From sharing platforms to ride shares, cycling to eco-friendly workshops, spend this summer doing something good for your soul and the earth. Sharing is caring about the earth. There is now a variety of innovative ways to practice this philosophy in Turkey. In Istanbul especially, there are a series of creative options to experience a sense of community and sharing as a means to learn ways to promote sustainability and ultimately decrease your carbon footprint, which is of such critical importance during this era of concern about climate change.
The following are a number of innovative platforms and organizations, which are keeping the spirit of community, sharing and reciprocity alive for the ultimate betterment of the earth:
The Armağan Uçuşturma Çemberi, is an exchange circle on Facebook inspired by the notion of a barter economy, which is a mode of trade where valuables are transferred (not sold) without any form of future reward. Members share their needs for certain items or services or post valuables they have to offer, thereby creating a circle of recycling in which items are re-utilized and given a whole new life and purpose.
Eşya Kütüphanesi (Library of Stuff), which was started in late 2012 by two young female entrepreneurs, is an easy and fun sharing platform that also connects lenders with borrowers through their website esyakutuphanesi.com and social media. Location is the main criteria used to connect people with a variety of 'things' such as sports equipment, electronics, clothes, books and furniture they may need or want to give.
Zumbara, a Turkish abbreviation for "time" (zaman) and "piggy bank" (kumbara), is another innovative platform started in 2011 where talents and experiences are exchanged for time rather than money. Imagination is the limit when it comes to what kind of services are on offer. You simply need to spend some time doing something for others in order to be able to receive other people's time for assistance in anything ranging from language lessons, scriptwriting, video editing, yoga or dance classes. The sky really is the limit!
With nearly 10 million cars in the country, it is obvious that travelling by private vehicle is the preferred method of transportation in Turkey. The only problem is that the majority of cars on the road have only the driver and the remaining seats are empty. There are two useful websites that provide an easy and efficient platform for drivers and passengers to organize sharing a vehicle, thereby reducing carbon emissions, saving money and relieving traffic. Yolyola. com is a ridesharing website connecting drivers and passengers who want to carpool on self-designated routes while cutting costs and reducing their carbon footprint. Ortakaraba.com is a similar carpooling website, which connects drivers and virtual "hitchhikers" for rides across the country.
The best form of transportation in terms of cutting down on carbon emissions and keeping fit at the same time is undoubtedly cycling, which is becoming more and more popular in Turkey.
Bisikletliulasim.com is a website focused on improving conditions for cycling as a mode of transport. They also operate a nationwide map that charts bike paths, bicycle repair shops and bike-friendly establishments. Critical Mass Istanbul is Turkey's branch of a monthly biking event that takes place in cities worldwide. Usually held on a Saturday afternoon, a large group of cyclists in Istanbul gather at a designated spot announced on their Facebook page and then tour the city en masse.
The Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living works to support, create and promote ecological awareness and methods of sustainability and regularly offers workshops, courses and events geared toward offering solutions to support living in harmony with nature. This summer they will be hosting a selection of films centered on the theme of sustainability in addition to offering courses on a variety of ecological-themed topics such as natural nutrition, composting and medicinal plants.
The Permaculture Research Institute of Turkey also offers courses centered on sustainable living. Permaculture is the development of sustainable and self-sufficient agricultural ecosystems and includes ecological design, engineering and architecture modeled after natural ecosystems. In mid-July, there will be a course offered on applied practical permaculture at home, which will teach participants the ethics and design principles of permaculture and how to implement them in an urban setting as well as offer alternative solutions for consumers to make betterinformed decisions in city living.