Major Event – Celebrating Earth Day

Major Event

Celebrating Earth Day

In celebration of the 51st Earth Day, Istanbul&I hosted a day of interactive online workshops on sustainability and environmentalism in collaboration with Yabangee and Inshirah Collective. Shahla Raza from Inshirah Collective kicked off the day by highlighting the focus of Earth Day 2021, quoting directly from the official Earth Day organization: “When life around the globe returns to normal, our world cannot return to business-as-usual.”

The first of four informative workshops was a Sustainable Kitchen workshop hosted by Dr. Hayat Alp of Hayatın Sofrası, a sustainable restaurant dedicated to locally producing and sourcing all its ingredients to ensure quality and ethical practice. In this workshop, Dr. Alp shared valuable information on how to make our kitchens more green and less wasteful based on her thirty years of experience in sustainable cooking and living. Dr. Alp shared valuable advice such as the chemical harm of hybrid seeds for those wanting to grow produce in their backyard, how to use leftover vegetable and fruit remains, and where to get organic, grass-fed meat and eggs in Istanbul.

The second workshop of the day was Sustainable Living, hosted by Jodie Harburt of Multitude of Ones. Jodie Harburt, a mother living in Turkey for over thirty years, has embraced a zero-waste lifestyle along with her family. In this workshop, Jodie shared how she has managed to reduce her family’s waste to a minimum by relying on creative homemade and organic alternatives to store packaging and non-biodegradable waste. She shared recipes for how to make homemade soap, deodorant, toothpaste and laundry detergent, as well as tips for how to avoid producing waste when we are outside the house such as bringing fabric bags and containers. Furthermore, Jodie prompted us to question our role in the ecosystem and how we can make changes to better honor ourselves and the Earth.

The third workshop was conducted by Elif Çatıkkaş, who works at a small social startup called Kokopelli Şehirde that aims to teach neighbourhoods and schools composting, gardening and rain harvesting. Elif says, “We are trying to imitate the forest in our homes—you never see waste in a forest.” Kokopelli Şehirde provides ready-made compost for purchase, as well as the equipment one would require when attempting to compost using the Vermicompost or Bokashi methods at home. With her vast knowledge on composting, she taught the attendees the different kinds of compost and how they can make their own for gardening using only food waste from the kitchen. She demonstrated and answered questions about Bokashi composting, providing a detailed guide on how it can be done using kitchen waste efficiently.

The final event of the day was a short documentary screening along with a discussion led by Pınar Oncel, the co-founder of the environmental film festival Sürdürülebilir Yaşam (Sustainable Life), and Ulduz Madatkhanova, Istanbul&I’s Film Club manager. Sürdürülebilir Yaşam has been active since 2008 and has remained committed to pushing for a more sustainable world by featuring hundreds of documentaries on their website. The three short documentaries chosen for this discussion had been a few of the official selections made for their sustainability festival. Attendees logged into and watched “A Letter to Congress,” “The Ogiek Community & a Right to Land,” and “Overview.” After that, the attendees discussed the films. The discussion of the films covered various themes and issues including capitalist exploitation, postcolonial approach to indigenous communities and the Savikalpa Samadhi.

This Earth Day, wonderful workshops were organized online to teach attendees about adopting sustainable habits in their lives while reducing their waste to a minimum, and instead using it to give back to the earth. Attendees were enthusiastic about the issue and curious to know what role they can play in saving our planet. It is time that we, too, look out for Earth and change our habits to better care for the environment.

Co-Writer: Osama Hijazi

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