IKI message for the environmental day – June 5, 2020

This year’s Environment Day, at the current juncture of the pandemic, is an occasion to realize even more the dramatic changes in the natural and man-made environment as well as in the anthropogeographic structure of our planet (read ‘ global village’ ).

Despite the efforts of states and international organizations, the environment is deteriorating more and more every year, as a result of the exhaustive exploitation of natural resources, in the context of the general economic system that dominates the world and the so-called negative globalization , both for the environment. as well as for society. Nearly three decades have passed since the signing of the emblematic global environmental agreements of the Rio 1992 summit (on climate change, desertification, biodiversity) and the results are indulgently disappointing.

The pandemic is an occasion to rethink man’s relationship with nature and the environment, which has now been severely disrupted as it is at the root of such devastating and pandemic crises. Man, as the predominantly invasive and invasive species on the planet, dominates the entire biosphere in a non-symbiotic way with other species and living beings but also the abiotic nature. The crisis of the corona itself will seem like a simple illness in the face of the fever of the climate crisis.(or even a nuclear holocaust). Climate change is already here and requires tough adjustments for which we are not ready and which are not naturally solved by the quarantine method… The old ecological slogan ” think globally, act locally ” is not enough. With the means available today, the human community must now act and globally for the survival but also the quality of life .

Greece, but especially the Ionian Islands , are, compared to other countries and regions, really hot spots of biodiversity and landscape diversity. However, the beautiful Ionian Islands are also abused islands from the brutal insult to the environment, in the name of a “development” and a “tourism” whose effects and dystopian expressions in the space, are clearly seen in areas such as e.g. Kavos in Corfu, Laganas in Zakynthos and Lassi in Kefalonia (the latter with milder symptoms but steadily following in the footsteps of the previous two). There are, of course, smaller-scale attacks and threats on environmental objects, which we all experience around us, and for which a separate ” red book ” would be needed .

In the age of the third generation of epidemics / pandemics worldwide, it is an opportunity to see again the conditions and limits of the development of the islands, both in their mountainous and coastal   areas and in the residential centers, not only with quantitative but mainly with qualitative parameters.

The Foundation of Kefalonia and Ithaca (IKI), which from its statute, has as its object of interest the entire Ionian archipelago, – always focusing on Kefalonia and Ithaca – considers it harmful and dangerous to conceal any kind of “abuse”. Instead, they must be brought to light so that the competent authorities and the bodies of civil society can be involved. In any case, environmental ostriches may be temporary, but in the long run they seriously undermine the future of the island’s environment.

For these reasons, it is imperative that regional and local authorities, as well as the local community, demand the promotion of basic environmental activities such as prudent water management , sustainable waste management combined with pollution control ( including noise pollution) traffic management and city travel in general and other environmental concerns.

Also, the main concern for our island complex must be the approval and implementation of the regional plan for adaptation to climate change (Ionian Islands), which we discussed last year at 18 the scientific symposium of IKI. The transition to the so-called new climate regime should be the best possible without creating new social inequalities. At the same time, the protection of the island nature, important for the existence but also for the quality of life, must take a specific form through actions that will have the spearhead of the two major protected areas : the Ainos National Park and the Zakynthos National Marine Park and all other Natura areas.

Moreover, the sensitive islands we live should carefully look and appropriately specialize recent European Green Deal (European Green Deal) in the Ionian islands of Kefalonia -Ithaki. The same is needed for the broader UN Agenda 2030 on global issues with the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, which are unfortunately “out of the question”.

The environment, which under the Greek Constitution  (Article 24) is an obligation   of the state and the right of everyone, is at a critical juncture and its protection presupposes structural social and economic changes at national and international level. And the key question that always remains relevant: Is there the will and the strength for it? The answer is obviously for everyone.

Relevant information and in general about the action of IKI on the website   www.ikifoundation.gr

Elias Beriatos

Chairman of the Board ΙΚΙ

Ohm. Professor of Spatial-Environmental Design Thessaly

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