By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Misra Ozkus
Play for Nature is a music project of agaclar.net (trees.net) that aims to attract attention to environmental problems as they believe that too many people are either unaware of this crisis or do not care enough to take action.
In Turkey, where the sustainability agenda is limited, the environmental problems are as threatening as domestic and international issues. Eventhough voluntary environmental initiatives have increased since the Gezi Park Protests (a wave of demonstrations that originally started with environmental protests in 2013), ecological literacy is still low. The Play for Nature project started with 45 musicians and set a target to increase environmental awareness within the society. The team says that Playing For Change Movement is their biggest inspiration.
“I really liked the Playing For Change concept, and asked them if I can develop a similar project in Turkey. They supported this idea and we brought the concept here as Play for Nature” Fırat Cavas (Project Coordinator)
The project gathered 432 musicians since 2011, palying and singing well-known Turkish songs and soundtracks. The team points out that they specifically choose culturally significant songs that everyone can relate to such as Divane Asik Gibi (Like a Delirious Lover), Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayım (On a Long and Narrow Road), Gesi Bagları (Gesi Vineyards) etc.
In various cities and towns of Turkey, the group records professionaly and amateur musicians play in nature, for nature. Famous musicians and actor/actresses also contribute to the project. The videos have reached around 35 million people so far. Around 30 000 people have visited the project’s website, www.dogaicincal.com; and 245 000 users are following the project's Facebook page. The project draws attention at schools as well, the group members mention that some music teachers make their students watch the music videos and give homework about it. Moreover, the project inspired other initiatives, such as urban movements, and people started to sing and play for their cities. This shows that the initiative obtained its goal of creating awareness about nature.
The project also supports environmental NGOs such as Turkish Environmental and Woodlands Protection Society (TURCEK), Association For Nature, World Wildlife Fund, The Bugday Association For Supporting Ecological Living, The Foundation for The Protection and Promotion of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (CEKUL), Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association (TURMEPA) and The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA).
Play For Nature is chosen as Turkey’s Changemaker by Sabancı Foundation in 2012.