Sometimes we don’t think about how the world is bigger than we are, and if we want to survive we have to give something in return. To do that we don’t have to be engineers or pursue similar advanced studies. There are many practical ways that all of us in our daily lives can by applying ourselves say - thank you Nature! - and help to save our tomorrows and the tomorrows of those who will come after us. Darel Kapetanović is one who is trying to do just that. Here he will share with us his experiences, actions, and thoughts.
Darel Kapetanović (left)
Darel was born and raised in Čapljina (Bosnia and Herzegovina). He continued his high school education in Mostar (B&H) and then moved to Sarajevo to obtain a BA degree at the University of Sarajevo’s Faculty of History. Currently, he is completing a Master’s Degree in History at Ege University in Izmir (Turkey). Aside from his professional interest in history, his hobbies and aims are related to achieving and maintaining a significant level of self-development and self-awareness. Thus, several years ago, when he was introduced to the Original Yoga System, he found a channel through which he was able to conduct these pursuits. He has been an active participant at the Yoga Academy for more than 3,5 years, and he is also about to become a yoga teacher. This is a lifestyle that relies on giving up bad habits to take on good ones, and making an impact to improve the environment has led him to join the effort to support Sustainable Energy (SE). Even though his connection with SE is not professional, he continuously makes efforts to be active in this field through sharing relevant information and behaving in a way that aligns with SE principles, because he considers them to be important life priorities.
Sustainable Energy seems to be the only option we have to save our planet. SE offers truly unique ideas to deal with widespread pollution, factory emissions, landfills, etc. What do you think? Is it the only way, and is it really possible to put these amazing ideas into practice? What do we get with SE?
Speaking globally, it can be said that the general awareness of environmental issues is not at a very high level in our society, which is often rightfully described as a “consumer society”. Generally, people are concerned with their current individual problems, and they are usually not interested in thinking beyond that. In addition to that, most people act very carelessly and recklessly towards nature and the environment in which they reside. As a result, we’re facing alarming climate change, global warming, and a large increase in various diseases. Luckily, in the face of these circumstances, a variety of progressive ideas continues to arise with the aim of preventing, alleviating, and solving the current and upcoming problems. These ideas, aside from having the aim of protecting the environment and planet Earth, are connected to a whole range of very different activities (e.g. scientific, artistic, educational, etc.). These ideas are generally very appealing and fun, and they enable people to participate in the process and spread awareness about the issue, and thus contribute to its solution. Basically, with SE on our agenda, all the living organisms on our planet would benefit from clean water and fresh air, and the increased possibility of a healthier life. The only potential losers in this case would be the big corporations that profit thanks to reckless increased production. Since such behavior is actually the main cause of our current environmental problems, one cannot feel really sorry for their “loss”.
What is your perspective on recent ideas such as the world’s first vertical forest, in Milan, or the vacant lot in Wyoming which will become one of the world’s first vertical farms?
These projects are a part of the aforementioned creative developments which are offered as potential solutions to environmental pollution in large urban centers. All of us who live in major urban centers suffer from this problem on a daily basis. It is crucial to the health of the general population and is a sector to which SE offers very creative and convenient responses. Stefan Boeri has designed one of these innovations, in Milan. A positive effect of the “Vertical Forest” is that in large urban centers innovations like this will create a greater concentration of oxygen and also reduce the temperature of the air, thanks to the shadows made by trees on the balconies of buildings. Conveniently, in this particular facility, a waste-water filtration system provides sufficient water to irrigate the forest. Such creative examples, in fact, help us to re-think the current way of doing things, and inspire us to create and implement unconventional ideas that can alleviate and/or solve more than one problem at a time. Fortunately, this is not the only example of such efforts – there are many other creative examples in all fields of human endeavor which aim to solve some of the existing environmental issues and increase the overall quality of life on Earth.
We notice is that many of the recent ideas about SE are very creative, even we may say artistic. After doing some research, I was impressed by Solar Sunflower, creating music by using sunlight, or vertical farms to minimize land use by growing food in sky scrapers.
Yes, that is true! A small, but valuable number of creative and knowledgeable people are trying to connect SE with creative and artistic expressions, and these progressive ideas encourage others to enjoy turning in the direction of SE. For example, Solar Sunflower is a great idea through which science is connected with art, or in other words science is used to create art. One of the objectives of this project is to familiarize the local community with solar energy and its extraordinary potential.
Vertical farms, on the other hand, are innovative projects that aim to upgrade urban centers by using buildings as farms to cultivate agricultural products. These farms are very convenient – they are irrigated by the water collected through de-humidification processes and by waste water. Also, due to the fact that farms are located in urban centers, there isn’t a need to transport crops long distances, which automatically means reduced use of fossil fuels. These farms, aside from beautifying gray, concrete urban centers, are providing local populations with fresh produce. Of course, these are just some of the creative ideas we are witnessing today. Luckily, we see and hear about many great and innovative ideas on a daily basis.
I am interested in your attitude with regard to these ideas? You are aware of them, but how many other people are familiar with these ideas, the benefits they give, how well they work, can we do more?
The mainstream information channels are largely focused on negative news such as terror attacks around the world, which keeps people in a constant state of fear and worry. In spite of that, it seems that people are seeking to hear more positive news and learn about progressive ideas so they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of information which don’t rely on spreading frustration and negative energy. However, if we consider what percentage of the population is affected by the major media, which are generally not reporting the great achievements in the SE area, then we may assume that the general public is not very familiar with the topic. Thus, the media should realize their important role in disseminating news of these valuable advances, which can be of great use to humankind and give SE a substantial space in their reporting.
What can we “uneducated” people do? What are the ways we can help our Earth?
Yes, of course. For example, we who are not experts in this field can contribute by being open to receiving the available information and then also to disseminate what we learn in order to raise awareness in this field. Every individual, when sufficiently informed about the problem of pollution of the planet, becomes aware of his/her own situation – whether he/she is a part of the problem or of the solution. And if one realizes he/she is a part of the problem, one can change his/her bad habits into good ones: try to produce less garbage, consume less electricity and water etc., and thus set an example for others in his/her immediate surroundings.
On this occasion, I must mention a group of young people acting through a non-governmental organization called “Sustainable Energy Youth Network”, who are already contributing positively to this field. This group of young people contributes to spreading information about this problem and possible solutions through the dissemination of information concerning SE through media such as Facebook. In addition, they act outside of Facebook, as well: with workshops they teach others how to treat this problem properly.
What are you doing personally? Which actions are you taking?
Even though my professional affiliation is not even remotely related to SE, I am still trying to do something about it. Firstly, I am focusing on myself and how much I personally can contribute to protecting the environment, by recognizing and changing my habits that damage it. Secondly, I am trying to disseminate relevant information as much as possible. Practically, this means that I am carefully deciding which transportation means I will take, what kind of supplies I will use, which quantity of clothes I will buy, etc. I am also trying to reduce waste as much as possible (e.g. I buy fewer plastic bottles, bowls, or bags), and I pay attention to the amount of electricity and water I use on a daily basis. I try to use renewable or recycled products (fabric tote bags, glass jars and bottles), and try to walk or bike as much as I can. By doing so, I give an example to others, but I also get an inner sense of satisfaction due to the feeling that I am useful to the society and the environment in which I live, and that I am increasingly becoming a part of the solution, rather than being a part of the problem.
Since you are personally familiar with the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Izmir, what’s the status of these two places, what is the situation, from your perspective?
If we draw a parallel between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, I can say that people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are perhaps a bit more aware of these issues than people in Turkey. On the other hand, I think that the Turkish government gives more attention to this problem than the BiH government. The city of Izmir is one of the best examples when it comes to SE efforts in Turkey, and perhaps in the world. According to the available data, Izmir will become the center of renewable energy in the world. Each year in Izmir, 2,400 engineers graduate from the local university, and 33% of these new graduates are somehow connected with and are interested in renewable energy. Besides, the investments city authorities are making in specific projects well exceed the amounts spent in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It seems that the authorities in BiH are quite reluctant (or even impotent) when it comes to solving many problems, including the problem of environmental pollution. Usually, NGOs and individuals are those who are making the greatest efforts to raise awareness among citizens and try to alleviate or solve these problems.
In all this, of course, human awareness plays an important role, the way we act, think, and so on. Which means that developing awareness is very important in terms of SE.
Lack of awareness is essentially the source of many problems in society, starting with interpersonal relationships and then proceeding through human relations to everything else. If there is no conscious awareness in action, then any given action can end with destructive results. Thus, awareness is necessary in every field of human endeavor in order to reduce the damage that unconscious behavior can cause. For example, by consciously changing our own bad habits related to waste we create a way to minimize the resources and energy we spend, and we can contribute to conscious efforts in this area. At last, Sustainable Energy can be considered as a form of conscious behavior towards the environment.
What would be the best way to develop people’s awareness of these issues, and to encourage them to take action?
Everyone should find a way to see that they have made good choices for themselves. They need to feel that their efforts are meaningful and worthwhile. I have personally found that in the Original Yoga System, which puts forward the notion that we should constantly work on ourselves to achieve a better relationship with the environment and with other people. Yoga is the art of awaking the conscious self. It is a way of correct living. In this sense, thanks to a continuous exploration of ourselves, we can recognize our bad habits and replace them with good ones. After all, the only thing we as individuals can do, is to change ourselves. But, by doing so, we can set an example for others which then may act as a trigger of positive change in other people, as well.
Where is this world heading, and where could it go?
I don’t feel comfortable predicting in which direction the world is headed, but I may say that I think more attention should be paid to raising awareness and favoring conscious behavior towards anything and everything, because – as we have witnessed so far – unconscious behavior leads to destruction.
Title photo: Shutterstock
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