Thursday, July 26, 2012

The values we disregard

Today, we were in Castle Island where we saw happy families, children and older people enjoying their day in a beautiful, clean, peaceful and comfortable recreational area.  To be honest I generally do not recognize this kind of things and do not think how much we are lucky because we have a chance to enjoy our day in this kind of a place. But if the Castle Island were a dirty, sewer like, troubled place I certainly complain about this and tell my friends how bad it was. I know it does not sound good but it is the truth. And I know I am not the only person who thinks in this way. People generally do not appreciate and recognize the importance or beauty of things they already have until they lose them or they become inaccessible. The importance of clean water is a good example for this.
When I was a kid I was living in a small town of Turkey. The lack of drinkable water was not an issue to talk or even think about. All the people were drinking the tap water. I do not even remember that I have ever bought bottled water until I moved to the Ankara. So it was early 2000s when I met with the problem of undrinkable tap water and recognized that how lucky I was when I was a kid. Today the citizens in Turkey’s big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir generally do not drink the ordinary tap water even they have no idea about whether it is clean or not. There are many businesses that sell drinkable water and establishing water treatment systems to households.
The cleanliness of the seas or oceans for swimming or for the living conditions of sea creatures is another aspect of the clean water issue.  Everybody wants to swim in clean water and wants to know it is not harmful. But from a government perspective, the issue is more economic. For instance, in Turkey, Mediterranean region is considered as the touristic area of Turkey. So the beaches and the water quality of this area is a big concern of government because the tourism is one of the biggest income items of our country. On the other hand the Bosporus is in the middle of the industry zone and a trade central. So government thinks much more about the capacity of ships and the trade volume of the Bosporus instead of the water quality and the living conditions of the species. What about people? Everybody says that he or she cares about the clean water and wild life. But in reality people, including myself; generally prefer to go Mediterranean beaches than Blacksea or the Bosporus because the Mediterranean beaches generally are expected to be much cleaner. And if they are not clean enough, people can go another beach in the same day, because Turkey has lots of beaches near three different seas. Because of this abundance people do not care about the beach they leave is dirty or bad as long as the beach they arrive is good enough for them. I do not know how long it continues but that is the case now. We probably will not change our life style and the government will not change its policy, until we start to have serious health problems or the beaches and swimmable waters become scarce and unaffordable for most of us or the tourism incomes fell down.
To sum up, we generally disregard the importance of the things we have abundantly until they become scarce. And I do not believe that, there are many people who really acts and has something more than words about sustainability of the natural resources or give greater importance to common welfare than personal gains. 

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