A year on from the Cunda Triathlon
It is natural for people to be more pessimistic nowadays when we are experiencing the pandemic compared to the past. In such difficult times, many people, including myself, inevitably try to keep their motivation high by thinking about the beauties of the past. I can’t go without making a mention about the wonderful event organised last year in July, where I, as TIDER, which I founded, carried out our vision to prevent waste.
At the time, I couldn’t write about the Cunda Triathlon, the video of which you watched above, and even though it has been a full year, I would like to share with you this event which was full of beauty. Two years ago, I shared on my blog that we were displaying TIDER's vision of preventing waste in Bozcaada and that this had a great impact. I would like to share again the links of two articles that I wrote about Bozcaada. I wrote one of them before going to Cunda, and the other after the organisation:
While we were planning to exhibit the same beauties again in Bozcaada in May last year, an unexpected decision came from Adim Adim. It was decided to go to Cunda instead of Bozcaada.
Our vision to prevent waste was again on the cards
Due to the brotherly bond between the Adim Adim organization and us, we decided to exhibit our vision of avoiding waste in Cunda. Cunda was not far behind Bozcaada in terms of location. While there is only one organization in Bozcaada, which includes running only, the triathlon in Cunda consisted of 3 events which was cycling, swimming and running throughout the day. We talked about how we can handle this. Of course, with the spirit of the big-hearted NGO, we said, "We will do it somehow," and we started preparations.
The first announced date, June 22, was postponed to July 6 due to the election. As the people who believe that each T.C. citizen (Turkish Republic citizen) should vote, we congratulated the organization for making this decision.
Due to my intensity, I was able to attend the preparations made by TIDER about 10 days before the organization. We talked about many issues in detail, we completed our preparations and the date of the organization, which would take place on the first weekend of July, had come.
As always, I set out at 6.30pm on Thursday with my old friend Serkan Koç and his family, who have been by my side with every photo shoot. Serkan is a friend with whom I can have pleasant conversations with and can talk about any subject. However, I want to open a separate parenthesis to his family. His wife Gizem makes a great addition with their children Mercan and Goknar. Serkan Koç's family consists of precious individuals from the smallest to the oldest.
Especially the sweetness of Goknar (I want to eat her cheeks and the way he speaks), and the dignity of Mercan already evident? It was a real pleasure for me to come with them in the car in such a boisterous environment. They made me laugh a lot. We had a great time.
We took a break at Tavacı Refik, located in the Karacabey district of Bursa. This restaurant, which I have been to before, has delicious meatballs and roasted meat. Of course, delicious starters such as salads, yoghurt and dips that they bring beforehand can also heal your hungry stomach. The turtles and ducks especially attracted the attention of the children in this restaurant which was on the edge of a pond. We fed them abundantly.
How beautiful life is!
Serkan drove until Karacabey, then I took over. We arrived at the hotel in the middle of the night. After a tiring journey, we got up for a very pleasant breakfast the next day. Since we had an appointment with the Ayvalık Municipality at 9:30am, we ended our breakfast and set off at 9am. We went from the Cunda Island to the Ayvalık Municipality in around 15 minutes.
We met with the relevant official of the Municipality. We introduced our association and explained what we will do in the Triathlon event the next day.
We had a break at the hotel, and I had some things to do. I went up to the room and put on my shorts. I remember working 3 hours by the seaside, saying “Oh, life is beautiful” amid the pleasant shouts of the children while the wind was blowing on my face. Then I went into the sea with Serkan, Mercan and Goknar. Then I took my shower and was ready for the triathlon.
We went to the organization area all together. When we arrived, event tents had just been set up and a lot of things incomplete were completed. We looked at how we can set up our own tent. First, we chose a place for ourselves and set up an open-sided tent that could protect us under the very harsh sun. Later, we completed our preparations for our zero-waste vision. These included preparing our table, setting up the compost barrel, labelling all the containers and barrels, and talking about what to do.
The soup kitchen and animal shelter
After completing our preparations, we wanted to see the soup kitchen and animal shelter. Thanks to the people at the municipality who helped. After a nice chat at the soup kitchen, we went to the animal shelter. After meeting with the managers and looking inside, we went out and came back to the organization area, made our last preparations and returned to our hotel.
We had dinner at a restaurant in Cunda square. The appetizers were good, the conversation was great.
Everyone was motivated for the next day. Since the bicycle race was to start at 9 in the morning, we had to be at the organization area at 8.30am. The whole team met in the square, albeit with some delay. Speaking of the whole team, TIDER's professionals, some board members, our volunteers and I were there from the very first hours of the organization.
The stolen containers
What did we see when we arrived? Six of the seven containers that we had prepared with great care in the evening were gone. Such matters came to my mind and I immediately said, "Once that bike race begins, we’ll look at the campsite, they’ve probably been taken there". After the bike race started, we first went to the camping area with our manager Ms. Ozgul. I saw our first container at the corner of one of the bungalow houses in the camp. "Bingo!" I took the container to the place where it belongs, to the area where the TIDER stand is. God give brains to people who stole a container from the TIDER stand which had the word “Plastic” written on it and used it as a trash can What is the purpose of stealing a container from someone's stand for God's sake? Also, considering that educated population participated in this event, we can say that the low class in this country has gotten worse.
"Knowledge is knowing the truth"
In fact, although all of the participants in the triathlon event are from the educated group, we have encountered those who act very responsibly, as well as those who act insistently against recycling. While experiencing all this, a wonderful word of Atatürk came to my mind:
After salvaging a significant part of our containers, we met with the officials of all NGOs, companies and organizations that built stands with us in the square. We told all the athletes who participated in the Cunda Triathlon about this. We explained our vision to prevent waste. As a reminder, I would like to share this image of our vision once again:
The race was organized as a 15 km mountain biking in the morning, 2 km swimming at noon
and 10 km trail running in the evening. We witnessed different colorful organizations in each of the activities of cyclists in the morning, swimmers at noon and runners in the evening. The main theme of the race was having fun that lasted all day. For details, you can check the website of the organization: https://teamkronos.com/ultimate-cunda/
The course of the swimming race organized at noon
The music that increases its rhythm throughout the whole process, people dancing before and after sports events, applause, songs, the announcer who constantly made announcements from the microphone and guided the organization with his humorous style, and the NGO spirit that dominated the atmosphere summarized the organization that had spread throughout the day. Here, as TIDER, our contribution was to collect the wastes from the morning to the evening with the support of all our volunteers, just like the Bozcaada run. We threw recyclable products such as glass, plastic and metal into relevant containers, collected organic waste elsewhere, and continued separation successfully throughout the day.
Acknowledgment and criticism
Here, I would like to thank all the TIDER volunteers who support us, DHL professionals who helped us implement our vision of avoiding waste with more than 30 employees by preparing a large organization, and to our general manager Nil Tibukoglu and all the TIDER professionals, especially our chairman of the board, Hande Tibuk. I would like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to everyone's contribution, we completed this event in the most successful way.
I also have a couple of words about the organization. I always say what I know is right: We were surprised that an organization that has been doing this for years is so lacking. We especially did not like that they wanted to use our volunteers on the watering track. They put us under suspicion and we did not have such a promise to them. However, the volunteers of TIDER undertook the task of giving water on this track with the great sacrifices of our participants so that no problems would arise. I understand that you want to save money, but I would like to ask what kind of mentality is it to try to use the volunteers of an NGO for your own savings. Is this your kind of sports spirit? Our volunteers, who perished under that heat, managed well. However, when the water bottles were not enough on the courses (which is the fault of the organization company, they have to put enough water on each track), we did not like the words sprayed by the runners to our TIDER's volunteers. Nevertheless, all TIDER volunteers did their best selflessly.
Towards the end of the event, the Ayvalık Mayor came to the event area and was given information about our work. We had visited its municipality the day before and made all the connections. The municipality also provided us with additional container and logistics support to sort out as much as they could.
I really liked the design of the medal they gave after the triathlon; it was smartly designed.
When the event was over, we were not done. As promised, we sent the products that we separated such as plastic, glass and metal for recycling with municipal vehicles and delivered the products that may be organic waste to the municipality by explaining how they can compost them. The next day (Sunday), we delivered the products that people could consume to the soup kitchen belonging to the Ayvalık Municipality and brought the products that the animals could consume to the Temporary Animal Shelter belonging to the municipality (of course, adding animal food from the market ... We wanted to make this contribution on behalf of TIDER).
We will make the change together
On Sunday, after delivering the products we had collected to the soup kitchen and animal shelter as promised, we went back to Istanbul around 2pm.
We fulfilled our duty by working day and night and with the participation of all our volunteers. In total, around 70 volunteers supported us and if we count the support from the square, more than 100 volunteers supported our activities. These are all works that should be exemplified in the country. Environmental awareness, responsible citizenship, entertainment without polluting the environment and respecting the natural cycle which are values that we have always emphasized since the beginning.
From now on, we will continue to defend these values and encourage people. As a matter of fact, after the Cunda Triathlon, the Festtogether was held last year with the motto "Have Fun, Leave No Trace".
Although it seems like small steps for a more liveable world for current and future generations, we need to start the changes. The most important change is in the mindset. We are happy if we can change certain habits, understandings, beliefs and share the environmental consciousness and the feeling of supporting all living things around us.
Note: I would like to thank Serkan Koç, who made and prepared the video for the wonderful Cunda Triathlon, which fully reflects the spirit of our work.