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Wake-Up Call

A case submitted by

Semih Muk

Growing up in Turkey, I lived in a big city where city life and nature blended smoothly. But when I visited my hometown last time, a suburban-like town, things seemed different. Instead of small houses and gardens, there were tall apartment buildings everywhere. The neighborhood vibe, with its close-knit relationships and cultural traditions, had faded away. It felt like people were losing touch with their roots and the natural world.

Back in the day, my grandparents would talk about wild animals roaming and farms stretching out. By the time I was living there, there wasn’t any wildlife, but close-knit relationships and still some connectedness to nature; but those were mostly gone, replaced by more buildings and fewer green spaces in my last visit to my hometown. And with all this development came hotter summers, especially with fewer parks to cool things down. I remember one particularly scorching day when the asphalt on the streets was literally melting!

It's no surprise that people are feeling frustrated and sad about these changes. And when a big earthquake hit, it was a harsh wake-up call. Over fifty thousand lives lost – it made me wonder if things could've been different if we'd planned our buildings better, with nature in mind, and left more spaces for parks and safe spots during emergencies.

Now living in the suburbs of New York, I cherish the moments I get to spend in nature. Whether it's a walk in the park or just sitting outside, it's like therapy for me, something that no amount of city noise or stress can replace.


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