According to news agency Haber Türk, Turkey experienced 503 forest fires between July 20 and August 20 that destroyed 1,344 hectares (3,321 acres) of land, the equivalent of 1244 football pitches.

Climate change and wildfires - a vicious circle
Turkey has experienced 503 forest fires in one month

We’ve talked quite a bit about climate change and forest fires recently and for that we make no apology.

Whilst there are many adverse effects created by climate change, the increase in the number of fires is terrifying – the Amazon Rainforests (The “Lungs of the Earth”) have been burning for three weeks straight, having a deadly impact on climate change.

We all need to do what we can to stop climate change!

Climate change in Turkey

Turkey is among the countries at high risk from the effects of climate change due to its unique geographical features and is already seeing a warming trend in temperatures and a decreasing trend in precipitation.

Science suggests that over the past few decades, the number of wildfires has increased globally and as Turkey swelters in heatwaves, an unusual number of forest fires have swept across many areas causing thousands of acres of devastation and destroying the ecosystem and habitats of many species of wildlife.

Well documented scientific evidence shows that climate change increases the length of the fire season, the size of the area burned each year and the number of wildfires.

Drier conditions and higher temperatures increase not only the likelihood of a wildfire occurring, but also the duration and the severity of the wildfire.

Forest fires and climate change operate in a vicious cycle

In a recent statement on the wildfire that has been burning in the Amazon for three weeks, Greenpeace said forest fires and climate change operate in a vicious circle. As the number of fires increase, greenhouse gas emissions do too. This makes the planet’s overall temperature rise, the organisation said. As the temperature increases, extreme weather events happen more often. 

Climate change and wildfires - a vicious circle
The ‘Lungs of the Earth’ are on fire. The Amazon rainforest, which produces 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and is home to 10% of the Earth’s diversities, has been burning for the last three weeks at an unprecedented rate. 
Climate change and wildfires - a vicious circle
The Amazon Rainforest fire will have a deadly impact on climate change

Turkey battles climate change

Turkey has initiated a plan to to battle climate change which includes:

The zero waste project: encouraging the most efficient use of resources by preventing or minimizing the amount of waste generated.

The project has been running for 19 months, during which time:

  • 126.1 tons of paper and cardboard were recycled, preventing the cutting of 2,142 trees.
  • 49 tons of plastic waste were recycled, saving 798.7 barrels of petroleum.
  • A total of 25.5 tons of raw materials were saved by recycling 8.7 tons of glass waste and 11.5 tons of metal waste
  • 3.7 tons of compost were produced from 9.1 tons of organic waste and used for growing vegetables and fruits.
  • Biodiesel was produced by recycling waste vegetable oil, mineral oil was produced by recycling waste motor oil, and raw materials were produced by recycling electronic waste.
  • According to the data available, the return from the first 19 months of the project was 807,341 kilowatt-hours of energy, 3,528 cubic meters of water, 1,490 cubic meters of storage space, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 25.6 tons.

Turkey is making huge strides into sustainable building, with properties and public buildings becoming more energy efficient and green. If you’re thinking of buying a property consider one that makes efficient use of resources and energy with minimal impact on the environment. 

Turkey now charges customers 0.25 kuruş for each plastic bag, reducing usage in supermarket chains by 80 percent.

What can we do to help stop climate change?

There are many debates about climate change; how we ended up in this position and who is to blame. Whilst these arguments rage on, our planet is dying!

If everyone revises their lifestyle and makes changes to reduce their carbon footprint we can make changes for a better and greener world.

You may ask, How do we do that? It’s easier than you think.

Leyla Temiz of The Aware Co. shared her thoughts with us:

A message from Leyla

We all need to be making responsible changes to our lifestyle now for the sake of our planet and our future generations.

The war on plastic is dominating current environmental news, and although there’s no denying the dire situation our world is in when it comes to safe waste disposal and plastic pollution, it is just the tip of a very delicate iceberg.

Start to question your purchasing habits. The next time you buy an item, whether it’s a coffee, a t-shirt or a lipstick, just stop for a moment and consider the journey it has taken to the store, the processes it has been through, its water footprint (the amount of water needed to grow, harvest, process and transport a product; a kilo of roasted coffee requires around 20,000 litres of water). Buy locally grown, seasonal fruit & veg (we don’t NEED that 10 lira mango in the supermarket). Reduce or cut out meat.

Avoid fast fashion, repair damaged clothes, revive well-worn garments by altering or embellishing, buy vintage or second hand, attend a local clothes swap, and if buying new then opt for quality purchases which will last years.

Consolidate trips in your car to reduce emissions (and save money), if possible then cycle or walk to run errands.

Gift homemade / handmade items, plants, experiences. Cut down on air travel. Have conversations with people from different walks of life to share opinions, ideas, hopes and fears.

The key mantra we all should be living by right now is ‘reduce, reduce, reduce’.

It’s not easy as we’re breaking the shackles of decades of ‘joyful’ consumerism, but if the planet stands any chance of being steered onto a brighter course we desperately need to challenge and change the system -starting now!

Leyla Temiz of The Aware Co

Climate change and wildfires - a vicious circle
Photo Credit: The Aware Co.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” — Jane Goodall

Sources: Greenpeace/Daily Sabah/UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Turkey

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