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Do Not We Need An Urgent Enviromental Policy For EU Adoption?

Monday, 14 May 2012 10:16 Feyza Yılmaz
 

DON’T WE NEED AN URGENT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY FOR EU ADOPTION?

I took part in many academic research projects during my studies, and participated in many scientific seminars, conferences and events such as workshops. In the field of “Environment” unfortunately all developments in the academic environment remain limited and I observed that a research scholar offered developments to another scholar.

It is undeniable in our country that the results of research are not presented to the public and legislators. The front row seats of these scientific events are given to VIP. Perhaps as a coincidence, but during my participation, except for several very important conferences, these seats were always vacant.  Sometimes during the first session they would be partially filled, but were later destined to remain empty.  Legislative representatives of the political authority participate in this kind of scientific congresses mandatorily, and often because they do not have enough information about the subject no benefit is taken.  Ultimately, though, no matter what direction the research points, the events within the framework of environmental policies, orient towards a political group they represent. In our country we see that people, when it comes to the “environment”, because of the priority of the economic crisis, will pursue “cheap products” instead of “clean, non-polluting products”.

Given the starting point that not everybody is educated in environmental issues, that the citizens of this nation do not have even basic knowledge about the environment, the creation of healthy communities and the implementation of environmental policies cannot be expected.
The first step in this issue that should be taken is to create conscious civil society. This can be done in several steps. The first step is the longest but the most reliable and sustainable.
It is very difficult to adapt new forms of learned behavior after a certain age into our daily lives. However, in childhood skills and knowledge gained is effective for all our lives. This is why, particularly in primary curriculum courses, the subject of environment must be added. Especially since changes in the primary system are being discussed these days, it makes me wonder why “the environment” is not brought into these courses.
While changing this system to create more successful students, they are not thinking to educate our students for protection of the planet we live on, so that the world can accommodate us for a longer time. However we work, the goal of our efforts is to achieve “a better quality of life”, is it not? There is no clean drinking water resources left, no clean air to breathe, our diet, instead of fresh agricultural products grown in the region, is produce with hazardous chemicals, can it be considered that we reached our goal?  Healthcare expenses, plastic water bottles, “organic” branded products, as long as we’re spending, how much money we earn is important?  In this context, the introduction of environmental courses in the curriculum of primary education, is very important in terms of guaranteeing the future.
The second step which can be taken in the process of informing and awareness of civil society is to bring NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) into action.
Although quite advanced compared to many countries, our country have been left behind in terms of NGOs.   The number of associations in Turkey, despite the increase of 44% per year in the last 10 years is now 90900 (www.dernekler.gov.tr).  However, there are 2.1 million inGermany, inFrance there are 1.47 million associations. Again, the number of members in associations in our country is nearly 8 million people, approximately one for every 866 people, while this is one in 40 people as members of associations in France and Germany (BBC, 06/16/2011).

With a population of around 9,000,0000Sweden, the sum of the number who are members of NGOs is around 70-80,000,000. In other words, every citizen is a member of at least five associations (Girgin Sarah Barnes, NGOs inTurkeyin the EU Process, Business News Journal).

NGO participation most of the time is insufficient to create public opinion.  Concerning the environmental, the public “polluter-middle-aged, producing and consuming” segment, has grown up without sufficient environmental knowledge and awareness and the environment has never been the priority.  Studies on this subject should be initiated urgently.  To create the public agenda, all the scientific studies and research in simple language understood by the entire public should be done with media campaigns to attract attention.  In this issue the best project practices should be considered.  Ka-Der used celebrities in media advertisements to promote the Association to benefit women candidates in elections, in the same context, many women’s organizations also used celebrity faces in order to create the agenda for the physical abuse of women.

If we won’t inform our public and make them aware of the environment, we can’t discuss the result of this later.

In the process of admission to the EU (European Union) one of the things to be done is EU Environmental Directives adoption, adaptation and implementation.  In many areas, people are confronted with passive resistance of the process.

These directives, which will be implemented on and affect the citizen directly, will need to be explained in terms of the changes done, and why.   All changes made in the name of “EU integration process” may cause political uproar.  Legislators represent a particular political structure.  If the people do not share the same political opinions, the benefit of environmental directives not adequately understood may be regarded as “political” and not endorsed. However, knowledgeable and informed citizens about the environment, if they accept that it is necessary for us to lead healthy and quality life during the regulatory process of gaining admission to the EU, the harmonization process will be more efficient and quick.

To create and attract attention, and then to make people aware of the connection between universities and the public will be a major part of NGOs role.  But here is another problem encountered:  Are NGOs sufficiently aware of their duty, authority, responsibility and power?  NGOs and the EU is another major problem that requires investigation and interrogation.