‘If we vanish, we vanish together’

‘If we vanish, we vanish together’

Climate talks were ongoing in Paris for two weeks, but somehow our media was not very interested in them.
We’d rather monitor the developments on the chaos in the Middle East, where greed, power and ambition play quite a role.

Of course we would be interested in them because people either die or are dislocated. But what we do not see is that unless immediate and thorough action is taken, in a not-so-distant future, people will maybe die from climate change, not wars.

There are two poles in the climate change issue. One side does not care at all actually. While companies are trying to flex their carbon-reduction targets, certain counties are fine with that. 

While the U.S. hammered Kyoto, now Obama is engaged in a role at the Paris conference in an attempt to look good. 

The U.S., Norway and Saudi Arabia oppose certain aspects regarding human rights. 

Turkey’s position is pathetic. While Turkey’s solar and wind energy targets are much lower and while it is making energy plans based on coal-fuelled thermic power plants multiple times more than renewable energy, Morocco has set a 14 percent share target both in solar and wind energy for 2020. While Morocco is allocating 9 percent for costs to harmonize with climate change, Turkey is continuing to invest in concrete and asphalt-based projects. 

Turkey, from the beginning, based its climate policies on the argument that it should not be compared with developed countries. Maybe it was right but even if we are compared with Morocco, if the picture is like that, then, as Önder Algedik said, this is more of a political stance regardless of economic development status. 

I just arrived in Paris and could only catch the end of the talks. While I was following the talks from a distance for two weeks, there was one speech that has earned its place in my mind and in my heart. 

Mundiya Kepanga is the leader of the Hulis tribe in Papua New Guinea. “Your powerful men living attached to their cell phones are no different than our chatterboxes over there at home,” Kepanga said. Somebody who is defined as “primitive” within “Western norms” can see, at one glance, those who are ruling the “civilized” world do not do much but talk.  

Kepanga said retirement homes were filled with well-fed but extremely lonely people. He also explained how climate change affected food production, adding, “Beware of people who are trying to destroy your forests.” 

These words of Kepanga’s ancestors should not be neglected otherwise huge prices will be paid:

“He said when the world was created, the forest was created and the trees were born, and my ancestors have always lived there.” People and trees are siblings. 

Just as our forests today are plundered for residential areas and energy investments, the ones in Kepanga’s country are being destroyed by reckless loggers. 

The destruction may be unfolding far from Paris, but it’s as near, he warned, as our next breath of air.

“We might not look the same, dress alike or speak the same language, but we’re all linked in a global community by the natural systems we depend on to survive,” Kepanga said. 

Kepanga’s words, “I do not know how to read or to write. […] It is with my eyes I am going to testify, and with my heart I am going to testify,” go directly into hearts.

His words, “My forest is not mine [alone], it is yours as well… If we vanish, we vanish together,” should be taken and put on American, Chinese and Turkish walls.