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Güven Eken

Güven Eken Takes 'Green' into Account in Turkey

On 19 May 2011 Sabancı Foundation's Turkey's Changemakers hosts Güven Eken, the chair of Nature Association, who makes a difference in protecting endangered species and the habitats that live in Turkey.

New York has a population of 8,2 million. One-seventh of New York's surface of 786 km^2, 110 km^2, is dedicated to parks and forests. There are 29.2 m^2 of greenery per person in New York. While the same number is 45 m^2 in Roma and 27 m^2 in London, it is only 6.4 m^2 in İstanbul. In other words, the greenery area per person in İstanbul equals one-seventh of Rome, one-fifth of New York, and one-quarter of London.

Although statistics on land use and green are cruel, there are change-making individuals and organizations in this country that takes 'green' into account.

Güven Eken's passion for the environment first began in 1990 when he was admitted to Ege University Dentistry Faculty, where he established, along with other environmentalists, the Aegean Bird Watching Community. Later, he went to the Nerherlands for his doctorate degree on "Ecological Sciences and Nature Conservation" and there, he worked on identifying critical environmental zones.

Upon his return to Turkey, he initiated the first study for identifying critical environmental zones in the country. Entitled "Important Environmental Zones Project", Güven Eken's most important project at the Nature Association was aimed at protecting the rare species and the habitats they live in. As part of this project, a report that combines environmental studies and information on species facing extinction was published.

Working several years on preventing the extinction of numerous bird species, including the infamous bald ibis, another important work Güven Eken pioneered is a national bird watching database on the internet. Through educational programs, Güven Eken also targeted youth and help them take an active role in the conservation of nature.

Several works of Güven Eken at the Nature Association has become a model not only for Turkey but also for the world. After the "Important Environmental Zones Project" 40 other countries followed the same methodology to conduct their important environmental zone studies.

For more information: https://www.dogadernegi.org/en/

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