“Sustainable World” event, organized by the Istanbul Technical University (ITU)

Sustainability Office as part of the 22 April Earth Day, started with the opening speech of our Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Şule Itır Satoğlu at ITU Faculty of Civil Engineering Conference Hall. Defining sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present in a way that will enable future generations to survive and meet their needs,” Satoğlu stated that it has become crucial to consider economic, social and environmental dimensions at the same time.

Prof. Dr. Satoğlu added that the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations are guiding the world, and that the main goal of the newly established ITU Sustainability Office is to disseminate studies on sustainability in all units of ITU. She also stated that ITU Sustainability Office has undertaken important works such as the preparation of the Climate Action Plan. In addition, giving the good news that the preparations for the opening of sustainability master’s and doctoral programs at ITU have been completed, Satoğlu concluded her speech by celebrating everyone’s Earth Day.

Digital cleaning is also a part of sustainability

After Assoc. Prof. Dr. Börte Köse Mutlu’s presentation about the studies of ITU Sustainability Office, Abdülkadir Sarıoğlu, speaking on behalf of ITU Digital Marketing and Social Media Club, made a presentation on digital pollution and cleaning. Sharing statistics on carbon emissions caused by online activities, Sarıoğlu underlined that digital cleaning will also provide great benefits to sustainability. 

Sude Özdemir, who made a presentation on behalf of the Landscape Architecture Club, discussed the contribution of landscape architecture to sustainability. Özdemir expressed that the task of landscape architects is to protect water, soil and air and to improve the environment, and concluded her presentation by saying, “The climate crisis is not a problem that can be solved at a single centre; green balance should be achieved at the global level and carbon footprint should be reduced.”

In his presentation on behalf of the Fitness Club, Kürşat Güner underlined that sports have a very important place in each of the UN Development Goals, and said that gender equality, which is among the 17 goals, is reflected in sports, and that equality in sports covers everyone. Adding that the concept of “partnership for goals”, which is among the 17 goals, is a concept inherent in sports, Güner completed his presentation by thanking ITU for the support it gives to sports and athletes.

Visual artist Deniz Sağdıç, who was invited to the stage after the presentations of the student clubs, discussed the concept of “sustainable art” in her speech. Stating that many things that we classify as waste are actually raw materials, and that nothing can be waste unless we give them up, Sağdıç continued her presentation by explaining how she created artistic products by using textile waste as raw material.

Let every day be “Earth Day”

Making the closing presentation of the “Sustainable World” event, Environmental Engineering Department faculty member Prof. Dr. Osman Arıkan started his presentation with the question “Is the world sustainable?”. He stated that “failure of climate action” is seen as the most important global risk and discussed the sustainability of the world through the perspectives of climate change, hunger problem, water crisis, loss of biodiversity, and plastic waste crisis.

Continuing his presentation with the question “Who will solve these problems?”, Arıkan said that the environment should not be considered independently of the economy and society; Paris Climate Agreement and EU Green Deal are examples of this; moreover, our country also contributes to sustainability with many documents such as Turkey Climate Change Strategy, Republic of Turkey Climate Change Action Plan, Turkey’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, Turkey Green Deal Action Plan. 

Reminding the Zero Waste Certificate obtained by ITU and the first place in Turkey in the UI GreenMetrics rankings for five years in a row, Prof. Dr. Arıkan added that we are rapidly climbing to the top in many headings in THE Sustainable Development Goals Rankings every year. Prof. Dr. Arıkan said, “We are the ones who will solve problems. We need to move away from the ‘this is not my trash’ approach to the ‘my world’ approach and make an effort towards sustainability as individuals,” and suggested at the end of his presentation: “Let’s make every day Earth Day”.

Biodiversity tour around the Pond

In the second part of the event, biodiversity observation and waste collection activities were carried out around the Pond in Ayazağa Campus with the participants. In the event guided by Prof. Dr. Osman Arıkan and Asst. Prof. Dr. Emrah Çoraman, the life of birds such as wren, moorhen, and gray heron living around the pond was observed and plants such as weaver’s broom, blue lupine, spurge, and anemone were examined.