Less than a month after the cataclysmic earthquakes of Feb. 6 – in the midst of organizing emergency shelter, health care, and other essential services to survivors – the Rotarians of District 2420 went ahead to hold a conference on climate action. Sustainability consultant Safak Oszoy, ESRAG Chair for Rotary Zone 21, shares this news and joyful photos.

District 2420 organized a Climate Change Congress on 4 March 2023, the first event in our district on climate change. The Congress was hosted by Kadir Has University, with a magnificent view of Halic, Istanbul. The speakers emphasized the urgency of taking action on climate change, and that all stakeholders must strive to meet the ambitious target of keeping global warming below 1.5 C and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. The main topics covered included COP 27 outcomes, climate change and resilience, and the sustainability framework. We talked about building awareness in Rotary clubs, including ways for Rotarians to contribute to mitigation, adaptation, and planning for carbon neutrality. The carbon footprint of the conference was calculated with a sponsorship of Tulip Sustainability Center, and offset by Maslak Rotary Club.

As one of the speakers for the afternoon session, I discussed how businesses and NGOs can implement sustainability, offering specific recommendations for Rotary clubs. I pointed to the necessity of energy transition and sustainable development as a framework for management implementation. ESRAG Chair-Elect Yasar Atacik presented the history of Rotary environmental action, an overview of ESRAG’s role, and ESRAG’s recent work on the Climate Road Map.

Safak Ozsoy the founder and general manager of Tulip Sustainability Center, with decades of industry experience in environmental safety, health, emergency response, and corporate social responsibility. She helps businesses incorporate global climate change into their planning through a framework of sustainable management, including collaboration between industry and civil society. In this photo, she’s on the left, Dr. Atacik on the right, with fellow panelists Dr. Semra Baysan and Ozlem Tut.