Brutal realities

October 13, 2011

REC Turkey helps bring US climate change exhibit to Istanbul

By Zsolt Bauer

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RUBBISH EXISTENCE: Habitat loss and food-chain destruction are threatening the polar bears' survival. Photos: Zsolt Bauer

As the mightiest denizen of an extremely sensitive and vulnerable ecosystem, the polar bear is an understandably well-recognised victim of global warming. To see such a creature reduced to the pathetic status of foraging for food amongst a heap of rubbish is heart-rending, and this very sight awaits visitors to an interactive climate change exhibit now on display in Istanbul.

Fortunately, for anyone who pays a visit, this hungry polar bear isn't real: it's a life-size replica, and just one of many impressive attractions aimed at raising general awareness of present and future impacts of climate change. The exhibit was created by the American Museum of Natural History in 2008. REC Turkey, with generous support from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Turkish Telecom and several other partners, brought the exhibit to Santral Istanbul under the special guidance of curator Edmond A. Mathez.

"At first, I was really against using the polar bear as a symbol for the exhibition," Marthez remarked when the exhibit opened on October 4, "but when my colleagues found and showed me the shocking photo of the bear [replicated and on display here], I changed my mind."

The 1,000 square-metre exhibit not only shows the evolution of problems and impacts stemming from human activities, but also provides an outstanding array of suggestions as to how we can avoid disastrous outcomes by changing the way we live.

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LOCAL VISION: (L to R) Regional Director for Turkey and the Black Sea Region Sibel Sezer Eralp, Project Manager Yesim Aslihan Caglayan and Deputy Director Kerem Okumus.

Walking through the exhibit's many rooms, visitors will learn about complex problems and relationships that touch every society, plant and animal species on Earth. There is an astonishing photo collection themed around the status of global environment and human behaviour. Turkish art exhibitor Arter Tasarim has developed a unique display in the final room that provides a highly emotional conclusion to the entire exhibit.

For its part, REC Turkey is organising professionally guided tours of the exhibit to groups of high school students, which include a short discussion on how lowering emissions can help to curb climate change. The exhibit runs in Istanbul through January 15, 2012.

For more information, please contact REC Turkey's project organiser, Kerem Okomus.