As the human population increases and the world’s resources are rapidly depleted, our need for sustainable life awareness is increasing day by day. In order to closely examine the concept of sustainability, President of the International Sustainable Living Association Prof. Dr. We asked Emine Aksoydan what we were curious about.
1. How do you define a sustainable life?
Sustainable life; It defines a lifestyle that includes the effective, careful and responsible use of the natural resources of the individual or society, the world’s natural resources and individuals’ personal resources. Incorporating sustainability into lifestyles means individuals are aware of the impact of their choices on food, product and energy use.
2. What are the improvements that the sustainable life philosophy aims to create in public awareness?
Sustainability is a dynamic process that preserves and improves the balance between nature and humans. A sustainable future; For the quality of life and welfare of present and future generations, it means the correct use of natural resources, environmentally friendly nutrition and food systems, the use of environmentally friendly technology, the use of renewable energy, a healthy environment, equal distribution of resources, economic welfare and social justice simultaneously.
United Nations Environment and Development Commission, the concept of sustainability “is to provide the development level that can meet today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” as defined.
Sustainability can be achieved by people making the right choices for life. Wrong choices harm both the environment and human health. According to the World Health Organization, 13 million deaths worldwide and approximately one quarter of the world’s diseases are caused by preventable environmental causes. Nutrition, sedentary life and environmental pollution are among the environmental reasons. These reasons can be eliminated with a sustainable lifestyle.
3. According to this concept, how should habits such as nutrition, relationship with nature, clothing, shelter be shaped?
The planet we live on is rudely used by people. All needs, from the energy used to clothing and nutrition, the most basic need for survival, are largely met by damaging the planet, and a positive recycling is not possible for this damage. However, if we start to change our lifestyle practices and habits in a positive way right now, we can stop the deterioration from the current situation.
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The most basic approach for this is practices aimed at reducing the amount of carbon emitted to the planet. From a nutritional point of view, there is a high level of carbon emission for animal foods, especially red meat production. All processes from feeding animals that provide red meat to reaching our table as food damage the planet and nature. So, the first thing to do is to reduce the consumption of red meat and other animal-based foods and switch to plant-based nutrition.
Another factor that causes increasing carbon emission is the distance the food travels until it reaches our table. The farther the food we consume is produced or packaged from the region we live in, the more carbon it emits. For this reason, we can contribute to sustainability by consuming local foods and seasonal, natural and unpackaged foods.
Another important issue in nutrition is food waste. 1.3 billion tons (1/3) of the 3.9 billion tons of food produced annually in the world is wasted. In response to this waste, more than 800 million people are facing hunger. However, these wasted foods are enough to feed four times more people than 800 million. We should adopt an approach that prevents waste of food in our eating habits, and we should not take more than the amount we will consume on our plate, and we should prevent the remaining bread and meals from being thrown away.
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Not to waste water by careful use in our relations with nature, pesticides, pesticides, etc. that will harm animal and vegetation. It is important and priority to adopt a lifestyle that will reduce our carbon footprint, such as not using chemicals, reducing the use of paper, not using disposable plastics such as plastic bottles, planting trees, reducing waste, giving importance to recycling, and not using fossil fuels.
In the selection of clothes, we can contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions by choosing natural materials (cotton, linen, etc.) instead of those produced from artificial (synthetic etc.) materials. Synthetic clothes and plastic products both directly harm human health and cause pollution of the seas and oceans and the death of the living creatures living in these waters with the microplastics they release into waste water when washed. In addition, trying to protect body temperature with thick clothes instead of using heating devices such as radiators and air conditioners in winter will contribute to the protection of nature by reducing fossil fuel consumption.
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Care should be taken to use natural materials in the environments we live in for shelter, pay attention to thermal insulation and use natural heat (such as solar energy) instead of warming with fossil fuels.
4. Could you tell us about the Sustainable Living Association (SUYADER)? What are your projects and works that will provide benefit in raising awareness of the society in the field of sustainability?
Sustainable Living Association (SUYADER), within the scope of sustainable life, to make our world more livable, to use limited resources more efficiently and to leave a better world to future generations, to produce information and to transform this knowledge into life practice by academicians, social scientists and project management experts in 2018. was established in.
In today’s world, the number of people who are unhappy and have concerns about the future are rapidly increasing as a result of increasing population, fast consumption, sedentary life, wrong eating habits, concrete cities, economic instability. Chronic diseases, problems in access to clean and safe water, food insecurity and hunger are the leading problems that threaten all societies in the future.
SUYADER; In order to prevent the rapid growth of these problems, it plans and realizes activities and activities that will enable the individuals who make up the society to contribute to a sustainable life by providing information, guidance and consultancy services to individuals, families, society and all other stakeholders related to sustainability through projects, researches and publications.
Although SUYADER is in its first year of establishment, it has carried out many activities. In March 2019 the first-ever International Sustainable Living in Turkey by organizing the Congress sustainable living has led to the issues under discussion with international experts. At the end of the congress, the topics discussed in the congress and the presentations of the academicians were published as e-book and the solutions related to these current issues were made permanent. The second of this congress will be held in 2021.
In cooperation with local governments and other non-governmental organizations, we produce and realize projects within the scope of sustainable living. For example, we are carrying out the “Alzheimer Day Care Center” project with Ankara Yenimahalle Municipality and the “Toxic Tables” project with the Buğday Association.
We organize conferences in primary and secondary schools and universities to raise awareness of children and young people about a sustainable life. We train the staff of municipalities and other institutions. In the coming days, we will launch a comprehensive campaign on “prevention of food waste”.
5. How can the basic steps to be taken in order to develop sustainable life awareness?
First of all, “Why is sustainable life important?” It is necessary for every individual living in the community to learn the answer to the question and increase their awareness on this issue. We have to leave a more livable Earth for future generations and it is necessary to use the current resources consciously.
We should reconsider our lifestyle habits and change any behavior that harms nature in a positive way. These behaviors; nutrition, transportation, purchasing, waste, clothing, physical activity, respecting the lives of animals and plants, defending the rights of disadvantaged groups, fair sharing.
To leave a more livable World for future generations:
- Reducing the consumption of foods that harm nature in its production,
- Nutrition in season and with local foods,
- Supporting local producers,
- Using nature-friendly means of transportation,
- Do not buy as much as we need and spend unnecessarily,
- Repairing rather than throwing items that can be repaired,
- Reducing the use of plastic,
- Not using single use plastics,
- Avoiding waste in shopping for food, clothes and goods, purchasing as much as we need,
- Waste reduction,
- Using clothes made of nature-friendly materials,
- Pesticides and chemical cleaning agents, pesticides, etc. discontinue use and use natural ones,
- Being physically active,
- Do not pollute the seas,
- Not harming animals and plants,
- Planting trees,
- Supporting the disabled, displaced, individuals in need of assistance and observing their rights,
- Paying attention to equality in income distribution,
- We have to be sensitive about loving and protecting all living things.