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‘If COPs were useful, there would be no need for 26,’ says Turkish climate activist

Alara Civelek climate activist during a protest in Istambul, Turkey.
Alara Civelek climate activist during a protest in Istambul, Turkey.   -   Copyright  Alara Civelek
By Alara Civelek

Euronews Green is proud to be partnering with Youth and Environment Europe over the next several months to platform underrepresented and marginalised people in the climate movement. In this instalment, we introduce Alara Civelek.

Alara is an 18 years old activist from Turkey. In the following article, she talks about her beginnings in activism and why she thinks that the climate crisis is the responsibility of young people.

I have always loved nature. So it only made sense to become an activist once I learned about the disastrous consequences of human-induced climate change.

I started my activism by creating an Instagram account with my friend to raise awareness about the climate crisis in Turkey. We did it because we felt like this huge problem had not been given enough importance in the country.

It doesn’t have any coverage in the media and we don’t learn about it at school. So we decided to educate people ourselves.

We are the future leaders and scientists but we have very little time left to change the course of the world. That is why I think it is very important to show world leaders that we are demanding change now.

The adults don’t care

As part of my activism journey, I also joined Fridays for Future Turkey where we organise local and global strikes. I love when I see people getting more knowledgeable about this issue as well as the strength that comes when more people unite for one cause. And we are getting stronger and stronger every day.

The last strike we organised was around COP26 earlier this year. I think what this conference has shown us is that the change will come from the outside, from the bottom up - not from the leaders who are simply not ambitious enough.

We all have to become activists.

As young people, I feel like we have so much responsibility because the adults don’t care. They pretend the climate crisis can be solved at a conference, but would we really need 26 of them if that was the case?

No, it is up to us to demand change. But in order to make that happen, we need to include more people from all kinds of backgrounds and educate as many as we can. We all have to become activists.

Activists are not just people shouting in the streets

To become an activist, you don’t need to go to the streets with the sign. You can incorporate activism in whatever you do. If you are a musician, create music, if you are an artist, create a picture, if you are a politician, create policies that concern the climate crisis. Whatever you do, big or small, matters. Never underestimate your potential.

Whatever you do, big or small, matters. Never underestimate your potential.

And remember, that you are not alone in this. You have a purpose and whatever action you choose to help the cause still counts. Together, when we fight and when we progress, we can do great things.

I hope that we do our best when it comes to climate change. Personally, I will never give up.