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Turkish environmentalist campaigner commemorated in nature he loved
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 09 Mar 2011 Wed 01:13 pm

Turkish environmentalist campaigner commemorated in nature he loved

Environmentalists gather for the funeral of Victor Ananias in the Aegean town in Bitez. Radikal photo

Environmentalists gather for the funeral of Victor Ananias in the Aegean town in Bitez. Radikal photo
Victor Anainas, who devoted his life to explaining the central importance of nature, died suddenly last week at his mother’s home in southwestern Turkey. Praise for his work has been pouring in since his death, the cause of which is still under investigation. His funeral was held in the Aegean town of Bitez on Saturday and drew many environmentalists.

Members of Turkey’s environmental community have been remembering the life of work of Victor Ananias, a prominent activist and ecologist who died last week in the southwestern district of Fethiye.

Ananias, who died at 40, fought for nature throughout his life, Banu Dökmecibaşı of Greenpeace Turkey recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

“After 20 years of friendship, I may call him not only eco-friendly but a person who was devoted to nature,” she said. “He was only 19 when he opened a small shop selling organic products in the 1980s. With the shop, he aimed to create awareness when people only focused on industrialization but nothing else regarding nature.”

Ananias, who was the president of the Buğday (Wheat) Association for Supporting Ecological Living, devoted nearly two decades of his life to developing organic agriculture in Turkey and established partnerships with several nongovernmental organizations that led to many new ecological practices.

“A life that only focuses on the idea ‘of taking’ cannot satisfy humanity but drags humanity to its end,” Ananias said in a column he published for the Buğday Association’s website in 2006. “On the other hand, the ideas ‘of giving,’ ‘sharing’ and ‘presenting’ are knocking on our doors to make us happy.”

Cause of death debated

Medical authorities have been unable to definitively determine Ananias’ cause of death, with an initial post-mortem suggesting he died from a gas poisoning due to a misused barbecue. News agencies, however, initially reported that he could have died from eating a poisonous mushroom, while others pointed to a possible heart attack.

Official sources have pointed to possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from the barbecue, but the man’s friends said there was no barbecue or heater in his mother’s house in which he was found dead, daily Radikal reported Monday.

Moreover, Ananias was well accustomed to using heaters and barbecues, long-time Erkan Alemdar following the funeral Saturday in the Aegean town of Bitez.

Alemdar said he thought Ananias had suffered a heart attack because his heart was weak.

“He slept only three or four hours daily,” Alemdar said. “His mother said he did not eat a poisonous mushroom, but an unidentified plant may have caused his death.”

Officials said two months would be necessary before a final autopsy report is able to reveal the true cause of his death.

Humans share the Earth with others

Ananias had written for the Buğday Association that poor people had always welcomed him with the richest spreads and added that people who were closest to nature and the hardest workers were also the most generous.

The ecologist said in another column that he was surprised to find olive pits near olive trees as he was collecting the harvest.

“I realized there are other creatures that eat olives. Who knows; mice, insects, birds? I thought I had a lot of partners [which had a right to the produce] in the field,” said Ananias, adding that after that day, he began leaving some olives in the trees during harvesting.

Buğday, which is a pioneer of domestic organic markets in Turkey, works on building sustainable human activities supporting existing good examples and encourages the free flow of knowledge and experience. Buğday has developed an alternative vacation program, called Eco-Agro Tourism and Voluntary Exchange, or TaTuTa. On the exchange, visitors stay on farms as eco-agro tourists, observe ecological farming and contribute directly as volunteers to the ecological host farms.

 

 

 

 

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