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Growing up in Turkey following the country’s 1980 coup d’etat, Yunus Arikan is no stranger to momentous change. As he studied in Ankara in the early 1990’s, Arikan recalls people taking to the streets, protesting over issues like nuclear power and regional gold mines. “It was a moment of ‘we need really transformative solutions,’” Arikan says, a sentiment that he has carried through his diverse environmental engineering career into his role as an advocate at this year’s COP27, the United Nations conference on climate change held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The world’s population is increasingly concentrated in urban areas, many of which are facing unprecedented threats from natural disasters. Arikan says that makes it more important than ever for climate summits to consider practical solutions on a local level. While international treaties are essential, adaptations will also be required at every level of government, down to city councils. 

“When there’s a flood coming to your city, you don’t call your national minister of environment, you call you... Read more

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