The geographical diversity in Turkey is truly incredible. One can find just about everything across this country, from mountains to plains, rivers to seas, as well a number of very interesting geological formations.
How are people connected to the environment?
The geographical diversity in Turkey is truly incredible. I often travel by bus to cities around the country, and I see so many different landscapes on every journey. There are dramatic mountain ranges all over Turkey. It is also fun to fly over them, looking down upon snowy peaks even in the middle of summer. People inhabit mountain ranges, fertile plains, and beaches along the coasts. Shepherds herd sheep and goats along the roads and through the mountains. People eat produce from local gardens. The seas surrounding Turkey provide entertainment, food and income for many.
What makes this environment special or different?
Four major bodies of water border Turkey: the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The Turkish people make a living fishing from these seas and working in the tourist industry, like in hotels. There are many beautiful beaches that people from all over the world like to visit. In Antalya, in south central Turkey, one can see snow-covered mountaintops while lying on the beach or swimming in the Mediterranean.
Land in Turkey has been inhabited since the beginning of civilization. Some of the oldest stories took place here, and there are ruins dating back over 10,000 years. For people to survive, the land must be fertile so fruits and vegetables can grow. The soil must provide nutrients for grass to grow, which is often food for the animals. There must be fresh, clean water for people and animals to drink. It is amazing that the land in Turkey has been providing these things for so long.
Fields near Osmaniye
What parts of this environment help people to live here?
The seas provide a living for many people. Besides fishing and tourism, large boats transport all kinds of things from different countries across the water. The coast is a nice place to relax, but also very important for the economy. In addition to seas, there are also many lakes, rivers and natural springs throughout Turkey. These help to irrigate the land, and also supply drinking water for people and animals. In southern Turkey, many apartment buildings have large canisters of water on the rooftops. The water stored in these containers is naturally heated by solar energy, or by the sun. If one takes a shower on a sunny day, the warm water comes from these containers, and does not have to heated with expensive electricity or gas.
Fertile soil is a key component of people’s wellbeing in an area. In my region, the soil and climate are helpful for growing many fruits, vegetable and nuts. Farmers prepare the ground, plant the crops, tend to the weeds and other pests, water the seeds and make sure the plants are growing well and are healthy. When harvest time comes, they take all the produce from the plants and take it to a local market to sell. There are many different steps involved in the lifecycle of a vegetable, and many different people play a role helping the plants to grow until it’s consumed.
What challenges do people face living in this environment?
Where I live in southern Turkey, it can get quite hot. But thankfully the sea is near and can provide some relief from the heat. During the summer, there is often not enough rain. By the end of summer, it can be very dry, and vegetation sometimes has problems. If a plant does not get enough water, it will not grow properly. The fruit from that plant won’t be as good and plentiful. The plant might even die, and all the effort of gardening and farming the plant was actually wasted.
How have people been adapting to this environment?
People know what the land can provide, and they work with the crops that can flourish. Citrus and olive trees are in abundance in Osmaniye, and these goods are sent all over the country and all over the world. People eat olives but also press them to make olive oil, which is used in cooking. Those living here have learned how to deal with the heat and lack of rain in the late summer, though it is still always a challenge. I love living in a place where fruits and vegetables grow. I enjoy the green trees and plants around me, and rest well knowing the sea is just a short drive away.
Road to the fields
Coast in Samandag
Forest near Osmaniye
Playing in wildflowers
The Mediterranean Sea
Wildflowers near Osmaniye