Instead of dealing with consequences of crises Turkey must prevent them
Without a doubt, climate change is a common issue for the whole world to focus on. It is always right beside us and appears in different forms. For example, the rise in global temperatures, which are now 1.2 degrees Celcius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, is both heating up the Earth and destabilizing it. The number and effects of climate change related events are increasing day by day, Daily Sabah writes.
For sure, one of the main effects is the constantly increasing temperatures. In many parts of the world, this summer's heat is breaking records. Another problem caused by dry and hot air combined with low humidity is forest fires. The fires in Australia, California and Siberia that lasted for months are an indication of this. The Mediterranean Basin countries, which are expected to be the most impacted by the acute effects of climate change, are currently suffering from such forest fires. Italy, Greece, Spain, Algeria and Turkey have been dealing with a great disaster for days. The slightest spark opens the door to a catastrophe these days, where temperatures occasionally reach 45-50 degrees Celcius (113-122 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity levels are below 10%.
Lives are burning, black smoke clouds the air, rising over our forests, endangering trees and plant life. However, an ecosystem without plants cannot survive for long. Trees make up the majority of plants. Even a single tree has dozens of benefits, so much so that a single adult tree with leaves can meet the daily oxygen needs of 2 to 10 people. They absorb carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas, and keep our world cool.
According to World Resources Institute (WRI) assessments, forests absorb 7.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide globally. This value is equivalent to 1.5 times the annual carbon emissions of the United States. Trees also play an active role in the water cycle through sweating and contribute to the cooling of the environment by absorbing thermal energy present in the environment. Unfortunately, we are destroying these unique treasures with our own hands, sometimes to create settlements and sometimes to open lands up for agriculture. Sometimes we sacrifice these natural miracles for a comfortable life. We use trees with impunity for new furniture, for wooden dwellings, for wood-based structures. According to the data of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 15 billion trees are cut down worldwide annually for the production of paper and timber. Only 5 billion new ones are planted to replace the lost ones. Therefore, we wipe out 10 billion trees from the Earth's surface every year. According to the World Forest Outlook 2020 (SOFO2020) Report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 420 million hectares (1.04 billion acres) of forested area has been lost in the last 30 years due to different uses. Forests are known as the most effective and low-cost method in combating today's global climate crisis.
Another problem that destroys our precious forests is fire. Again, according to the SOFO 2020 report, approximately 100 million hectares of land have been damaged by fires in the last 30 years. There are certain causes and triggering elements that lead to a fire. These can be natural causes such as lightning, or human-led causes such as cigarette butts or barbecues. Sometimes there are sabotages that aim to shake the integrity of a country. There has been another factor that we cannot ignore: global climate change. Fire is difficult to control under favorable conditions. The conditions that lead to an uncontrollable situation are extreme heat, droughts due to heat, low humidity and a decrease in precipitation. The prominent factor among these is the extreme heat or heat waves that we encounter more frequently because of climate change.
Turkey has gained a lot of experience and developed its infrastructure in the face of countless disasters. It successfully presents crisis management in disaster response. However, it needs to transfer its experience gained from crisis management to risk management. Turkey should carry out studies to prevent possible disasters by identifying the regions or structures that may be affected, possible damage, and how to minimize the negative effects in cases where disasters cannot be prevented. There is a danger staring the country in the face: Climate change. Turkey is experiencing its devastating effects more and more severely with each passing day. Temperatures will continue to rise and droughts will increase, which will trigger more fires. Therefore, it is inevitable for Turkey to improve itself within the scope of combating and adapting to climate change. Forests are now strategic resources. The country must take all the necessary steps to protect them.