Türkiye has witnessed many social and environmental issues in 2022 due to global factors, such as the pandemic, climate change, and war, which have environmental and social impacts and risks. Modern societies are at risk in many ways due to national and global factors in the 21st century, which Ulrich Beck calls “risk society.” Civil society analyzes these risks and carries out activities accordingly.
Climate change is a significant high-risk factor for communities. The risks of climate change include water scarcity, declining agricultural production, food insecurity, and habitat loss of plant and animal species. The producers and consumers in Türkiye are directly affected by this issue. Farmers have difficulty increasing production and meeting the inputs required for agricultural production and animal husbandry, resulting in financial hardship. There is a risk of population decreasing in villages and people abandoning villages due to financial conditions in rural areas, declining agricultural production and animal husbandry, and farmers’ inability to make a gain. Thus, farmers need to be supported, and activities should focus on increasing local production, using local seeds, developing climate-friendly and nature-friendly agricultural production techniques, minimizing water use, and ensuring sustainable production.
Climate change, the pandemic, and the war revealed the importance of local production in 2022. The universal aspect of agriculture and agricultural products started being taken into consideration following the challenges in wheat production and distribution experienced by Ukraine, the “breadbasket” of Europe. Indirectly affected by the war, Türkiye became a significant element of grain shipment due to the initiative of the United Nations and natural/human factors. The war affected the food supply-demand balance, increasing the number of people in need of emergency aid, and the importance of local production once again came to light. While supply, price, and supply chain disruptions affected the whole world, agriculture, and animal husbandry in Türkiye had difficulties due to many natural and human-related impacts, especially climate change, which again indicates the importance of local production and food security.
The constant increase in population, especially in the urban population, resulted in migration-related problems. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world population reached 8 billion as of 15 November, and the population of Türkiye reached 84,680,273 as of 27 December. This increase resulted in resource scarcity problems. The key matters include the use and management of natural resources, agricultural production, and animal husbandry in this regard.
Another point that remained significant was the forest fires. Forest fires are defined as the complete or partial burning due to natural or human-related factors. They are directly related to climate change, natural resources, and sustainability. Many forested areas and forest villages, especially on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, are affected by fires. Following the forest fires in Antalya’s Manavgat district in 2021, the Tohum (Seed) Association implemented a project called the “Post-Fire Impact Assessment Report: Social, Cultural and Economic Evaluation” with the help of the Turkish Red Crescent Academy. In the context of the project, we made observations and carried out interviews with the fire victims and the institutions and organizations in the region. As a result, we put forward the social, cultural, and economic impact of forest fires and suggestions in this regard. Natural disasters impact the livelihoods, the level of income, immovable assets, social life, cultural areas, and cultural heritage of the people in the region. These impacts create significant social consequences in the long term, which is why this study must be carried out regularly, as well as monitoring and evaluation activities, to observe the long-term impacts of the disaster.
Tohum (Seed) Association conducts various activities on “sustainability, climate change, nature-based resource management, supporting local production, evaluation of natural disaster consequences, protection and increase of forested areas,” based on the environmental and social impacts and risks mentioned above. We aim to reduce, albeit slightly, the problems faced across the country with our efforts and give hope to people.
Bear in Mind: “The key is the Seed.”