Recently a good friend asked me the following question:
‘What is it about Turkey that has you so passionate, surely there are conservation issues in the UK that are just as in need of your attention?‘
Well, that is really two questions, or maybe three! However it got me thinking……
Firstly, passion is a very personal thing, what triggers it, is something unquantifiable! We will deal with this side of the question later….
I live in, and was born in the UK, I love the UK. However I am not nationalistic; is that a bad thing? I really don’t think it is. Boundaries are a human concept, something that animals and plants do not entertain in the same way as we do. I hate filling out forms and being asked what my nationality is, it seems so pointless. I am from planet earth and I love it! So although I live in the UK I do not see why I need to justify why I put my heart and soul into conservation projects from other communities. This doesn’t devalue the importance of supporting conservation projects in the UK; I support all project that I agree with. However supporting a project is easy, but changing your whole way of life to support something you agree with needs more than that. Passion. Passion is not something you can force, it is something that occurs given the right circumstances…..spontaneously.
I am oozing passion, and I love it. Without this I would feel pretty useless. I have had my fair share (and continue to have) of personal battles to know when something is good for me. When that tattoo needle is moving in and out of my skin in excess of 100 times a second and I wince as the art is being inserted over a particularly sensitive area of my arm – I feel good! This feeling is not because of the endorphins kicking in or the adrenalin buzz, but because I really believe in what I am doing and I am so happy that I am able to do it. I get a similar feeling when I am stood in front of people, telling them the story that has to be told. My belief drives my passion!
I can’t say (because I don’t know) where this passion comes from, but I can tell you what sparked it!
Turkey owns my heart. My visit to Turkey opened my eyes to amazing species diversity and the most beautiful and varied scenery that I have ever been lucky enough to experience. However, this country had far more depth to its soul than I could possibly imagine. The people were perhaps the catalyst for my passion. Not only are they the most friendly and welcoming people I have ever met, but in the areas I visited they had the fine ability to work with the countryside rather than against it as is so often the case. People are as much part of nature as the seas, rivers and mountains. We are natural beings, therefore we are nature!
So my love for Turkey was set and irreversible. However passion needs more than love. Passion is a volatile force in essence, so it needs a sharp injection of energy. That energy inflamed every corner of my soul when I heard that Turkey’s government had sold the country’s water ways to private corporations for the development of Dams and Hydro Electric Power Plants. I couldn’t comprehend this, I still can’t comprehend this! This is like selling the blood coursing through your childrens veins to some back street hospital to make a quick buck. This was and is wrong. This was the injection of violent, sad and angry energy that sparked my passion into existence. This passion was not born from happiness, it was born from sadness!
Now that I possessed this passion I had to use it, it had to carve my life. Thankfully I found a place to channel this energy. Doğa Derneği is Birdlife Internationals partner in Turkey and they are inspiring. They have raw passion for their beautiful country and the people that live within it. This is why I do and always will support them. One extra ingredient that inspired me about Doğa Derneği is that they see conservation without borders, they look at wildlife conservation holistically. This is such an intelligent approach especially given the issues facing their country. These issues will have repercussions to every country down stream of all their water ways.
Hmmm, so I may have got carried away with this, but this is how I feel!
I will end with one question. This question goes to the UK government and all EU member states. Given that Turkey would like to join the EU, why are you standing around doing nothing about the destruction of Turkey’s waterways?
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