Wait, “Marul”? What?
Obviously your dictionary can’t be lying to you, so yes, “Marul” means “lettuce”. Your common everyday lettuce. You can look at this in all kinds of metaphorical ways of course (or maybe not), but is there any particular reason why we picked this name? Not really, somehow it represents us well, and we just thought it was fun.
But of course, the Marul team isn’t a static, vegetative entity; it’s more of a dynamic, thriving entity that bears fruit in various ways. Before we go into that though, here’s a tiny bit of background to give you a sense of who we are.
The Marul team was formed within BUSOS (Boğaziçi University Social Services Club) in 2007 by a group of young activists interested in ecological advocacy. Note the “ecological” approach (as distinct from the “environmental” one). The team’s major areas of activity are global climate change, energy efficiency, and food and water safety. Marul also forms part of the Turkish leg of Solar Generation, which is a Greenpeace youth organization addressing energy issues.
So we threw out this phrase, ecological advocacy. What exactly do we mean by advocacy, and how does that reflect on how we work?
Whatever your understanding of advocacy might be, one thing it isn’t is insensible, empty statements or assertions that won’t tell people anything about what you’re doing, and more importantly, why you’re doing it. Not only do you have to present your stance, you also have to back it up with a good argument, which ultimately is the only way to further your cause. In keeping with this idea, the Marul team does individual and/or group readings to have a deeper understanding of the systems fueling the problems that the ecology movement seeks to bring solutions to, and the possible arguments and counterarguments that arise. Members of the team also do research to help the running campaigns in any possible way, and also to be able to devise the most appropriate projects within the scope of these campaigns.
With that said, it obviously follows that Marul’s idea of advocacy involves both the argument and the action. What can we do to be part of the solution to the many many ecological issues the world is faced with? The answer is bottom-up activism: Thinking globally, acting locally. Taking these large-scale issues and making them our own. In this aspect, direct action and public opinion campaigns are equally important to us. We work primarily within the campus, but the members also participate in outside events like taking part in demonstrations, attending trainings and film festivals etc.
Ooookay. That’s a lot of talk. How do we really do all that?
Through regular meetings. Everything is discussed in these meetings, and we build on one another’s ideas to come to an agreement about what should be done. We assign tasks to work systematically and to make sure things get done, as opposed to a decision being taken and being put into action oh I don’t know… sometime… by someone… But of course, the process is just as important as the outcome. The most important thing is that we enjoy doing what we do. Marul is not a strict little task force. Yes, we’re dedicated, but we also have fun and keep the general motivation of the team going.
What are we doing now?
Lots! Currently our focus is mostly on global climate change. Our main project involves turning the 17 streetlamps on the South Campus driveway into solar powered lamps. We also have side projects including action against the use of plastic cups in the dining halls, and also demanding a vegetarian menu as an alternative for those who prefer not to eat meat. We run public opinion campaigns in the form of putting up posters, with a specific topic for each rotation of posters, including anti-nuclear action, renewable energy, and food and water issues.
So you can… contact us! Our meetings are at 17:00 every Tuesday in the BUSOS club room, so feel free to stop by anytime with questions, comments, to get more info or to join the team! You can also e-mail us at email@example.com. You don’t need any sophisticated knowledge, or prior experience with activism; we’re open to everyone who’s interested and willing to put in the effort.