Recently, members of the Citizens’ Movement “Kefalonia, island for all”, have followed closely the public debate on the issue of hydrocarbon mining in the Ionian Sea.

Last November, we met at the Ionian Islands Development Conference, where we watched a panel that basically argues for exploitation, highlighting how responsible the acceptance of mining is, how safe the process is, the benefits it may have for the country’s economy, economy and employment of the workforce.

Then, in December, we attended a relevant event co-organised by WWF and the Traverse Social Workshop with the participation of Greenpeace. This discussion revealed the irreversible consequences of the mining process and a possible accident, while the expected developmental benefits were put on a realistic basis.

Weighing all of the above, the position of our Movement is that, from any angle and to be considered by a citizen of Kefalonia, the issue of hydrocarbons, the benefits to the local community and the national economy are disproportionately small compared to the dangers to the natural environment and consequently for the tourist product and the economy of our place. So we are clearly opposed to the exploitation of any deposits in our site.

Our suggestions

1. Regional referendum on the extraction of the Ionian Sea.

As we have emphasized in our previous public stance, local government must be united on this issue and defend the public interest and popular will. To express this will, the only way is to hold a regional referendum in the Ionian Islands Region. 
A referendum, which we propose to be held in parallel with the next May municipal elections and the result of which will ethically commit the next local authorities, region and municipalities, all over the Ionian Sea.

2. Mobilisation with the involvement of local government.

Given the rejection of the exploitation of hydrocarbons by citizens, the next step is the organisation by the regional and municipal authorities of mobilisations involving the whole Ionian people against mining. 
In cooperation with organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF and others, which are already reacting to the extraction of hydrocarbons in many parts of Greece, we can organise a movement that overturns what today they imagine pre-determined and ultimately. Let us not tacitly accept what they present as a fait accompli.

3. Dependence on oil.

Petroleum companies’ main argument is that the use of fossil fuels creates the need for the exploitation of any deposits in our region. 
Let’s show the way with a jointly agreed program from all the parties that will contain proposals and commitments to phase out Kefalonia from fossil fuels and petroleum derivatives. 
• Distribution of the energy produced from RES to the network of Kefalonia and actions to make the island self-sufficient in electricity. 
• Installation of photo-voltaic systems in all municipal and public buildings. 
• Installation of alternative energy and intelligent energy management systems (eg smart electric lighting)
• Promote electric drive by installing electric vehicle charging stations. 
• Replacement of the conventional fleet of municipal and regional vehicles with electric vehicles. 
• Installation of a system for the sharing of electric vehicles by the visitors of the island. 
• Urban bus network design using electric city buses. 
• Design of a communal bicycle system for rent and connection to public transport. 
• Actions to reduce the plastic used. 
• Promoting recycling (and in particular plastic) by installing recycling points with a reward system for recycled citizens.

All the above, however distant they may sound, can be realised gradually, within one or more energy communities with the participation of the Region and the Municipalities. Energy communities enable local government bodies to engage in energy investment, providing financial tools for their implementation.

The environment is the most important thing we will inherit to our children and we must not allow it to be endangered. We call upon all the factions that the Municipality (or its Municipalities) in Kefalonia will claim to agree on the above points and commit ourselves that we will all be together in the fight for environmental protection the next day.

In conclusion, we co-sign collectively in the campaign against mining in the Ionian Sea, coordinating the Traverse Social Workshop and the Open Meeting of Kefalonia and Ithaca against the Hydrocarbon Extraction, participating in the 26th January event in the Kampana Square.

event on Facebook- we will update on our Kefalonia Events Calendar in English soon for people who may wish to attend