in Ikaria almost every village, community or association makes a picture calendar for the new year to raise money for various causes and needs. Competition is tough so these calendars are getting better and better in both concept and context every year. Take for example this one by the Ikarian Radio Station on the subject of mushrooms. (By the way, do you remember my post about Ikarian mushrooms?)
Anyway, I am not a village, that’s obvious! And my purpose is not to raise money either. I am one of the co-founders and co-administrators of a small photo community about Ikaria on Flickr and there we have the same tradition as on the island itself: every year we produce a Picture Calendar! The idea behind it is not money of course. All I want is to present some pictures which, besides their quality, are worth to be seen by anyone who is interested in our small stripe of land. They are pictures typical of the corresponding months and/or typical of what goes on in Ikaria during these months.
This year too I made a Calendar for the group, but as I said in the forenote, this time the choice of photos would not be mine. They would be either the viewers’ choice through Flickr or merely at random through Google Image Search. So if you click on a picture below, a new window will open to a Flickr Search or a Google Search page showing all the results, for example, of «Ikaria» and «January«, «Ikaria» and «February» etc.
The only bit of choosing I did was to pick a photo as a sample from the first rows of both websites. The reason was that as we scroll down the pages, the pictures tend to be less and less relevant to the topic, that is «Flickr + location + month».
I hope you will enjoy this. The larger pictures on the left direct to Flickr. The smaller pictures on the right direct to Google. Click and watch our Ikarian monthly panorama!
Happy New Year!
“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”~
you are certainly familiar with the aforementioned quote. It’s usually credited to W.B.Yeats, however, that’s not true. The famous sentence was written by someone who was amazed when he saw for the first time through a magnifying lens the astonishing details of a beautiful wild flower! Therefore, let my blog article be for you today that magnifying lens. Through it you will be able to see some tiny beautiful details and short elusive flashes in the monotonous everyday life of our island. I’m talking about the small, rare and hidden picture instead of the big one -the one which tourism lately has turned into cliché. Let’s save ourselves from that by putting out some powerful subjective worldviews! As my friend Nana whose article I am copying here, says, this is about a…
«A parallel reality: a collection of special moments recorded through the years and stored in our blogs and Flickr streams, from surreal alienation to oddity, from encounters with animals to performances and improvised rituals, from riddles and witchcraft to extravagance, provocation or simple pleasurable moments and postcard-like snapshots, that’s my way to celebrate Dodecaemeron, the Greek 12 festal days of Christmas and New Year, when earth and skies merge, as they say, and daily toilers like us should stop and rest and say to themselves…»
~~p.s. A friend asked why these pictures aren’t uploaded to Flickr. One answer is that many of them would create unwanted activity. The main reason, however, is aesthetic. As I’m saying in a comment under my snapshot of Nana’s post on Flickr, first and foremost this thing should be seen a whole.
«Windbag of Aeolus»
«Ο Ασκός του Αιόλου»
About the documentary, in short
You cannot conceive the beauty or the ugliness of this world when you are observing it from a distance. You have to approach, dive into its depths and explore… It is only then that awareness and objectiveness are acquired.
Green growth was introduced to Greece round the early ‘80s, when E.U. directives applied to Greek Government energy policy led to the installation of the first wind farm. Since then the number of wind farms has been increasing at an immense rate. The incentive for this investigation was the observation of wind turbines being inconsiderately dispersed across invaluable regions of the mainland and the islands of Greece, in the name of clean, “green energy”.
The main objective of this documentary is to shed light on the environmental, financial and social consequences of this policy and the aftermath of the so-called “high priority” investments supported by huge subsidies.
When examining the environmental aspects, one could wonder about the following:
- Which are the spatial criteria for selection of areas of installation?
- Under what kind of environmental assessment sites like forests, conservation areas, sites near traditional settlements or historic sites are approved as suitable?
- Why are those environmental assessments carried out mostly by private companies and not by scientists, and how are their results validated?
- Which are, if there are any, the obligations of the wind farm owners considering the removal of the turbines and the restoration of the environment and who sees that it is actually carried out?
- In other words, is this really a strategy or a predatory way of harnessing renewable energy sources? Could green energy under these circumstances ever be actually “green”?
- Whom do these “strategic investments” really serve?
- Under what legislation is the constitutionally defined meaning of sustainability being annulled, when permits are being issued inconsiderately and subsidies are given out to one-person companies and affiliates of the same key companies in the energy field?
- Why isn’t there any consideration whatsoever of the actual energy needs of the country?
- Why aren’t those companies fined when they are not meeting their dept to land owners?
- Or, why is the ownership status scouted?
Risks & Challenges
Τhe strength, support and motivation for this 16-month journey of searching, filming and visiting the farthest corners of Greece came from the people of this land, people who have been conveniently silenced. This raises the biggest question of all:
- Why are all the above taking place while communities around Greece are provided with no official information at all?
- Why are the views of Municipalities totally disregarded in decision making? Why are their arguments, protests, petitions passed by?
- Is this really where the birthplace of Democracy ended up to?
As a production team we decided 16 months ago to open the windbag of green growth in Greece and separate the lies from the truth. We did so being fully aware of the risks involved and while knowing well enough the power of the key players in the energy field in Greece…
Ο «Ασκός του Αιόλου» με λίγα λόγια
Δεν μπορείς να συλλάβεις την ομορφιά ή την ασχήμια αυτού του κόσμου όταν τον παρατηρείς από μακριά. Πρέπει να τον πλησιάσεις, να βουτήξεις μέσα και να τον εξερευνήσεις… Μόνο τότε αποκτάς πλήρη συναίσθηση και αντικειμενικότητα. Ο όρος και η πρακτική εφαρμογή της πράσινης ανάπτυξης εμφανίστηκαν στην Ελλάδα τη δεκαετία του ’80, όταν η ενεργειακή πολιτική των Ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων, καθοδηγούμενη από τις Ευρωπαϊκές οδηγίες, συναίνεσε στη δημιουργία του πρώτου αιολικό πάρκου. Από τότε ο αριθμός τους αυξάνεται με φρενήρη ρυθμό. Η παρουσία πολυάριθμων ανεμογεννητριών που αλόγιστα φυτεύονται στο όνομα της «πράσινης ενέργειας» σε ανεκτίμητες περιοχές της ηπειρωτικής και νησιωτικής Ελλάδας, αποτέλεσε το έναυσμα της έρευνάς μας. Ο κύριος στόχος του ντοκιμαντέρ είναι να φέρει στην επιφάνεια τις πραγματικές περιβαλλοντικές, οικονομικές και κοινωνικές συνέπειες της εφαρμογής αυτής της πολιτικής και τις «παρενέργειες» τον αποκαλούμενων «στρατηγικών επενδύσεων» που επιδοτούνται αδρά.
Ακολουθώντας το στόχο αυτό γεννήθηκαν πολυάριθμα ερωτήματα. Αυτή είναι τελικά η ουσία της πράσινης ανάπτυξης και αν ναι, υπό ποία έννοια χαρακτηρίζονται βιώσιμες οι εφαρμογές τέτοιων πρακτικών; Σε ότι αφορά το περιβάλλον ορισμένα μόνο από τα βασικά ερωτήματα που προκύπτουν είναι τα εξής:
- Ποια είναι επιτέλους τα χωροταξικά κριτήρια επιλογής των περιοχών εγκατάστασης;
- Τι είδους και πόσης αξιοπιστίας περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες «επιστημονικά» συναινούν στην επιλογή δασών, προστατευόμενων περιοχών NATURA, σημείων σε απόσταση αναπνοής από παραδοσιακούς οικισμούς και κατοικημένες περιοχές ή ιστορικούς χώρους, ως περιοχών κατάλληλων για εγκατάσταση;
- Γιατί αυτές οι περιβαλλοντικές μελέτες, που συνοδεύουν τις αιτήσεις αδειοδότησης, πραγματοποιούνται κυρίως από ιδιωτικές εταιρείες και όχι από το άρτια καταρτισμένο επιστημονικό προσωπικό των Πανεπιστημίων της χώρας και με ποιον τρόπο ή από ποιο φορέα ελέγχεται η αξιοπιστία των αποτελεσμάτων τους;
- Ποιες είναι οι υποχρεώσεις των ιδιοκτητών αιολικών πάρκων σε σχέση με την απομάκρυνση των ανεμογεννητριών μετά το τέλος της λειτουργικής περιόδου τους και την αποκατάσταση του περιβάλλοντος;
- Ποιος ελέγχει ότι εργασίες αποκατάστασης όντως πραγματοποιούνται;
- Με άλλα λόγια, είναι αυτό στρατηγική και σχέδιο ανάπτυξης, ή απλά ένας ληστρικός τρόπος εκμετάλλευση κοινωνικών αγαθών όπως ο αέρας, το νερό και ο ήλιος;
- Πως θα μπορούσε ποτέ η “πράσινη ενέργεια” να είναι υπό αυτές τις συνθήκες πραγματικά «πράσινη»;
- Ποιόν εξυπηρετούν στην πραγματικότητα αυτές οι «στρατηγικές επενδύσεις»;
- Υπό ποια νομοθεσία καταργείται στην ουσία η συνταγματικά κατοχυρωμένη έννοια της βιωσιμότητας με την αδιάκριτη έγκριση αδειών και την συνεχή παροχή επιδοτήσεων σε εταιρείες του ενός ατόμου, ή σε θυγατρικές των ίδιων βασικών παικτών στον τομέα της ενέργειας, εγχώριων και ξένων;
- Γιατί παραβλέπονται και αποτελούν δευτερεύον κριτήριο οι πραγματικές ενεργειακές ανάγκες της χώρας;
- Υπάρχει κάποιος μηχανισμός προστασίας των ιδιοκτητών γης όταν δεν λαμβάνουν τα συμφωνηθέντα από τις εταιρείες για την ενοικίαση της γης τους;
- ‘Η, για ποιόν ακριβώς λόγο το ιδιοκτησιακό καθεστώς περιοχών απαξιώνεται και αλλάζει εν μια νυκτί;
Η δύναμη για αυτό το 16μηνο ταξίδι μας προήλθε από τους ανθρώπους της χώρας αυτής που αποτέλεσαν και το ισχυρότερο κίνητρο, γιατί έχουν πολύ βολικά και επιμελέστατα αποσιωπηθεί. Και αυτή ακριβώς η παράμετρος γεννά το μεγαλύτερο ερώτημα από όλα:
- Γιατί όλα τα παραπάνω συμβαίνουν ενώ οι Δήμοι και οι τοπικές κοινωνίες δεν λαμβάνουν απολύτως κανενός είδους επίσημη πληροφόρηση;
- Γιατί οι απόψεις των Δημοτικών Συμβουλίων απαξιώνονται και παραβλέπονται κατά την λήψη των αποφάσεων;
- Γιατί οι διαμαρτυρίες, οι φωνές των ανθρώπων αυτών αποσιωπούνται;
- Εδώ κατέληξε τελικά η γενέτειρα της Δημοκρατίας;
Ως ομάδα παραγωγής αποφασίσαμε πριν 16 μήνες να ανοίξουμε τον Ασκό της πράσινης ανάπτυξης στην Ελλάδα και να ξεχωρίσουμε τα ψέματα από την αλήθεια. Το κάναμε έχοντας πλήρη συναίσθηση των κινδύνων που ελλοχεύουν και γνωρίζοντας πολύ καλά τη δύναμη των μεγάλων παικτών στον τομέα της ενέργειας στη χώρα…
.Thursday December 1, 2016 - 10:37pm (EEST)
Happy New Year, my friends!
The same as last year it’s again time to review for you my blog posts of 2015. I wasn’t counting but now I can see they were actually twelve, one for every month! If you are too lazy to scroll, you can just click on the image on the left and you will be directed to Google Image Search to see a gallery of random pics from my posts of 2016. But if you like things to come one after the other, go ahead and scroll below my gaping mouth 🙂 I have set my posts in order of appearance: a book, two maps, a guiding woman, a group of friends, a cook, a craftsman and a crazy girl, a food gathering man, a survival manual, yoga in the wild, hikers in the wild, my river and me, mushrooms, and finally, amazing landscapes in winter. I hope 2016 will be as rich with good subjects as 2015. I hope,..
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
My name is Angelos K. and since I was nominated contributor I am afraid I have written very few entries in this blog. Let’s say that I was saving my blogging skills for special occasions. And as I hope you can tell from the introductory picture, this is a special occasion. The place is Pezi plateau located on the western part of Ikaria island, Greece. The time is two years ago, between December and January 2013. The photographer is Thomas K. Shor, an American writer, photographer and traveller. He and his wife Barbara appeared out of the blue in Ikaria in the middle of a cloudy and rainy winter. During their stay we hiked (a little), we talked (a lot) and we became good friends. Apparently, they liked the island, because they visited us two times. Between their visits I had the chance to read two of Thomas’s books, «A Step Away from Paradise» and «The Master Director» and although I know very little about the places where the action takes place, I liked both of them very much.
While in Ikaria Thomas often carried a camera but I didn’t pay much attention to the fact. Americans are well-known to carry cameras. Until one day when he came to the house and showed to me a pack of high quality B/W prints. Knowing that I am a hiker and an amateur photographer, and therefore, I was familiar with the locations and the subjects, he asked for my opinion about his work. I was all admiration! As a matter of fact, I couldn’t keep my fingers off those prints! Through the years I have seen a lot of great pictures from the desolate landscapes of our mountains but these ones were special. Moreover, they were 100% «Ikaria» and not, as it so often happens, overprocessed creations which, no matter how beautiful they are, I label them «fiction» and I don’t usually give them a second glance. 😕
I immediately told Eleni about Thomas work and as most of her blog is dedicated to photography, she told me to ask for Thomas’s permission and left the door open for me to get in and post an entry. And so I did.
As is the way of this blog, the pictures below work as clickable «mirrors» reflecting the originals inside Thomas’s website. In spaces between them I have inserted quotes from his presentation which I thought was very to the point. Especially that phrase in the last paragraph which (on Eleni’s suggestion) made the title of this entry: «Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny«. Because we love ghost stories in Ikaria. How couldn’t we? Just take a look of those shots! Thomas has managed to show that these shapes, these shades, these forms, are alive. More than that, they can talk and tell stories!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
..........Copyright © 2015 Thomas K. Shor. All rights reserved........
«THE ISLAND OF IKARIA is distinctive for various reasons. It remains to this day an untouristed backwater where people are largely self-sufficient and unusually independently minded. It has been labeled one of the “Blue Zones,” with the highest percentage of people in their nineties on the planet.»
«Historically, it was the poorest island in the Aegean. It is also one of the lushest, with numerous springs and rivers and forests of pine and oak.»
«Yet the landscape photographs I have been taking over the course of a couple of extended stays reflect nothing of this lushness and hardly depict any people.»
«The island is long and thin, a single mountain ridge rising sharply out of the Aegean Sea not far from the coast of Turkey. At the top of this ridge, topped by numerous 3,000 foot (1,000 meter) peaks, is a landscape that haunted and excited me from the moment I set eyes on it.»
«It is a desolate and windswept land of exposed granite carved by the elements into bizarre shapes and balancing boulders. The granite has a mysterious propensity to take the form of living beings.»
«The trees are stunted and the bushes thorny. It can change from bright sun to near impenetrable fog at such a speed as to be entirely disorienting.»
«The atmosphere is often reminiscent of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny. The beauty of the place is raw and the solitude profound. This series of photographs, taken on the mountain’s many moods, reflects both the landscape and what it did to me.»
...Blogged with permission of the author © 2015 Thomas K. Shor. All rights reserved...
Wednesday, December 24, 2015
Rediscovering the mountainous secret nature of my island through a series of chosen photos of landscapes -empty landscapes, as I like to call them- taken by others. You may read the basics about this project which is going to be deployed in several blog entries, in my previous post: «the landscapes of others» . After an introductory memorial gallery of my old landscape shots, that set contained popular high quality pictures of rather well known spots of Ikaria. Unlike them, however, these ones are practically unknown. They are pictures taken in obscure locations or at times of the year other than the two crowded summer months. So I suppose they were underrated because they were uninteresting to tourists. Yet, they are also quality pictures and have a lot to say about the island as it evolves through winter and summer, bad and good weather, rolling geography under dark clouds or bright blue skies. They are the unknown landscapes of others, the landscapes of us who love our island and never stop to explore it, us who live there all year long -or at least try. 😥
The choice was made using the oh! so useful Flickr Search «Ikaria + landscape» sorted by «relevance» giving results oh! so wonderfully
and untouristically random and magical almost like a crystal sphere.
Here are the 11 shots I chose: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
That was the second part of landscape photos from Ikaria with a stress on the mountainous nature of the island. The third part will be more or less in the same style. The land is closing in for winter and everybody is getting ready to pick olives …
to be continued…
Eleni Ik ❤
Monday October 27, 2014
«No, dear friends, our mountains are not «of lesser cultural and touristic value» as it is often sαιd as an excuse by those who aim at their distruction for the purpose of profit. Our mountains are valuable free spaces with wild beauty and open horizons. Besides that we like them and we walk them, we also need them to dance! Watch us!»
Dance and make a point!
Save the free spaces of this world
from speculators! 😡