How to save nature and humanity?
It would be a very long list if the past year’s mass tree cuttings were all counted. Even the list of what happened in the past two weeks makes one’s heart ache: In the inner Aegean town of Soma, villagers woke up one morning to see that bulldozers had flattened all of the olive groves. For the thermal power plant of Kolin, 1,000 trees were cut illegally. There was a lot of baton beating, kicking and handcuffing of the villagers… The cuffs were still on even on the way to the hospital…
In Istanbul’s Validebağ grove, heavy machinery came in the early hours of the morning. The municipality is defending itself by saying, “They do not want a mosque to be built,” the well-known religious agitation.
No sir. What people are opposing is not the mosque. They are against the killing of the trees.
Trees on the Gölköy Campus of the Abant İzzet Baysal University in the Central Anatolian city of Bolu have reportedly been cut down to build a road. The rector says, “We will plant as many as we have cut down.”
In southern city of Adana, again, a dawn operation in the yard of a hospital: Pine trees as old as 60-70 years were cut to build an annex building. The hospital recently leased a plot for 49 years. Don't ask, they say, “If they needed space, why did they lease their land?”
Even the trees in the cemeteries get their share. In Istanbul’s Esenyurt district, trees have been cut down in the Fatih district in a cemetery for “landscape planning.” It was only one month ago, in the Black Sea town of Ulubey, where trees were being cut for “cemetery planning.”
After the Soma mine disaster in May, everybody, including leftists and rightists, was criticizing “wild capitalism.” But our reactions are not sustainable; we forget.
Even in the middle of the most vulgar form of wild capitalism’s ecologic destruction, we underestimate the profit-loving, irreversible acts that damage the planet.
People are in a spiral of production, distribution and consumption for their living, an order that disregards their human needs. To play this game, everybody has to have something to exchange, money or labor. In an economy estranged from human beings, consumption is based on market value not human needs. Put nature on top of the list of human needs. This order is the chief reason of the ecological crisis that the world and Turkey are experiencing - the crisis that our country is denying.
Joel Kovel, in his book the “Enemy of Nature,” says that policies trying to preserve forest ecosystems do attract attention, but maintains that the negative course will not be stopped. In other words, the world rapidly destroyed by capitalism will not be saved with reforms.
Kovel believes that only an eco-socialist system will be the savior. It targets the redistribution of resources, excludes sexism, racism and classism. It is a theory that re-equilibrates nature.
It is not new either. It is a human response that is worth pondering in this giant construction site we have been trapped in the past years, where we hear of a work-place related murder or the destruction of a forest every other day.
It is a proposal aiming at the formation of a new economy that prioritizes human benefits, is based on real needs and balanced consumption, protecting the climate and nature.
You can find this impossible or romantic, but we definitely need to find a way out.
The way things stand, we will hit a wall.