What If?

What if your commute created meals, energy, & new job security? As AIESECers, we learn to see the world differently, for what it could be. In which spaces are you asking “What if…?”

Drafted by Chris Gassman





Years ago in 1986, the world was faced with the catastrophe of the century in Chernobyl, Ukraine. A few small miscalculations of engineers created the biggest tragedy of the recent past. Thousands of people got cancer from the disaster. A few cities turned into “ghost cities.” Thousands of people had to move from their hometown. The enduring trauma of the catastrophe still continues for the elderly. Not surprisingly, the USSR economy was shaken thoroughly and went into decline.

Not only for Ukrainian people but for neighbouring countries, the fallout from the tragedy was a significant hazard. I can personally state that in my country of origin, Turkey, people were caught up in the calamity far too much. In the Black Sea region, which is the closest part of Turkey to Ukraine, people got cancer and other illnesses. Farm products were also affected. When I was in kindergarten, I remember school staff providing us unknowingly with contaminated nuts which were collected from near the Black Sea. Being kids, at the time, we were overjoyed to get them. Yet, even today, I do not know how much more likely I am to get cancer due to consuming them.

Also, when I was in Ukraine in 2010 for an internship, I wanted to visit Chernobyl, but my friends warned me against doing so. As, if someone goes there, they said, he or she must change clothes afterwards to avoid getting contaminated.

When we check news sources, we realise that the disaster still affects the quality of life for people, animals, and plants; even now, radiation is above safe levels.

My words are not enough to convey the extent of pain that has been endured. We can only hope that it never happens anywhere again.

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar



Nature is the Ultimate Teacher

Humankind is a ruthless race. By and large, our lives are preoccupied with getting an education, forging a career, engaging in marriage, raising kids and so on. In our limited lifespan, we often neglect the very nature we depend on.
Mother Nature has always structured our lives. Humans have learned how to live and survive with her throughout history. She taught us how to be human, protecting us and glorifying us.

Tengrism (or Shamanism)(1) is one of the oldest nature-inspired religions (or faiths) in central Asia and Siberia. As in other related religions, nature comes before everyone. People see God’s energy in trees, rivers, and mountains. Polluting a river or cutting a tree down without necessity would be an outright shame for the people. For example, if a man wants to fell a tree, even for a valid reason, he has to offer an apology to the tree he wants to cut down. There is also a special ceremony for him to do so. Talking and dancing with trees, rivers, mountains, flowers, stones, rocks, and cherishing them is part of this belief because these people believe that everything in nature has a spirit(2). Always respecting, protecting, and learning from nature is the basis of this belief. From their perspective, massacring trees, draining rivers, and deregulating arable lands for unjust benefit is the biggest threat to future generations.

What do we gain from building more buildings just to get richer? Why does humanity seem hell-bent on killing its teacher? Green areas, paths for walking and riding, and picnic areas are valuable services that disappear on a daily basis. It seems like our grandchildren will not inherit the Earth from us, but rather a concrete jungle. Nature is entrusted to us by them, conserve it. Be more sensitive to preserve life for the future.

Written by Oguz Yilmazlar

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengrism/
(2) http://www.sacredserpent.net/tree-spirits.html