Write: Jülide Karahan Photos: Cihad Caner
2010 WAS THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. 2011 IS THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FORESTS. IN ORDER TO DISCUSS WHAT WE NEED TO DO, WE KNOCKED ON THE DOOR OF HAYRETTIN KARACA, KNOWN ALSO AS “GRANDFATHER EARTH.”
We went to Karaca Arboretum in Yalova’s Samanlı village, opened the hatch of the wooden gate, and went inside. Over twelve thousand varieties and forty thousand different types of plants greeted us. After learning that six hours was needed to see them all, we decided to leave it to our next visit. Hayrettin Karaca, the honorary president of TEMA, who has not taken off his red sweater for years, checked the brands of our trousers first, and then began talking.
What has TEMA done so far? There may still be some people who do not know…
First, TEMA worked on having the Meadows Act introduced, and then after nine years of hard work, had the Land Act introduced. However, in my opinion, the best thing TEMA has ever done was the foundation of Mini TEMA. Since 1978, I have been touring the country school by school, and village by village. My mission is to inform people on the Earth and nature. There are some really bright children. They ask me questions, for instance; they ask me not what they know, but what they don’t know; they want to learn. Then they share with each other what they have learned. I went to a school in Istanbul recently.
In the class room were sixth grade students. First we played some games, and then we started a question-asking competition. We chose three girls and three boys. One of the boys asked the first question: “What is the world’s most important problem?” I intervened and said, “This question is not right; everyone can answer this differently.” However, the girl still answered: “The biggest problem is our inability to establish world peace and maintain the balance of nature.” I was frozen. Was she not right? I asked the girl how that would be established. Her answer was, “First, justice must be brought to the distribution of income.” She was only a sixth grade student; can you imagine?
Global peace, the balance of nature... How will these be achieved?
For a livable world, we are obliged to achieve these. If we don’t develop new morals regarding lifestyle and consumption, we have no chance at all. The people must learn not to consume more than what they need. In 2005, the world paid 460 billion dollars for advertising; last year, this figure was 1,1 trillion dollars. Huge ads were placed in the newspapers to encourage people to buy and consume more. We must stand against these. You, me, and everyone must all do this so we can save the world. We must let live in order to live. But let what live? The organisms that allow us to live. I can’t consume more than what I need at the expense of their lives.
I don’t have the right to do so even if I had the money. We need to start from somewhere. In our culture, the idea was not actually to consume, but to share. I come from a town, my family was quite well off, but everyone played on the streets under equal and fair conditions. Like all children, I walked barefoot. Food was taken to the neighboring mother secretly, not in the open. Wealth was never shown off; it was just given out. I came to where I am now with what this country was able to provide me.
In that case, I am indebted. How am I going to pay this back? If I had a fortune, I would have some schools built and have some children educated. I would give everything I had. This place does not belong to me; it belongs to Turkey. I have handed everything over to the foundation. But my debt is not yet resolved. I am paying off the rest by reading more, learning more, and sharing more. Now, you are going to help me too.
Take note of what is written on the cover: “The Global Terror of Food and Medicine.” They wrote it based on references. I’m starting: “Company so-and-so has a study conducted on cosmetics and the chemicals they contain. The results of the study were sent to the press on November 19, 2009. According to the study, women using various cosmetics are exposed to four hundred types of chemicals, many of which are dangerous. While daily moisturizing creams are likely to have thirty different chemicals, some perfumes contained four hundred kinds of chemicals.
Possible side effects are allergies, cancer, and hormonal disorders. In a separate study carried out in England, it was revealed that 70 percent of women are not concerned by the chemicals in the cosmetics they use. The most important danger revealed by this study is actually that the majority of society has little knowledge on such matters and is not concerned with the contents of the substances they use. Among the body powders, the worst are the ones that contain talcum.
But they rub them on babies…
They just don’t know. That’s how it goes. Now, by sharing this information with you, I have paid some of my debts. It is your turn now. You are indebted too; you must share these.
FORESTS ON RED ALERT
According to Global Forest Resources Evaluation Report (2010) prepared by Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, the loss of biological diversity in forests has reached alarming levels. In tropical forests, nearly one hundred plant and animal species are disappearing every day!
Having seen that one of the biggest problems in Turkey was erosions while he was traveling Turkey searching for new species and inspecting natural life, Hayrettin Karaca founded TEMA Foundation together with his close friend Nihat Gökyiğit in 1992 to raise awareness on this issue throughout the country.
ANADOLUJET MEMORIAL FOREST
The 30,000-sapling “AnadoluJet Memorial Forest” was established on a 42- acre area in Çubuk, Mutlu Village, on the Şabanözü highway in Ankara, in a collaboration between AnadoluJet and the General Directorate of Forests, with the added support of our valued passengers and personnel.