Keep it alive to survive

Ediz Hun points out that provided the politicians end fighting, war on terror is ended, “We” approach rather than “I” approach is placed and the success to make the functionless people “to make functional” is achieved, the environmental awareness in Turkey will rise and the development rate will accelerate.

Although Turkish people have recognized him as one of the famous juvenile actors of the Turkish moviemaking industry, he is today one of the major activists with his efforts on raising the environmental awareness. We are talking about Ediz Hun. After having won the first place in a contest organized by “Ses Dergisi” (The Voice Magazine) in 1963, Ediz Hun made a stride into movie sector by playing the lead role of “Genç Kızlar” (Young Girls) opposite Hulya Koçyigit. Hun, who leaded about some 129 movies until the mid-1970s, decided to quit the movie sector due to the chaos in the Turkish cinema sector and to focus his energies on environment. He studied ecology, marine biology and environmental sciences in Norway Oslo and Trondheim universities. Ediz Hun today is one of the unique personalities of Turkey as a person who has already won the favor of every single one as a senior biologist, lecturer and politician as well as his acting past. Withdrawing the attention of the world by reproducing the giant reptile Iguana iguana for the first time outside of its natural environment, he owns most unique and specific collection of Europe consisting of 3,000 different species of cactuses. Ediz Hun is still sharing his knowledge, experience and wisdom regarding environmental awareness in his column “Yeşil Sayfa” (Green Page) in daily Turkiye Newspaper. He also explained nature-human relations in details in his recent bestseller book “Yaşat ki Yaşayasın” (Keep it alive to Survive). We have conducted an exclusive interview with Ediz Hun on sustainable development, raising the environmental awareness and Turkey’s position regarding environmental awareness.

How should nature-human relationships be shaped in socio-economic development?

As you know I give conferences in this subject. The environmentalist movement which started with the Stockholm Conference in 1972 has gotten off the ground slowly and has grown since then. It was handled in a broad manner with the Bruntland Report that was published in 1987 and has been internalized in the United Nations as one of the most fundamental principles. We continue to live today in a world where a great process of development occurs. Many sectors contribute to that development in the best way within that process of development, and they will continue this contribution. Considering the relationships between the nature and the human in the socio-economic development, I try to emphasize that the sensitivity should not be abandoned which must be shown in the relationships between the nature and the human in this current process of development, and to emphasize the significance of the nature systems in both the social life and the economic life which follows the social life in the same manner.

Sustainability involves permanently sustainable development in both the economic and the ecological and social realms. Can you evaluate the ecological aspect of sustainability?

There are various biotopes in the ecosystems. It is important to protect them and allow them to go on their lives for the following generations. They may include various families of bugs, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. Their continuity is essential for our children and grandchildren in the following generations to be able to observe them in the nature, to study them and to collect gene reserves due to their professions. For a sustainable development that fact should never be ignored. Today the sustainable life has come to the forefront rather than the sustainable development. It was stated also in the United Nations that a sustainable development can only be possible together with a sustainable life.

Turkey is also a developing country today. Various attempts are performed both for the development of the cities and for assuring the development of the rural areas by conveying there more technical means. We are satisfied about that. Of course, no environmentalist is against the development. But it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the protection of the environment in this process of development. We try to achieve this. Our lives depend on our keeping of the nature alive as can be understood from the title of my published book “Keep it alive to survive”. If we kill our ambience, we also risk our lives. One must live nested in the nature and must be aware that life is impossible without nature. No person, no family, no society or no country can live among only the piles of concrete. Only in the nature, in that beauty, with that enthusiasm, the sense of aesthetics can develop and the protective instinct can arise. Hence we should never give up the nature.

Today an increasing value is placed on energy and raw material efficiency in the whole textile production and distribution chain. How can this challenge can be handled?

The requirement for energy increases each passing day. The population of the world which was 1 Billion in 1830s reached 2 Billion after 102 years, then the interval narrowed and it reached 4 Billion in 1975 after approximately 43 years, in 2000 it reached 6.2 Billion and in 2013 reached 7.2 Billion. In the developed countries where the level of the civilization is high a controlled population growth is in the forefront. First largest six nations in the world population are China, India, the USA, Indonesia, Brasilia and Pakistan. If we leave USA aside, we will see the fact that the rest of the countries have not an effective development parameter. China has succeeded to control the population increase with very effective measures. But India could not manage this because such an approach is not acceptable by Hindus. So, India takes the lead among the fastest growing population in the world.

We use nonrenewable energy resources such as coal, oil and natural gas today. These resources removed from underground like gold and diamond will be exhausted one day. Coke was formed as a result of carbonization of trees before 400 million years and lignite coal was made as a result of not being able to completion of metamorphosis of those coking coal. That time two large continents, which Laurasia on the Northern hemisphere and Gondwanaland on the Southern hemisphere, were present in our earth. The rest of the earth was covered with the Paratehthys Sea. There were billions of living creatures under that sea. Their dead bodies and subsidence produced the oil. Briefly, there is very limited amount of oil in the world. The situation will be worse after 7-8 decades by exhausting or very costly even if not completely finished and will not be effective for conventional usage at all. Reserves for coal and natural can made use of some longer time. So, we need new energy resources. Scientists are painstakingly working for this. These alternative energies are visible especially as sun, wind and wave and also as hydrogen at the forefront.

However, the humanity will certainly solve that energy issue. What is important is not to solve the energy issue, but rather to keep the population under control. The population of the world is now 7 Billion. What will happen when it reaches 10 Billion? Turkey has now a population of 75 Million. What will happen when it reaches 150 Million? I have been teaching at the university for years. I raise students. Only when the financial problems are solved, the children can find jobs, marry and furnish their homes. I think that rather than increasing the population, it is necessary to provide the existing young people with job opportunities and to increase their level of welfare. I think that is the primary issue. Consequently, I think that there are two important issues in Turkey which have to be solved. The first is certainly the war on terror. Ataturk’s saying “Peace at home, peace in the world” is very important. We demand to reach the peace. As a father, as a mother, first of all as a human, the destruction of our brightest youth for the sake of nothing at a very young age is inadmissible. And the second issue is the provision of job opportunities to young people. Today the government should attempt to direct the youth to the business life irrespective of whether they graduated from the university or not, if they are raised in arts, or even when they graduated from the primary school, and to obtain the most efficient labor from them.

Sustainability has become a management topic which has been intensively discussed recently ever more than before. What made the topic this intriguing?

Sustainability is important for continuity. I do not like the word “enough” at all. Nothing should suffice. I am an actor, an artist. In spite of the fact that I have produced many movies in the art of cinema, I have never considered myself satisfying. I am still a trainee. I am reborn by each new movie, I learn new things. I do not accept a word that is “enough”. It is stated that “Turkey’s development is sufficient”. That may not come into question. The development goes on forever. In that regard we should not use the word “enough” either. Turkey should go on to work hard. Since Turkey is now in a much better position with its large population of 75 Million than the EU Countries such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland, etc. though it has not been able to enter into the EU, it deserves its position in return for its efforts. What is important is to direct the young people and to show the ability to make the functionless people “to be functioned”.

How should manufacturing companies in Turkey view their obligation to the environment?

The ambition of individual benefit and rise must be taken under control in Turkey. We must learn to say “we” rather than “I”. We experience that during the traffic. The driving person does not give way. He wants to pass by and get ahead. As a result he wants to reach his destination sooner. That is a manifestation of “the ego”. We must control our egos. Union makes strength and synergy. Once you say we instead of “I” beautiful works arise. Turkey should at first accept that. And secondly the environment should not be refrained from. The industrial leaders claim that the environmentalists do not support them, but that is not true.

We naturally support our industry and the systems working in the industry. But to improve and develop that industry all related parties should manage protection of the environment. Many of them are self-interested kind of people although they are educated people. There are chemical companies which carry their barrels to empty lands by trucks. Everybody has to be very strict for these issues. People have to be trained in these issues and should be conscious rather than utilizing penalties. Training could be educational systems to be held at municipalities, for example. The training of personnel on environment, importance of alternative energies, planning for the works and strategies for the future is very important. For the municipalities are formed by the people elected by the nation, they are of extra importance.

One of the issues about the environmentally friendly approaches, which I appreciate very much, is the excellent performance of the Deportment of the Parks Gardens and Green Fields of Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul. They plant well-planned, aesthetical and well-organized trees and flowers to offer excellent and lovely areas for the people. Their works show that it is possible to realize admirable works when considered seriously. Besides municipalities, the private sector should also be conscious of this issue.

At what point you see Turkey regarding sustainable development and environmental awareness?

If right friendship, brotherliness is established in Turkey and all people embrace and hug each other no matter what ethnical origin they are, there will be a good synergy which will accelerate our development. For this reason, the politicians should not be fighting. Their fighting functions as an example and the nation starts committing the same. The politicians should respect each other. I, for instance, never vote for the favor of the fighter no matter how right they are. I vote for the ones, who are cool, gentle, tolerate, and who act softly even if they face an affront. The fight of today’s politicians is unacceptably harsh. One side will sacrifice the other for nothing. We should get rid of this. People take the politicians as examples. We constantly watch them on TV. Their attitudes towards or against each other have big affects on us; positively or negatively. So, they should always offer us good examples and people should not be fighting. As an individual of the society and as a person who knows the society very well and as a person whom the society loves very much, I speak on behalf of the society. The society doesn’t want fighting but peace, welfare, happiness and love. No matter what ethnic origin they come from, people should respect each other. When we manage this we will be more successful and our development trend will go up.