Ecosphere Association (Ecosphere, Ekosfer Dernegi) received a grant from our Environmental Sustainability Fund to strengthen its digital transformation in communications with stakeholders by renewing its website, developing new systems, and improving existing digital tools. This way, Ecosphere’s awareness-raising content on environmental issues will reach more people.
Read below our interview:
You have led the campaign urging Turkey to ratify the Paris Agreement. As of November 2021, the agreement has entered into force in Turkey. What kind of changes awaits us with this agreement?
The ratification of the Paris Agreement was critical for clarifying Turkey’s contribution to the climate crisis and having a political standpoint. With the agreement’s ratification, Turkey remained in the process of international negotiations. The Paris Agreement will also be a roadmap for Turkey. It’s a long way, and we don’t have much time. Turkey’s adherence to the 1.5-degree target in the agreement and the “net zero emissions by 2053” target, pronounced during the ratification process, is crucial. However, there is more to do. We have prepared a five-item list suggesting what should be done after the ratification of the Paris Agreement. If these steps are taken quickly, Turkey’s policy on the climate crisis will be clarified and the changes we have been waiting for for a long time will be realised. The strength of the goals will also determine the pace of change. Here are the five items we prioritised:
– Updating the Nationally Determined Contributions
– Setting a timetable for the closure of coal-fired power plants and stopping new constructions
– Implementing necessary policies, especially regarding energy efficiency, to reduce energy consumption
– Preferring technologies based on renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, electric vehicles and green hydrogen; stopping subsidies to sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear energy
– Adapting and preparing cities for the climate crisis. Promoting the usage of railways, public transport and bicycle instead of air and road transportation.
If these steps are taken quickly, Turkey’s policy on the climate crisis will be clarified and the changes we have been waiting for for a long time will be realised.
The world’s first digital strike over the climate crisis took place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, many hashtag campaigns are being organised to draw attention to climate change and environmental problems. Can you tell us about the positive and negative aspects of running climate activism in the digital age?
The intensive use of digital tools has many positive contributions to civil society and advocacy campaigns, including the climate and the environmental movement. Reaching more people by using social media effectively, reaching decision-makers by using digital activism tools such as online petitions and e-mail forwarding, and increasing the pressure on them are the most important advantages. While many things have shifted to the digital with the pandemic, the importance of street movement and activism should not be overlooked.
Which areas have you focused on to strengthen the digital transformation of your association with the grant and capacity development support you received from our Environmental Sustainability Fund?
We need to use digital tools effectively in our campaigns and reach more people. We used the Environmental Sustainability Fund’s grant to improve the digital tools of our association. Firstly, we renewed our association’s website. We created separate sections for press and for e-bulletin subscriptions. Our website is more user-friendly now.
In addition, we developed two systems that we think will greatly affect our work in the long run. The first one is the system for our online petitions, which will enable us to create effective campaigns very quickly. We have also developed the necessary infrastructure to replace the current donation system, as individual donations are crucial for us, like all CSOs. With a more effective system, we will be able to conduct various tests and measure the performance more closely.
The intensive use of digital tools has many positive contributions to civil society and advocacy campaigns, including the climate and the environmental movement.
How has the support you received from the Environmental Sustainability Fund contributed to your association and your work? Do you have a message you would like to share with our donors?
Within the scope of the fund, we have realised our ideas that we wanted to do for a long time but could not do so due to a lack of resources. We aim to use these tools effectively and launch new campaigns in 2022. In this way, we will be able to reach more people with our work on the climate crisis, and we will be able to expand our campaigns with their participation and support. Today, when digital presence is so important, the Environmental Sustainability Fund is very valuable for CSOs.
What will be the areas that Ecosphere prioritise for 2022? Can you tell us about your plans for the upcoming period?
In 2022, it will be our priority to draw attention to the climate crisis and ensure that the necessary policies are implemented, especially in Turkey. Our project, Coal in Turkey, consisting of many articles, reports, visual archives, and maps for the use of CSOs, continues. We have renewed its website, where we will share up-to-date information about coal and energy and make the website more active with interviews and current news. We plan to expand and continue our climate journalism trainings for journalists. Also, we are preparing new projects and campaigns on subjects such as quitting fossil fuels, nuclear energy, climate education in schools and green transportation.
Ecosphere advocates for the implementation of policies to stop human-induced climate change, prevent deterioration of biodiversity, and protect ecological balance. The Association supports energy production from renewable sources and carries out activities with children, young people, and vulnerable groups for environmental justice. Ecosphere places particular importance on the right to access information on essential issues such as the climate crisis.