It was an important day for the green cause as first lady Emine Erdoğan debuted the book "The World Is Our Common Home," which was put together under her leadership and features the inspiring stories of 28 environmental volunteers.
Authors, athletes, artists, chefs and representatives of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who have raised awareness with many significant names and environmentalist initiatives from Turkey and abroad have written about their experiences with the environment in the collection of stories published by Turkuvaz Publishing.
Inviting humanity to mobilize for a livable world, the names drew attention to many different issues in their personal stories, from the cleanliness of the sea and oceans to the protection of wildlife, sustainable fashion and the concept of waste-free culinary culture.
"I humbly tried to tell my own story and that of the Zero Waste Project. I wanted the spirit of the Zero Waste Project, which gained great appreciation in international platforms, to reach more people."
"Climate change is the most important problem of our century," the first lady emphasized.
"Climate change affects every aspect of life, from the economy to technology, from food and water resources to human rights. Our natural resources are depleting rapidly. The increase in hard-to-live areas is increasing the population of ‘climate refugees.’ We are the last generation to turn the tide. We are obliged to do this responsibility on our shoulders just," she stated.
The first lady touched upon the numerous environmental initiatives taken by the Turkish people throughout history.
"Our relationship with nature is the mirror of civilization," she said. "The world’s first and most perfect environmental regulation, the first animal hospital, and countless foundations dedicated to nature and creatures are the works of our civilization. All of these are the product of seeing nature not as the other, but as a blessing of the Creator to be thankful for."
Erdoğan also touched upon the cover of the book. "On the front of our book you’ll see the Kauai, an endemic bird. Learning that the recording of its sound in 1987 was the last song it ever sung on Earth had affected me deeply," she said. "This bird, left our common home the world, eternally. Every day, without even us knowing, many things disappear. I cried a lot for that bird."
The presentation of the book was held in the garden of the Presidential Complex in Ankara.
Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum stated Wednesday that Turkey operates with the awareness that all living things and the future of the world must be fought for.
In his speech, Kurum said the world is going through a bottleneck, with consumption steadily increasing with modern life and competition turning into jealousy, ultimately resulting in human unhappiness.
"Our consumption is increasing, we continue to use our resources as if our resources will never run out. Of course, it will be possible to reverse this situation that threatens our lives, only with the struggle we will do together, and to get out of this bottleneck, we will all have to come together and fight for this cause in order to offer a better future for our children, our future and our youth."
Kurum emphasized that consumption habits need to be changed.
"We know that we must fight for all living things that breathe; trees, forests, our future, our world our common home, and we act with this awareness. Every project we have done, every step we take is in order to leave a cleaner, more beautiful and greener Turkey for our future and our children and to fight together for our world, under the umbrella of the Zero Waste Project. I would like to express my gratitude to the honorable Emine Erdoğan, who supports us in all of our projects."
Kurum also drew happiness from the decision to launch the book during Turkey Environment Week announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, noting that the first lady has always supported environmental projects and stood by the ministry in all projects related to the coasts, lakes and the environment.
Expressing his hope that the book will prove beneficial, Kurum thanked everyone who supported the project.