Harmony with Nature

Nature inherently generates goodness. What we often attribute to nature as disasters are, in reality, consequences of human-induced destruction and inadequate preventative measures. Contemporary worldwide challenges like the climate crisis, drought, and food security stem from humanity's disconnect with the natural world.

Over the last four years, we have confronted disasters that have inflicted substantial losses on both our city and our nation as a whole. Our forests, which serve as the lungs of our environment, were consumed by flames, and we suffered immeasurable pain in the aftermath of the October 30 and February 6 earthquakes. These afflictions persist with the emergence of novel pandemic strains, as well as floods, wildfires, and earthquake disasters.

This predicament arises from our neglect of the culture of living in harmony with the nature. Our society has reached a juncture where we no longer integrate seamlessly with nature, but rather delude ourselves into believing we are its masters. In our pursuit, we have constructed cities where the sky is obscured and habitats that estrange us from the vibrant hues of life, all without considering the long-term wellbeing of our planet.

One of our foremost priorities is to re-establish a lifestyle that is in harmony with the nature in Izmir. A cornerstone of this transformation is fortifying Izmir's resilience in the face of crises like the climate emergency and drought. Our aim is to cultivate an Izmir that thrives and pulsates, where the division between urban and rural areas fades away.

The Living Parks encircling the outskirts of Izmir have bestowed upon our city spaces where children can play unrestrictedly, and young individuals can engage in sports. These parks provide Izmirians the chance to witness countless flamingos in their natural habitats. They also serve as a platform for learning about the unique ecosystems and the wide array of biodiversity present in our city.

When it comes to fostering harmony with nature in Izmir, we knew that a major challenge was the cleansing of Izmir Bay. With a strategic plan founded on scientific insights and a commitment to living in harmony with nature, we launched our Living Bay initiative. At present, we take pride in having successfully and permanently addressed the longstanding issue of odor, which was among the most pressing concerns for Izmir Bay.

An outcome of Izmir's commitment to becoming a resilient city is our Sponge City initiative. Pioneering this concept in Türkiye, we are opting for nature-inspired remedies to address one of the most pressing issues of our time: drought, rather than further encasing the city in concrete. In the initial phase, we are making significant progress towards our objective of installing five thousand rainwater tanks in five thousand buildings.

As the pioneering municipality in Türkiye to officially recognize green infrastructure as a fundamental aspect of urban development, we are shaping Izmir as a resilient city in harmony with nature. In line with this vision, we have initiated two primary projects: the "Izmir Green City Action Plan" and the "Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan.” Through the Climate Action Plan, we are specifically targeting a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Izmir by the year 2030. It brings me great pride to announce that, for the first time in Türkiye, a Green City Action Plan adhering to international standards has been devised for Izmir. We have outlined our "Nature-Based Living Strategy" as a synthesis of these two plans, and we are implementing this strategy with unwavering determination.

Finally, our Green City Energy Action Plan pinpoints the pressing matters that must be tackled to ensure an Izmir in harmony with its nature. It lays out plans for crucial infrastructure investments, policy measures, capacity-building efforts, and advocacy efforts.

Furthermore, our primary focus is on generating the necessary energy without causing harm to the nature. Central to this objective is our vision of transforming into a city that generates energy at the point of consumption, rather than at distant locations. This shift is crucial as large-scale energy production in centralized hubs can lead to significant harm to both the climate and natural ecosystems. Grounded in this principle, we are intensifying Izmir's efforts in combating the climate crisis and lowering our city's carbon footprint.

With this guiding principle, we have put an end to the era where garage was considered a waste in Izmir. Through our innovative projects, waste has transformed into a valuable energy resource for our city. The Biogas Plant in Harmandalı, capable of providing electricity for 190 thousand households, has been successfully inaugurated, along with the commencement of electricity generation from waste at our integrated waste management facilities in Bergama and Ödemiş. We are committed to be the pioneer in Türkiye in this endeavor.