Ever felt motivated to be more active but didn’t know where to find the resources to get started? This week Mariann speaks with Zeynep Sağlamöz, Global Graphics Coordinator for Animal Save Movement, about the fantastic resources they have made available to activists. She also tells us about animal rescue efforts during Turkey’s recent devastating earthquakes and the awe-inspiring progress made by activists in the municipality of Didim.
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Zeynep Sağlamöz is an animal rights activist in Türkiye. After seven years in the ad-land as an art director & graphic designer, she became vegan and left her corporate job, having realized that she was creating work promoting a speciesist industry. She now uses her expertise and know-how to expose the truth about animal agriculture by directing and producing thousands of powerful multilingual graphics for Animal Save Movement, where she serves as the Global Graphics Coordinator. She has two cat friends, Delilah and Pixel.
- Zeynep on Instagram
- The next pandemic could spring from the US meat supply, new report finds
- The Save Movement website
- Plant Based Treaty Website
Mariann Sullivan: Welcome to Our Hen House, Zeynep!
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Hello, thank you so much for having me!
Mariann Sullivan: I'm very pleased to be talking to you, both because I want to talk to you about your own work, which is really fascinating- you do work with the Animal Save Movement- and because I don't think we've ever interviewed somebody from Turkey, so I'm particularly excited about that!
Because of what's happened in Turkey over the past…well, I'm not sure how long ago the earthquakes were, maybe six months ago? Because that's such a huge thing, before we get into your work, I'd like to talk a little bit about the impact of the earthquakes on you and your family.
And I know you did some animal rescue work vis-a-vis the earthquakes. Can you tell us just a bit about where we are now, what you went through, and some of that work?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Of course. Regarding the earthquake, it was about four months ago. We had extremely difficult weeks, and it will take almost decades for us to erase the tracks of the earthquake.
Animal Save Movement Turkey activists rescued about 300 animals, including the cats, the birds, the rabbits- the dogs the majority of them were injured- from the earthquake zone, and they are still taking care of them, finding a new safe home for them. I'm so proud of them. I think the achievements should go down (in) history. During the earthquakes, none of the team members slept properly for weeks, ate properly, not even showered for days and weeks.
We (are) located in Ankara, which is the capital of Turkey. And the earthquake zone is about nine to ten hours long for us. So, we made more than 10 come-and-gos to (the) Earthquake Zone to save as much as possible that we can rescue. So after that time, after all of these come-and-gos, we came (to) a point that these rescues are not safe for us anymore because the government started to put the power of soldiers.
They were trying to grab us and jail us because there were so many thieves and unwanted things during the earthquake zone. You know, there are so many types of humans in the world, so…
According to official numbers, we have lost 50,000 people, but, it's a country which has no democracy, the government is playing with the numbers because the elections come.
We think the real death number is (a) minimum (of) half a million.
Mariann Sullivan: Wow…
Zeynep Sağlamöz: By the way, these are only the human numbers. No one is counting for the animals in this country.
Mariann Sullivan: Wow. That's really extraordinary. And one even can't imagine the amount of animals that have been impacted.
I'm so sorry to hear about it. I mean, of course, we heard a great deal about it. It was news all over the world, but I'm sure being there was just completely devastating. I hope you and your family and the people you work with all are okay…
I know you weren't in the zone, but still traveling in and out of the zone must have been dangerous. And thank you so much for doing that and for saving those animals. I assume that these were mostly animals who had been companion animals who were left homeless and wandering. Is that mostly who you rescued?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Mostly, yes. And in the earthquake zone, it's also an animal ag zone, including cows and dogs, and donkeys. The majority of the population (was) just gone right after the earthquake, as far as we know. For the other ones who have survived, we also tried to help by reaching them (with) food, water, and supplies. but we have lost (the) majority of the population.
Mariann Sullivan: Unbelievable. It's almost hard to change subjects after talking about a tragedy of that magnitude, but one of the reasons I did want to talk to you is about your work, which is really international in scope, not just in Turkey.
And so you work with The Animal Save movement, who I imagine most of our listeners are familiar with to some extent, but I really want to hear more about it because I'm fascinated by the kind of work that you do. You do graphic design of materials, is that correct?
Can you tell us what kind of materials you work with and in what languages? And then we'll talk a little bit about how you get them to people and what they use them for.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: My pleasure. So, my title at Animal Save Movement is Global Graphics Coordinator. My main job is (to) coordinate all of the requests, all of the translations. We work (in) more than 20 languages so far, but our main communication language is English, actually.
Animal Save Moment is working with more than 80 countries actively, so far. I'm trying to (increase) our languages- the translation numbers- so we can reach our voice to every single corner of the world. My other, one of my main responsibilities is also enlarging the languages so we can reach the diversity goal that we need to get in.
I want to actually tour the languages before we finish the year. I'm not sure I will manage, but I'm trying to reach my goal.
Mariann Sullivan: Who do you work with to…? I mean, presumably, you don't know 200 languages, unless you're really, really multilingual. So who do you work with to translate Animal Save’s materials into other languages, and how are you sure that the right message is getting out? How do you do that?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: It's actually all about teamwork, in my opinion. I only coordinate the things, all of the requests, that's all, and I'm also creating the visual communication language, but the individuals, the local activists, get in touch with us. “I want this in Italian language, or in French.” With their help, we enlarge our languages.
It's all because they are there for help to enlarge the message, actually. It's not me. It's really not about me.
Mariann Sullivan: *laughs* Well, good. That would be hard to do it all yourself.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: *laughs* I only know two…
Mariann Sullivan: It does sound like a really beautiful worldwide team effort. It's really very moving that you're managing to do this. So that's how you manage to get these materials into this large variety of languages, but you design the materials themselves.
Can you tell us a little bit about them and how people use them?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: First, we actually collect our requests from all of the Animal Save Movement global teams. From campaigns team, from social media team, or the local individuals that we have. For example, we (just had) Mother's Day. People have some requests to post on digital media, or they wanted to show physical material such as a poster.
I collect all of these requests and start to create them. After I built the composition, we present it to our native (speakers) to take a look if the messaging (is) right, if there (are) any grammar mistakes. So, basically, the process is simple for us.
And after the approval, we announce it in our channel so everyone who has internet will be able to reach those materials that we have present(ed).
Mariann Sullivan: Oh, so at some point, you don't have to distribute them anymore. Well, you distribute them via internet, and people can print them out and use them. So far, they can get them in 20 different languages, and after this year, they'll be able to get them in just about every language.
All right, so, I know it's important, or at least I got this impression from looking at the website, that you feel it's important that these materials have a particular look and that that be consistent. Can you tell us a little bit about what your goals are in creating materials, how they should look, and how you feel that they will communicate the message well?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: We actually have a communication code not to be aggressive. Animal Save Movement defines itself as a love-based community, not being aggressive. We do not use sharp messages to reach the audience that we need to reach. And, of course, we have a communication language code, our branding colors, our branding fonts. The photographs, the composition that we build has a code, actually. So one of my responsibilities is also just to frame that look if it fits Animal Save Movement's visuality or not, as well. Basically, just like that.
Mariann Sullivan: I really love the idea of there being this consistent appearance worldwide in so many different languages, but it's all branded, at least visually and in its style and its look, as Animal Save Movement. I think that's very powerful. We're talking about social media materials, possibly posters, I assume, for protests or vigils and leaflets…Do you do leaflets as well for people to hand out?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Yes, we have all of the graphic design materials. I created thousands and thousands of materials for Animal Save Movement uh, digitally, physically. Business cards, pens, banners…real large banners-10 meters long, perhaps- posters, brochures, z-fold leaflets…anything you can imagine to (spread the message). We use every material that we can do.
Mariann Sullivan: I would imagine that people who have that passion- want to do something but aren't sure what to do- having these kinds of materials that are branded and reasonably sophisticated in their appearance really empowers them. That they're not just a person out there who cares about animals; all of a sudden, they're representing a worldwide organization.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Yes, I really would like to encourage people who would like to take a vigil or make a physical activism out there- you can get on animalsavemovement or plantbasedtreaty.org to select a couple of materials and print them and use them. They're free to use. So you are more than welcome to use.
If you need any help for printing or digital materials, I'm here to assist you as well. You can get in touch with me by Instagram, or you can email me. Perhaps we can also put it in the connections section as well. So you're more than welcome to use them.
Mariann Sullivan: I love this. Yeah, it's very empowering, very empowering to people who want to do something and aren't sure what to do. You mentioned it can either be Animal Save Movement materials or Plant-Based Treaty, and as we know, those are related organizations. Why would people choose one or the other?
Is it more if they have an animal rights message, they would go to Animal Save, and if they have a climate message, they would go more to Plant-Based Treaty? And would it depend on what their audience was in a particular event?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: In my opinion, it depends on the goal, but at the end of the day, the goal, I think all of the audience's goal is the same, to end the animal ag, if that makes sense.
Plant-Based Treaty is an overall system solution. As all of the audience know, there is a climate, ocean, and biodiversity crisis, and fossil fuels and animal agriculture are the driving force behind runaway global warming as well as extensive biodiversity loss, large-scale deforestation, species extension, water depletion, and ocean dead zones, et cetera. Addressing only fossil fuels is not enough. We need action on food systems too; that’s where Plant Based Treaty comes in. The three main greenhouse gases- carbon dioxide, methane, and *trouble pronouncing* nitrous oxide. My apologies for my English… are the record levels…
Mariann Sullivan: Oh, please, your English is much, much, much better than my Turkish, I assure you. *both laugh*
Zeynep Sağlamöz: You’re so cute! Thank you.
So these three main gases are in record levels and rapidly accelerating. Animal ag contributes to all three but is the main driver of methane and nitrous oxide emissions globally. So, that's where Plant-Based Treaty came in. It's a system solution to create a better planet. Using the system because I do not know how can I say…Going vegan is so precious and so valuable but it may not be enough to save the planet in the time that we need. So we need a system solution. That’s where Plant-Based Treaty comes in.
If you would like to read more about Plant-Based Treaty, I would like to invite all of the listeners who are listening to my voice right now PlantBasedTreaty.org So please sign the plant-based treaty. It's free. You do not have to pay for anything and, at the end of the day, you will do a really good thing for our planet.
We use those signatures in climate summits to enlarge our effects on the politicians so they can put on the table, just like the fossil fuels, put on the table the plant-based food solutions too. This is the reason why we so focus on Plant-Based Treaty because it is SO urgent that we need to act right now.
Mariann Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. I should mention- Anita Kranjc was on the podcast, but a long time ago, when she was really just first starting. So I would strongly encourage people to go back to the website because a lot of progress has been made since then. And I just have to say, like, you hear so many people talking about how we need system solutions, and then some of them seem to think that individual solutions are unrelated to system solutions, but I don't think that's true. Going vegan yourself is a step toward, but it can't be enough.
What you're doing is really telling people, “Well, you can be part of creating a system solution. Going vegan isn't your only job. You actually can do this. You can be part of this.” And I think it's so empowering.
I’m just going to read something off of the website, which I just found almost chilling in its hopefulness. “The theory of momentum-driven organizing suggests mobilizing at least 3.5% of the population in nonviolent direct action and persuading majority public opinion for there to be major progress in the goals of achieving social change.”
3.5% is a very small number, but when you're fighting for something that's right, and that makes sense, and that you can communicate, and you do manage to communicate, it really is enough to change the world, isn't it?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: I think so. I believe so. We also heard that through both these individual and system change together- the communities, the businesses, the governments can work together at all levels and point out the invitation.
We also wrote that adopting a vegan diet is the single biggest action a person can take for the planet, and the IPCC agrees that a shift towards a plant-based diet can reduce food-related greenhouse gases. This info, I think it's so beautiful. So I would like to read it out, “An Oxford University study calculated that large changes in the food system would be necessary, that is everyone adopting a plant-based diet on a global scale, to reduce food emissions as much as 70%.”
It's really a huge number, 70%. It's tremendous. Just by eating plant-based food, that's possible. That is really delightful, hopeful, I think.
Mariann Sullivan: It really is. There is hope here, but hope has to be joined with action, and that's what you're helping people do.
And if there's somebody listening here, an individual or an individual with a few people, and they want to start a chapter, how do they end up talking to you to get those materials, and what resources do you provide them with to start off with?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: If you would like to start a new chapter in Animal Save Movement, please visit AnimalSaveMovement.org. You will see a menu, Start a Chapter. Please click that Start a Chapter headline. You will see step-by-step, or you can just get in touch with us. We have also our email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, we are here to help. Whatever you would like to do, it can be a climate-based solution, health-based solution, or PBT solution, or Animal Save, more ethical-based activism. Whatever you would like to do on the field, we are here to support you. Please, just do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
You can just click the animalsavemovement.org.
Mariann Sullivan: It's amazing. It really is. The way you're putting this together and the way it really feels like it's planet-wide. That, by clicking that site on animalsavemovement.org, you're connecting yourself to people all over the world. The people all over the world who get it about animals and who get it about how we're going to lose the planet if we don't do something.
Once they start a group and get in touch with you, how do they know whether they're being effective? Do they have ways of tracking the work that they're doing?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: There are lots of different cultures in the world. And Animal Save Movement is an international organization that works in more than eighty countries, so the meaning of being effective can be changed in every single country. For example, in Toronto, making a pig save vigil is so effective in that area.
But I live in Turkey, for example. We cannot do anything related with pigs because Turkey is a Muslim country, and they have so big boundaries with pigs. People who (are) religious, people who see the pigs (as) forbidden. They are dirty, they must be in hell, (these) kind of things. So the communication language and being effective can be changed in every single country.
This is the reason why, for example, in Turkey, we are focusing on Plant-Based Treaty. We are talking about plant-based food systems instead of trying to tell people veganism because veganism is so new in Turkey, and people have really big boundaries on veganism. So being effective can be different in every single country.
For example, in Africa, they're also focusing on Plant-Based Treaty as well. But, for example, in India, which is a culture which is related (to) plants so beautifully, it is so easy to talk about veganism, for example.
Mariann Sullivan: Yeah, yeah.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: So it can be changed in every single country; this is the reason why. So, for every type of location, we create a different tact to communicate (with) the target group.
This is the reason why we have thousands and thousands of graphic materials because we have thousands of different cultures and audiences.
Mariann Sullivan: That makes so much sense. And it's amazing that you've created all of those materials.
But pulling back from the worldwide movement and just focusing on Turkey, is there an Animal Save Chapter in Turkey? And what kind of work does it do?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Yes, Animal Save Movement Ankara Chapter was opened four years ago. Chapter means kind of located activists. We have Istanbul Animal Save, Ankara Animal Save, Eskişehir Animal Save, and İzmir Animal Save. So we are located in four main cities in Turkey and what we are doing is…There are so many different activities that we have done in Turkey.
We make vigils. Vigil is a kind of signature activism in Animal Save Movement. So, we do vigils, and we do workshops, planting workshops, for example. Or, dear Nilgün, who is the queen of Turkey activists, some plant-based workshops, plant-based milks, plant-based cheese, plant-based meats.
There are lots of things that we have (done). We screen movies, documentaries, that we think are having the message of veganism- in climate concern, in health concern, in animal concern- such as Seaspiracy, such as Dominion, Breaking Boundaries, My Octopus Teacher. We have screened almost, perhaps, 50 screenings so far.
We also collab with cafes and restaurants in different cities to collect endorsements for PBT and just to develop their menus to put some options, plant-based options, their menus as well. We go to universities to talk about plant-based food systems. We collab with the doctors, the dieticians.
We do street activism just to give cupcakes. give milks, to people just to invite them to talk with us. We have lots of brochures, z-fold brochures, and leaflets, and booklets if they have any questions in their heads, “How I'm going to do this in Turkey?” We have also really large starter kits for those who have questions in their head.
“Where do I get my protein? Where do I get my calcium or iron?” With these doctors’ help, we created a really reliable guide. So they will find all of the answers on there if they are not able to talk with us. And we are trying to reach every single corner, if we are able to, in Turkey. And we also had a festival a couple of weeks ago, which I am so proud of.
We have made Turkey's very first 100% vegan festival a couple of weeks ago. So it's all about dear Nilgun, who is our regional liaison for (the) Middle East. Her efforts made this city something else, so the municipality, Didim municipality, was so open to adopt a plant-based system.
So, we have done so many great things. If you would like to hear, I also can mention about these too.
Mariann Sullivan: Yeah. No, I'm very excited to hear that. I'm very impressed that the municipality is, I assume you're talking about government officials, that they are very open-minded about this. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Yes, I would love to. So, it is hard to say Turkey is a vegan-friendly country. In fact, all the vegan products were banned from being sold in the markets.
Mariann Sullivan: Oh yeah! I remember hearing that. Yeah. That was crazy.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: So what we once said would only be possible to see in Turkey after a decade or so, we have actually brought to life in the past weeks. I'm so proud of the members of my team because we have organized, like I say, the 100% vegan festival, which was not a thing in Turkey so far. And the outcomes of the festival are also so mind-blowing as well. Many thanks to (the) Mayor of Didim. They were so open to adapt the city to plant-based. There were no access to plant-based food except water in the area before. But now there are lots and lots of cafes and restaurants put a couple of plant-based alternatives on their permanent menus. Before VegFest 2023, we went to the city to carry out some workshops at 10 businesses, including one hotel for the tourists, to help them implement a vegan food to their menus. This led the city to be a vegan-friendly city overall. Also, the municipality allocated a buffet for vegan food that would serve to people 12 hours a day to see sights, which was not a thing as well so far.
And the mayor is considering to start a veganic farm in his jurisdiction, also.
Mariann Sullivan: Oh my gosh! *laughs* Wow! You guys are really making a lot of progress. A veganic farm! Wow.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Yes, this will be a first as well. So also we will be partners in another festival, which is a lavender festival called Lavender Festival, in July as well. He will announce Didim being the first municipality to start a vegan farm, and we owe the realization of all of these efforts to dear Nilgun, who is one of our activists, like I said. She put a tremendous amount of effort to make all of this happen.
And with your help with this audio show, I would like to thank again. I did perhaps a hundred times, but I would like to thank again for being so powerful, passionate. I cannot thank you enough. We cannot thank you enough. Thanks for being here.
Mariann Sullivan: I thank you as well. That is amazing, the amount of work you're doing, and it sounds like you're creating real, real change there. I'm very excited to hear about it. And the fact that the government officials are receptive and open. I mean, that doesn't happen unless a lot of legwork has been done to create that positive atmosphere.
So, yeah, I'm incredibly impressed about what's going on in Turkey. I'm so glad that we caught up with you today, Zeynep. This is really exciting, and I really hope that people listening…You know, there are some people probably who are very comfortable in the amount of activism they're doing, but so many of us feel that we want to be doing more and aren't sure what's the best way to do it.
And it just sounds like, you're really- The Animal Save Movement and, of course within that, The Plant-Based Treaty movement- are creating that possibility for people to find a way to be really active in a way that really counts.
So, thank you so much for everything you're doing, I’m thrilled to hear about it all.
Zeynep Sağlamöz: Thank you so much for having me. It's my honor to talk with you here, Mariann.
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