beyond. Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO) came forward to partner this unique publication as the only sponsor, identifying the importance and the impact this can have on people and the environment.

The ‘Living Free’ coffee table book was launched recently, at DIMO 800 Mercedes-Benz Centre amidst a distinguished gathering.

The guest of honor was His Excellency Jörn Rohde (German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives), while Ranjith Pandithage (Chairman and Managing Director of DIMO), Gahanath Pandithage (Group CEO of DIMO), Mohan Pandithage (Chairman of Hayleys), members of the Mercedes-Benz Club of Sri Lanka, members of the Jeep Club of Sri Lanka, senior management of DIMO, management of John Keells and Cinnamon Nature Trails, wildlife enthusiasts and well-wishers graced this special event. Prof. Sarath Kotagama delivered the keynote speech and introduced the book. 

Ranjith Pandithage mentioned that, DIMO came forward to sponsor this unique book – a collector’s item, to create awareness about the richness of our motherland and the importance of protecting nature. This book specially targets the younger generation and the affluent society – who can play a pivotal role in preserving the nature in Sri Lanka.

Governed more by greed than need, the first to succumb to man’s relentless plunder of resources is, inevitably, the environment. Almost no pristine habitats now remain. Humankind never seems to realize how much is enough, and the pace at which search for prosperity grows shows no sign of reaching an equilibrium in which wealth is accompanied by sustainability.

Today, Yala National Park, the best-known home of the leopards in Asia, has been reduced to little more than a wholesale supermarket for big-cat sightings, often with more than 200 jeeps clamoring for a ringside view in a park just 140 sq. km. in extent.

Mobile-phone technology and reach results in dozens of vehicles converging on each precious sighting. As a result, what used to until recently be a pristine wilderness area is now routinely desecrated by inconsiderate visitors, reckless drivers and gross overcrowding.

The seas beyond Dondra Head are arguably the best locations in Asia to view Blue Whales - the largest creatures that have ever inhabited our planet. Here again, each precious sighting is relentlessly tailed by up to fifty boats desperately giving chase in order to earn a fast buck from the tourists they carry.

According to Sir David Attenborough, doyen of naturalists and broadcasters: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.

DIMO is proud to assist Chitral and Vimukthi, and proud to partner a book of such high value and quality. DIMO is a responsible corporate citizen, making decisions with the triple bottom line in mind. DIMO is highly concerned about the different communities and the environment – and all workshops and service bays have strict regulations in managing waste, sound pollution, release of used water and oil. 

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