Environment and Ecology

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Turkey: “May Our Forests Never Thin Out”

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By  J.E. Nigros

Turkey - Karabuk Yenice Forrests

The people of Turkey have long been aware of the unique biodiversity of their country and the importance of preserving natural habitats. More than a millennium ago, the folk poet Dede Korkut wrote this prayer:

May our big shade tree never be cut down

May our forests never thin out

May our clear running streams never dry up

May we never be deprived of hope

May our wings never be broken

May our household fire keep burning

While Dede Korkut’s prayer seems to consign the fate of the environment to Allah and to chance, modern Turkish people know they must pass laws and enforce environmental policies to protect their environment.

Since the 1950’s, Turkey has been developing its environmental policies. Since 1997, the rules of the Convention of Biological Diversity have been in force. Turkey is a party to all relevant international conventions having to do with the conservation of biodiversity. According to the ever-evolving document, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Turkish legislation, however, has never been “harmonized from a consistent environmental point of view which presents frequent problems of overlap and lack of legal mandates for institutions.”


KuzeyDoga Society

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KuzeyDoğa Derneği

KuzeyDoga Society


KuzeyDoga Society was established on January 28, 2008 in the province of Kars in northeastern Turkey. We are mainly interested in birds and their habitats, doing scientific research, organizing environmental education programs for kids and youth, raising awareness among local people about nature, providing training and capacity development opportunities for youth, promoting nature friendly tourism activities and cooperating with local, national and international organizations for the nature protection of Kars, Igdir, Ardahan, Artvin and Agri provinces in north-eastern Turkey.


Dr. Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu

Dr. Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu

Born in 1975 in Istanbul, Turkey. He studied biology and antropology at Harvard University and is currently a senior scientist at Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology, specializing in community-based conservation, ecology, ornithology, and tropical biology. His doctoral research focused on the causes and consequences of bird extinctions around the world. He has conducted ornithological fieldwork in Alaska, Angola, Colorado, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Turkey and Uganda to investigate the ecological factors behind the extinction-proneness of certain groups, such as tropical understory insectivores. He has an extensive ongoing bird ringing and radio tracking study in Costa Rica to understand the factors behind the disappearance and survival of tropical forest bird species in human-dominated landscapes. He has compiled and continues to analyze a database of all the world's bird species to understand the distributions and determinants of avian life history traits and extinction correlates, and to assess the implications of avian extinctions on bird-mediated ecosystem processes and services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, and control of insect outbreaks. İn addition to his empirical research, he is currently conducting community-based conservation projects in Ethiopia and Turkey. His objectives are to integrate conservation education, research, capacity building and income generation, to increase the contribution of ecotourism, especially birdwatching, to community-based conservation in the developing world, and to improve the role of the private sector in the conservation of biodiversity. His ultimate goal is to prevent extinctions and consequent collapses of critical ecosystem processes while making sure that human communities benefit from conservation as much as the wildlife they help conserve.


Hinduism and Ecology

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Buddha - ecologyThe Hindu has no authority over creatures of the earth. God (Brahman) is the efficient cause and nature, Prakrti, is the material cause of the universe. However, this division is non-dualistic in nature. They are one in the same, or perhaps better stated, they are the one in the many and the many in the one.

Despite western assertion that Hinduism is polytheistic in nature, this sort of polytheism is actually monotheistic in nature. While the Divine is manifest in many, the many are all and no less than, but not equal to the Divine.

While Hindus are not given the sort of authority over nature and creation that Judeo-Christian God grants, they are subject to a higher and more authoritative resposiblity for creation. The most important aspect of this is the doctrine of ahimsa, non-violence. Faith in this doctrine is comprehensive, Yajnavalkya Smirti warns, "the wicked person who kills animals which are protected has to live in hell fire for the days equal to the number of hairs on the body of that animal."

This doctrine's most important aspect pertains to the belief that the Supreme Being incarnates in to forms of various species.

The Hindu belief in samsara, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth encompasses reincarnation into forms other than human. It is believed that one lives 84,000 lifetimes before one becomes a man. Each species is in this process of samsara until one attains moksha, liberation. The Hindu religious goal of moksha is not salvation, and does not require forgiveness, but detachment from the material world. Though one might argue that such a goal in essence rejects the natural world as having value, the Hindu goal is to liberate one from the self, from the illusion of the material world as being separate and individual.


The Ecology of Cities

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By Stan Rowe Published in The Structurist No. 39/40: pp.17-24. 1999/2000. Address of The Structurist is: P.O. Box 378, RPO University, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask. S7N 4J8 Canada. The editor is Eli Bornstein.

Urban EcologyCities are the rich nodes of civilization, the centers of every nation's culture, its commerce, arts, and sciences, which explains why so much attention is focused on their forms, their structures, and their internal functions.  Much less attention has been paid to outer ties, relating the city ecologically to its larger geographic setting: the primary focus of this article.

Like coral reefs, cities are complex ecosystems: three-dimensional physical bodies, a close fusion of organic and inorganic components.  Analogous to individual organisms, each volumetric city ecosystem depends not only on internal exchanges but also on outside exchanges, relying on the latter for the provision of necessary energy/materials and for the disposal of unnecessary wastes.  The far-reaching effects of energy/material inputs and outputs constitute the ecology of these peculiar human-dominated ecosystems.

Confusion results when the inner functionings of cities, their physiology, is mislabelled their ecology.  An example is the book, "The Ecological City" a collection of essays that largely deals with internal improvements of urban settlements by designing into them more of the undomesticated world.1  True, an inner ecology does exist in every urban setting, but it is not the ecology of the city; it is the ecology of people, the connections between inhabitants and the city ecosystem that envelops them.

At the ecology-of-cities level, within Earth's regions, problems are much less tractable than at the ecology-of-people level, within cities.  Uncritically mixing the two dissimilar levels fosters an unwarranted optimism about solving city problems.  Babylon and Tikal are reminders that city planning and city beautification are no hedge against the dangers of peripheral influences, especially those rendered virulent by neglect.



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Christianity and ecologyAnyone who has studied the global environmental movement has no doubt heard the term "Gaia".  Gaia is a revival of Paganism that rejects Christianity, considers Christianity its biggest enemy, and views the Christian faith as its only obstacle to a global religion centered on Gaia worship and the uniting of all life forms around the goddess of "Mother Earth".  A cunning mixture of science, paganism, eastern mysticism, and feminism have made this pagan cult a growing threat to the Christian Church.  Gaia worship is at the very heart of today's environmental policy.  The Endangered Species Act, The United Nation's Biodiversity Treaty and the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development are all offspring of the Gaia hypothesis of saving "Mother Earth".  This religious movement, with cult-like qualities, is being promoted by leading figures and organizations such as former Vice President Albert Gore, broadcaster Ted Turner, and the United Nations and it's various NGO's.  Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" is just one of many books that unabashedly proclaims the deity of Earth and blames the falling away from this Pagan God on the environmentally unfriendly followers of Jesus Christ.  The United Nations has been extremely successful in infusing the "Green Religion" into an international governmental body that has an increasing affect and control over all of our lives. 

So, what is this new cult of Gaia?  It is basically a rehashed, modernized version of the paganism condemned by God in the Bible.  Science, evolution theory, and a space age mentality have given it a new face, and made it sound more credible to a modern world, but it is the same paganism in all of its evils.  There have been other religious movements that have presented similar revelations about the deity of a living earth, but Gaia has succeeded in uniting the environmental movement, the new age movement, Eastern religions, and even the leaders of many Christian denominations behind a bastardized version of paganism where the others weren't able to. 


The UN Global Compact's Ten Principles

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The UN Global CompactThe Ten Principles  

The UN Global Compact's ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption enjoy universal consensus and are derived from:

The UN Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption:

Human Rights

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.  


  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. 


  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.   


  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. 

Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2

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Me and the Biospheres / John AllenMe and the Biospheres:
A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2

By John Allen

Anyone suffering from the Global Warming Blues will cherish this uplifting account of the most ambitious environmental experiment of our time: Biosphere 2, a miniature Earth under glass, the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology. John Allen’s memoir, Me and the Biospheres is a rich and complex narrative, filled with rollicking adventure, exceptional camaraderie and mind-bending science.

Covering three acres of Arizona desert, Biosphere 2 contained five biomes: a 900,000-gallon ocean with coral reef, a rainforest, a savannah, a desert, a farm and a micro-city, all housed within an air-tight, sealed glass and steel frame structure. Eight people lived inside for two years (1991-1993) setting world records in human life-support, monitoring their impact on the environment, while providing crucial data for future manned missions into outer space.

Almost as astonishing as the structure is the story of how it came to be. Back in 1969, Biosphere 2 was a mere seed in the luminous mind of writer, actor, philosopher, inventor, and scientist John Allen. He prepared for the manifestation of Biosphere 2 by assembling smaller projects: the creation of a ship to study ocean and river ecologies and cultures; a rainforest enrichment project; a theater group; a world-class art gallery and more. As awe-inspiring as the great cathedrals, Biosphere 2’s building and operation demanded the efforts of the most diverse team of scientists, engineers, artists and thinkers from around the world with whom John Allen worked closely for decades.


Johnny Dolphin / John Allen

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John Polk Allen, aka Johnny DolphinJohnny Dolphin is the nom de plume of John Allen
- explorer, author, poet, playwright, scientist, - in 1963 he gave up his New York international project development career to make a two year journey around the world living with the legendary avant-garde and Berber scene in Tangiers, Morocco, then continued dressed as an Arab hiking and hitch-hiking across N. Africa to the Pyramids and Karnak to study the origins of civilization. Deciding to move toward the tribal areas and explore the area of the origins of humanity, he traveled up the Nile, with tribal chiefs and shaman from the South Sudan to Lake Victoria, then journeyed on through Uganda, Kenya, to the sacred Zambezi, then returned north to stay in Swahili Mombasa before taking third class passage with refugees to the Rann of Kutch. From there he wandered through the physical and metaphysical realms of Hindu Karma yogins and Tibetan Lamas. Then he encountered America again working as a stringer to a foreign correspondent and in a hospital on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Though he had published some poetry before, he emerged as an accomplished author with the first book of his authoritative Novel of the Sixties, "Thirty-Nine Blows on a Gone Trumpet". Since then, he has chronicled a personal and social history of the essence of the places he has been through novels, poetry, short stories and plays.

John Allen, inventor and co-founder of the Biosphere 2 project - the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology. Biosphere 2 set a number of world records in closed life system work including, among others, degree of sealing tightness, 100% waste recycle and water recycle, and duration of human residence within a closed system (8 people for two years -- see www.biospherics.org ). Allen began the first manned Biosphere Test Module experiment in September, 1988, residing in the almost fully recyclable closed ecological system environment for three days and setting a world record at that time.


LEAP Trabzon 7th Working Committee Meetings have been held

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Trabzon Uzungöl

LEAP Trabzon 7th Working Committee Meetings have been held /

Under the Capacity Building in the Field of Environment Project, in the scope of third component, LEAP Trabzon Working Committee Meetings have been held on 19-20 October, 2010. 

Having facilitated by REC Turkey consultants Sema Alpan Atamer and Sinan Özden; Waste, Water and Wastewater, Air Pollution and Noise, and Zonning working committees came together and have been informed about the current situation of the LEAP studies. Also, action plans and verifiable indiators are estimated and discussed in the context of the Project. Next meetings will be held on 23-24 November 2010, in Trabzon.

For detailed information please visit LEAP Portal (www.yecep.org)


Habitat Ecology Learning Program

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Habitat Ecology Learning Program 

habitat-ecology-learning-program.jpgThe Habitat Ecology Learning Program (HELP) is an exciting interdisciplinary curriculum designed for students in the upper elementary grades. HELP encourages students to use language arts, life sciences, social studies, and math to explore the richness of ecology. This hands-on program consists of six modules: How Nature Works*, Rain Forests*, Grasslands, Wetlands, Deserts, and Temperate Forests. 

HELP is designed to be extremely flexible. It can be used as a stand-alone year-long curriculum, or incorporated into your existing program as an exciting, motivational supplement. One of the most successful approaches to integrating HELP in your school is to spread the program over grades 4–6, covering different modules each year. 

Each HELP module contains roughly 22 detailed lessons and can be taught in sequence with other modules or by itself. The lessons can be incorporated into time blocks allocated to science or other disciplines; at its core HELP is a life-science program that lends itself to interdisciplinary implementation and to team teaching. 


Biosphere 2

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Biosphere 2
is a 3.15-acre (12,700 m2)[1] structure originally built to be an artificial, materially-closed ecological system in Oracle, Arizona (USA) by Space Biosphere Ventures, a joint venture whose principal officers were John P. Allen, inventor and Executive Director, and Margret Augustine, CEO. Constructed between 1987 and 1991, it was used to explore the complex web of interactions within life systems in a structure that included five areas based on natural biomes and an agricultural area and human living/working space to study the interactions between humans, farming and technology with the rest of nature.[2] It also explored the possible use of closed biospheres in space colonization, and allowed the study and manipulation of a biosphere without harming Earth's. The name comes from Earth’s biosphere, Biosphere 1, Earth's life system and the only biosphere currently known. Funding for the project came primarily from the joint venture’s financial partner, Ed Bass' Decisions Investment, and cost $200 million from 1985 to 2007, including land, support research greenhouses, test module and staff facilities.



The Xstrata Treetop Walkway

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The Xstrata Treetop Walkway // London // UK // Marks Barfield Architects


Marks Barfield Architects have designed a 18-metre-high walkway through the canopies of sweet chestnut, lime and deciduous oak trees in Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London. The 400-tonne steel structure was designed to blend in without harming its sensitive environment. 

The Xstrata Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens opened on 24th May 2008, Kew Garden’s ‘Year of the Tree’, to over 9,000 visitors.  The walkway takes visitors 18m high into the tree canopies for a birds-eye view of Kew, providing insights into the special role of trees in our breathing planet and the intimate views of a deciduous woodland and its inhabitants from within the tranquillity of the leaves.

In conjunction with the Walkway, an underground ‘Rhizotron’ exhibition space is attached which explores various themes associated with tree root biology, climate change and the relationship between tree roots and microorganisms. Its appearance is inspired by a natural cracking within the earth to reveal a dark and dynamic space rich with exciting and educational content.


Man and Ecology: An Islamic Perspective

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Environmental Crisis

"When the earth is shaken with a (violent) shaking,
And the earth reveals what burdens her,
And man says: What has befallen her?
On that day she shall tell her story...." (Qur'an 99:1-4)

Environmental Crisis - Global Warming

In light of today’s environmental crises, many secular and religious  scholars have begun to look into underlying philosophical causes for man's rapacious attitude towards his environment. Part of this search involves a look at root philosophies affecting the human outlook and interaction with the world and the responsibility religion shares in creating the attitudes and philosophies that have led to the desecration of nature that has occurred in the past few centuries and which seems to be accelerating in our times. As Ziauddin Sardar writes;

“The roots of our ecological crises are axiomatic: they lie in our belief and value structures which shape our relationship with nature, with each other and the lifestyles we lead.” (Sardar, Ziauddin. Islamic Futures. New York; Mensell Publishing Limited. 1985. pg.218)


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