Is Everything for Humans?
Is a cow living to be eaten by us? Is a tree there to provide shadow? Is a flower colourful to be a gift on Valentine’s Day?
Does water flow for our shower? Are the seven seas for us, and are mountains to build a house on so we can see the oceans better?
Why has humankind put itself prominently in the spotlight on the stage of life? Why are we so significant but all other “things” are not? Is this egocentrism coming from our power? From our swords, guns, tanks, and warplanes? A sheep cannot defend “itself” from us. Salivating with glee, we can carve it up and eat it! Does that imply that sheep are living to be centre stage on our dinner table? Of course not!
We believe that we are strong, smart and brave enough. But, have you ever thought of our stature in the universe? Even our seemingly boundless world is barely visible from a distance. We consider the planet we live on to be enormous, but it is a mere speck—scarcely a pinhead!
We are comparable to a piece of dust, conceivably smaller. So, why all the bragging? Why do some people think that if we do not exist literally, we are void of life? Why all the heartbreak and fighting? For whose benefit?
Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar
The book “Sapiens,” written by Yuval Noah Harari, shows the hidden dark side of humanity’s impact on the world.
In the book, the writer asserts that people think that everything in the universe was created for them. For example, trees are for us to cut down and make furniture. Cows and sheep exist for us to slaughter so we can eat them. Chicken eggs only exist for us to eat them at breakfast. In short, the writer suggests that we are the owners of the universe and all other living and inanimate things are to be used for our pleasure.
When you buy a few kilos of meat at the market, do you ask yourself how that meat arrives there? In “industrial animal factories,” baby calves are separated from their mothers and put in tiny cages for around four months. They have no chance to move freely because their meat needs to be soft and juicy when they are slaughtered.
Another example is milk factories that force female cows to remain pregnant because when they have a baby, they can provide more milk. Of course, factory workers do not allow calves to drink all the milk they require. While calves are ingesting milk, they are separated from their mothers, and workers get the rest of it.
Have you ever thought that maybe that’s why sheep are so docile? During the domestication period of them, aggressive ones are culled so that herds are easier to control. Consequently, animals implicitly understood that if they became aggressive, they would become the next victim apparently.
This consequence is the result of evolution. We changed the animals’ behaviours for our benefit. This benefit could be material or spiritual—but we did it.
I believe that even though we are humans, we are on a level footing with a daisy or a rooster, a plane or a tree. If we learn how to share the world, we could make it more just for all of creation.
Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar
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
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