The various regions of Kurdistan have for many decades been exploited by their respective oppressor states, with the result being ecological devastation. For example, the Syrian portion of Kurdistan (Rojava) was for many years considered the bread basket of the Syrian nation, and the internal colonialism practiced by the Syrian regime has led to serious issues around agricultural monoculture, pollution and soil erosion.
In North Kurdistan, within the state borders of Turkey, ecological devastation is used as a tool of population control by the Turkish State. Mega projects such as huge dams have drowned hundreds of entire villages, forcing the population into the cities where they are dependent on waged labour, as opposed to more collective and self-reliant ways of life in the villages. Dams, as well as forest fires, are also used to control movements of guerilla forces within Turkey, and retention of water is used as a form of special warfare against the population of North and East Syria, which is downstream from Turkey. Read more here.
Recognising that achieving a sustainable ecological balance is vital to the safety and security of a society, the Kurdish Freedom Movement considers ecology as one of its three key pillars.
Across all regions of Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Freedom Movement drives countless ecological initiatives. This includes agricultural co-operatives that seek to implement agroecological growing practices to conserve biodiversity, conserve topsoil and increase self-sufficiency; tree nurseries and tree planting initiatives; development of sustainable energy production (particularly solar); public transport infrastructure; and establishment of community gardens and tree nurseries in partnership with local neighbourhood communes.
However, ecology within the Kurdistan Freedom Movement is much more than a collection of initiatives and projects concerned with sustainability. It is closely intertwined with understandings of collective and cooperative economy, self defence, and justice. While in prison, Abdullah Öcalan was influenced by the writings of Murray Bookchin and the concept of social ecology, which identifies the separation of humans from the natural world, and their subsequent drive to dominate it, as a a relationship of domination that must be overcome to achieve liberation.
Find out more from the Make Rojava Green Again project, or this article on ecology in democratic confederalism.