Windbag of Aeolus


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«Windbag of Aeolus»
«Ο Ασκός του Αιόλου»

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About the documentary, in short

Director, journalist Nasim Alatras 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.

Why?

Ikaria with towers and propellers While following this objective numerous questions were raised. Is this energy policy the essence of green growth and if so, could this be considered a truly sustainable form development?

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”?

profit Such an obvious lack of strategic planning raises more questions considering the financial aspects of the matter.

  • 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

No to the giant wind turbine plant on mt Atheras 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…

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Ο «Ασκός του Αιόλου» με λίγα λόγια

 

Director, journalist Nasim Alatras 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.

Γιατί;

Ikaria with towers and propellers 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»;

profit Η προφανέστατη έλλειψη στρατηγικού σχεδιασμού λοιπόν, δεν μπορούσε παρά να γεννήσει ακόμα περισσότερα ερωτήματα, ειδικά σε σχέση με το οικονομικό καθεστώς που επικρατεί στις «επενδύσεις» αυτές.

  • 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;

Προκλήσεις

No to the giant wind turbine plant on mt Atheras 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…

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 .Thursday December 1, 2016 - 10:37pm (EEST)


Ανεμογεννήτριες αλλά και δάση βελανιδιάς


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 press for Greek

«I like wind turbines and yes, I can accept a few in Ikaria but I also want a lot of forests with oaks»

I had said once, oh poor innocent me, what an illusion! I should have known better! Under current conditions of tribal invasive capitalism, that cannot be done!

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😞 😞 😞
Say No to 110 turbines in Ikaria

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So I’ve changed my mind! The company’s plan is monstrous and disastrous for our island. I have copied and translated the petition against it and I am asking everybody to sign it!


Wind turbines and Ikaria: How a blessing turns into nightmare

Say No to 110 turbines in Ikaria In July, 2011 the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy granted permission (RAE 877/11 / 15.07.2011) to the company IKAROS ANEMOS SA (affiliate of Mytilineos group) to install 110 mammoth 3 MW wind turbines on 28 square kilometers of Mt. Atheras in Ikaria island. The permit states that the turbines will be installed in the following sites of the ridge of Mt. Atheras of the Municipality of Ikaria: «Vigla – Kapsali – Podilia – Ypsonas – Kasmianos – Provatokefalas – Roukounas – Sarantiadon- Erifi – Koutalopetra – Varka – Pappou Logari – Seladia – Megalofos – Siamaki – Kliratia – Stasousa – Papoutsokriftis – Anavathres – Ranti – Stavri – Pounta – Pr. Ilias – Kako Katavasidi”. Their maximum height will be 150 meters and their wingspan will be 90 meters. The permit is expected to be valid for 25 years with a prevision for renewal for an additional 25-year time (50 years total).

After the issuance of the permit by RAE [15/07/2011] two legal proceedings against it were submitted: 1. by the Municipality Ikaria, following a unanimous decision of the City Council on 30/07/2011 to proceed against the RAE decision. 2. by Mr. Ilias Gianniris who also filed a proceeding to the Minister’s office (AP 5590 / 02.08.2011).

Public appeals against the wind turbines were issued by: 1. The NGO «Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation” 2. The Municipal faction «Laiki Syspeirosi Ikarias» (LAS Ikarias) 3. The Municipal faction «Autonomi Syspeirosi Politon Ikarias» (ASPI) 4. The «Kinisi Politon Evdilou» 5. The regional party «Eco Wind in the North Aegean Sea».

Some say that such investments (wind turbines) can close down a lignite mine. However, the same investor (Mytilineos) has publicly declared his interest in the lignite mine of Vevi (near Florina, northern mainland Greece) for 300 MW!
(Source: news.kathimerini.gr)

Case record

Say No to 110 turbines in Ikaria In the 1980s the National Electric Company (DEH) installed and operated seven 30-meter-high wind turbines in “Firi Aspa” above Ikaria’s capital, Agios Kirikos. Although they were very close to the main road, their aesthetic impression was positive. They looked like familiar technological constructions. They were capable of covering 12% of the energy needs of the island and they were in full function especially in August when energy consumption reached its peak.
To cover its own energy needs Ikaria does not need the new wind turbines.
The maximum capacity of the thermoelectric plant in Agios Kirikos is 12,5 KW, while a wind turbine installed by a private near the village of Perdiki produces an additional 600 KW.
The maximum estimated demand for electricity in Ikaria is 9 MW and that only in peak season (10 days around the Celebration of the Assumption in mid-August).

Effects

Say No to 110 turbines in Ikaria To apply the investment in discussion and have 110 wind turbines planted on the crests Mt. Atheras, the whole length of the ridge will have to be excavated, as seen in examples from other areas of Greece. Huge trucks will be needed to transport the parts of a 3 MW turbine, therefore, large roads will have to be built on the mountain.
Each 3 MW wind turbine weighs up to 380 tons without counting the weight of the foundations. These will have to be extremely strong. Each one will require an excavation of at least 16×16 meters large and at least 3 meters deep, as well as leveling and clearing of at least 2000 m2 of land around each turbine. For one-hundred and ten such foundations, the total of land which will be used for the investment is estimated to 220.000 m2!
One utility building will be needed for each wind turbine.
Finally, each wind turbine requires an average of about 14 km of cables on utility poles or in underground lines to connect the turbine to the substation. This means even more excavations on a length of many kilometers.
A large-sized building will be needed for the substation. This will be located near the shore at the point of connection with the undersea cable which will carry the electricity produced by the turbines to the mainland (Attica).
In the spots where the wind turbines are planned to be installed there are several protected areas NATURA2000 (SAC and SPA). (Source: communitywalk.com and WWF: oikoskopio)
On the other hand, if the investment respects the protected areas, including the forest of Ranti, it is estimated that the space left will be sufficient for only 13 out of the scheduled 110 turbines.

The natural and cultural wealth of Ikaria is seriously threatened

In my blog: 'Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny' The 110 turbines will be installed in fragile ecosystems and large areas of importance for bird life. The giant turbines set in rows on the ridge of Mt. Atheras will be visible from miles away. Their sight will drastically alter the unique insular landscape which is considered to be one of the greatest cultural assets of the Aegean islands.
The sites where the turbines are planned to be installed present several valuable features for Ikaria:

  • The unique ancient forest ecosystem «Forest of Randi»
  • The environmentally protected areas (NATURA 2000-HOS)
  • Areas of great cultural importance and long-aged historical value (Pounta, Kako Katavasidi, Papoutsokriftis, Erifi, etc.)
  • The famous historical pathways stretching on many kilometers around and across the ridge of Mt. Atheras
  • The famous stonewall barriers, the most important of which runs along the eastern part of the ridge
  • The precious water sources along and between the mountaintops

All these will be flattened for the sake of a private investment on public/municipal land (and perhaps pieces of private land as well), aiming at a profit for 25 or 50 years and making Ikaria looking like a giant porcupine sailing at sea.

Will there be benefits?

In my blog: 'Image from the flashflood of October, 2011 in Ikaria The famous countervailing fee which will be reaped by the Municipality of Ikaria is estimated that it will not exceed 1.7 million euros a year (K. Theophylaktos, information event about the project in Rahes, Ikaria, 08.22.2011).
Let us now compare this benefit with the cost of the disastrous torrential rainfall of October 2010 on the road network of Ikaria. A lot of the damage was caused by flooded secondary dirt roads letting out on the main network. The total cost of the damage was estimated to be of the order of 13 million euros.
Nobody knows how many such heavy rainfalls would occur over the next 25 or 50 years and how much damage they will cause. If the 110-wind-turbine project materializes in Ikaria, the clearing and flattening of the land for the foundations and the building of the roads will create immense surface water runoffs which will be added to the ones which caused the floods of October 2010.

Information

In my blog: 'Sites of the planned 110 wind turbines in Ikaria To fill the information gap about the 110 wind turbine project in Ikaria, several gatherings were held in Rahes, Evdilos and Agios Kirikos by the Aftonomi Syspeirosi Politon Ikarias (ASPI) in August 2011. Unfortunately, the Municipality Ikaria, although they filed a proceeding against the investment, did not call the people to a special information gathering on the subject. Instead, they are in contact with the investor and they are holding discussions with him.
The people of Ikaria, the Ikarian community in general, as well as the visitors and lovers of the island do not have sufficient information on the effects of the planned massive project. Before we find ourselves in front of predetermined choices, we should react now.
Sign by pressing the SIGN THE PETITION

GoPetition, ΙΚΑΡΙΑ: ΥΠΟΓΡΑΦΟΥΜΕ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΩΝ 110 ΑΝΕΜΟΓΕΝΝΗΤΡΙΩΝ (we sign against the 110 wind turbines on Mt. Atheras in Ikaria

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The final signed document will be as follows:

The undersigned, individuals and associations, are opposed to the installation of 110 wind turbines of total 330 MW on Mt. Atheras in Ikaria.
This project, if applied:

  • will turn Atheras into an industrial zone for a length of over 27 kilometers
  • will mean mass works of road building, excavations and land clearing and leveling for the foundations, transport, installation and maintenance of the turbines, as well as for the necessary utility poles, cables and buildings
  • will increase the vulnerability of Ikaria to the process of desertification and the consequent flashfloods, as the works will create open ground surfaces of tens of square kilometers
  • will destroy the Forest of Randi and other important wooded areas
  • The famous stonewall barriers, the most important of which runs along the eastern part of the ridge
  • will destroy a large part of the protected areas (NATURA2000 – Habitat of European Interest) located in western Ikaria as well and the PA located between Pounta and Kako Katavasidi
  • will destroy the habitats and nesting sites of the birds of Ikaria, which according to the Greek Ornithological Society, are of great importance
  • will reduce the vital productive areas of the inhabitants and downgrade the aesthetic value of Ikaria for several decades
  • will dramatically alter the landscape as the turbines will be placed in rows along the highest tops of the ridge and will be visible from everywhere
  • will drastically reduce the rising popularity of the hinterland of Ikaria to vacationers and it will cancel the strong potential of Ikaria for mountain tourism (hiking, mountain climbing, cultural touring) which tones up the economy of the small mountain villages

We believe that this investment is of a colonial nature and stands contrary to the interests of the island because:

  • it ignores the local people’s will
  • it is planned and developed without transparency, sharing of information and communicating with the inhabitants and the authorities of the island
  • it offers vague quid pro quos, as the current financial offer of the investor to the Municipality and the local community may be subject to change at any time or may not exist in the future, particularly under the present economic conditions in Greece
  • it is unrelated to the energy needs of Ikaria and aims only at the profitability of the investor
  • it flagrantly violates the principle of proportionality, as an island which needs an annual amount of only 9-12 MW is asked to contribute to the country’s energy objectives for the year 2020 with the excessive amount of 330 MW produced by this investment
  • it does not take into account the 25-year or 50-year economic loss from the delivery of tens of square kilometers of the mountain to private interests. Specifically, the proposed deal does not take into account the natural disasters eventually brought by the disruption of the hydrological cycle as well as the long-term effects on the economy of the island (depreciation of property and losses in the domains of beekeeping, sustainable animal breeding, food gathering, mountain tourism, etc.)
  • finally, because no one can guarantee that, after the expiry of the investment (that is, after 25 or 50 years), the natural environment will actually be restored and that the 110 wind turbines, together with their 110 reinforced concrete foundations, ancillary buildings and kilometers of cables will be removed and shipped out of the island at the expense of the investor

We are calling the Municipality of Ikaria to:

  • not accept this colonialist investment plan
  • not accept negotiations for siting in any location within the perimeter of the Forest of Ranti and other protected areas
  • to take action in finding and applying appropriate economic, social and environmental energy solutions compatible with Ikaria, possibly participating in joint-form enterprises by local investors in the fields of e.g. geothermal power and small sized RES

The signatures under this petition do not authorize anybody to accept possible future offers by the investor. Any further discussions on the matter should start from zero basis.

Sign by pressing the SIGN THE PETITION


 .Thursday August 19, 2011 - 10:37pm (EEST)


For Reasons of Honour


[στα Ελληνικά]


A Love Story
An Adventure Film
An Initiative of Volunteers

«…and the river -come on, red-haired wife of the priest-
and the river was muddy and the river was muddy,
muddy and turbid, dragging boulders –come on, red-haired wife of the priest-,
dragging boulders off their roots, dragging boulders off their roots,
trees that have been uprooted, dragging a -come on, red-haired wife of the priest-,
dragging a sweet apple tree, dragging a sweet apple tree,
loaded with black plastic pipes!»

(old Greek folk song)

 

[On October 18, 2010 torrential rainfalls hit the western side of Ikaria island causing an unprecedented flushflood which destroyed the vegetation and leveled the rivedbed of the most beautiful mountain ravine of the river Chalares, commonly known as «the river of Nas». Besides that, if not the worst, at least the ugliest result of the flood was the hundreds of pieces of broken plastic pipes used for irrigation purposes, piled up and tangled in every part of the ravine. So, the following spring a team of  volunteers responded to the call of the local Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club (OPS Ikarias) to remove all that trash from the river and let nature heal its wounds as nature knows best. The text below is the chronicle of that huge volunteer project. It was written day after day with a lot of emotion so it’s sometimes difficult to understand. But I hope the photos will help.]

The broken sign at the entrance of the trail in the canyon with piles of branches and trees and plastic pipes on it Uprooted dead pine with pieces of plastic pipes Sad Lina

Day 1: Beginning of December, three from the board of the Mountain Club of Ikaria and other two friends we go to Chalares to see the devastation after the terrible flash flood of October. Shock. A new unknown landscape. Without plane trees, caves, waterfalls, pools. Barren, even river, broad, with a lot of water. And with a lot of light. Merciless, ample sunlight, without shade anywhere. In this light pieces of plastic pipes are seen everywhere –thousands of meters of black pipes of water intake that the river carried and broke. Pipes that shouldn’t be there in the first place, and yet they were; cut in pieces, fortunes wasted, reduced to trash. Nobody was aware that they were so many. We are thinking: we can’t remake the old river, we can’t eliminate the reasons that led to the doom. But we can remove the trash pipes. “But it’s not our business”, “But it will be hard”, “What are we going to do with them?”, “They ‘ll say they needed them. We will get in trouble”. But something like a tantrum has taken over us. We must do something. Let’s do this. Let it be like a gesture. Pick up the trash. For reasons of honor.

 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFDnb_DVAAA7TMk.png on facebook 😉

A dead pine with its roots on its trunk Another strangled pine The leveled riverbed 1 The leveled riverbed 2

From that moment on we call ourselves “Initiative of Volunteers”. Write a petition, collect signatures, apply to the Municipality of Ikaria, step somewhat absurd (“please, let us pick up the trash”). Yet necessary. Responsibility, awareness, reliability, honor. Permission from the Council is granted, a “committee of inhabitants of Nas” supports us, we go for dates and finally the… ANNOUNCEMENT!

 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFDnb_DVAAA7TMk.png on facebook 😉

It's not art. It's trash Burdened and strangled pine Trying to take in the change This used to be a beautiful river pool where hippies swam naked

Day 2:

Good Thursday. K. is expecting a lot of volunteers. He has taken the hubbub on the internet for cash. A. is worried about the weather, the swollen waters, the bad shape of the trail into the gorge. G. is off to Athens. L. shows up smiling with his dog K. -mascot of every dangerous mission- who ‘s smiling too. Early at the rendezvous on the bridge there is a car, we think they are volunteers; no, they were night owls, stopped for some sleep. We meet D. who we until then knew only on the net. Orange overalls “Greek Speleological Society”. We meet K. who we knew not, yet we knew her dog V.! K. is wearing a long raincoat, hood and rubber boots to the knee. Weather rainy, north wind, the river in hissing. G. is in K.’s restaurant in Nas, making sandwiches. E. has sent 150 € for provisions, she hasn’t come herself though. There are not enough hands. We are desperately few. Embarrasment. A., K., L. and D. start picking and bundling pieces of pipes. Suddenly, bam!, the “foreign factor” turns up (“Kalimera!”) -S., J. and little R. from England. Raincoats, leather boots, woolen caps.

Ku the Volunteer in the rain Ro the Volunteer Kan the Watchdog
Si the Volunteer Ju the Volunteer Lef the Volunteer

But we still are too few. A. exhausted (“What are we doing here?”). Little R. asks her mother who is struggling with the pipes, “Mummy, what do normal people do in their holidays?” We laugh. Young D. rides by. She’s studying for exams and she’s taken a break. “Grab a saw, go in” We take a good look at the river, the part that we have cleaned. It’s a river without trash pipes. A river that we had never seen so clean before -even in its best. OK then. We are doing a good job.

Free Chalaris from broken Pipes - Day one Free Chalaris from broken Pipes - Day one Free Chalaris from broken Pipes - Day one
Free Chalaris from broken Pipes - Day one Taking a test - Day one Volunteer Val at Angelolivada - Day one

Hours later at lunch at K.’s there’s lot of good talking. End of Day 2.

Dan the Volunteer Ku the Volunteer Sandwiches and wine for all
Ku Si Ju end of 1st day Heal the wounds Lou the Volunteer

 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFDnb_DVAAA7TMk.png on facebook 😉

Day 3: Good Friday. The Longest Day of the War. Super-Production. Highlights : Two volunteers from Athens! We lost the cook!A young Greek American with family origins from Ikaria joined us. He was in the Navy Seals. He and his girlfriend ripped to work! V. showed up late, already noon, yet she brought with her a platoon of 3 men; they all fought very bravely. Even later came E. (sent by M.) who, however, helped incredibly a lot (honoring the arms of Messaria) with the pipes in the hardest part of the river at the hardest hour of the day. Volunteer G. (honoring the arms of Rahes) was carrying heavy bundles of pipes two by two. A., D. and K. who tied the bundles with wire, grew calluses in their hands. At a certain moment old man V. from Kato Raches who was also picking up pipes and repairing his own, shouted to the team. Though he was only asking to save for him a piece that he needed, his yells alarmed the English. “I think we have a political issue in there…”, they said as they were leaving. On their way back to Nas they run across a rare toad and take a photo! Except broken pipes, the only pieces of trash that we found in the canyon were a car tire, a tent pole and… a bra!

Greek power juice Va the Volunteer Our old handmade dam partly gone.
plane jet Tutti Volontari Mangiare Bene bra or bikini top?

Hours later at lunch at K.’s there’s lot of good talking. End of Day 3.

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Day 4: Wednesday after Easter. Ungrateful, heavy carrying. Dirty weather. We are very few. K. is already working in the field, unruffled in the rain, she is carrying up bundles from the large Angels’ pool. She loves that place. She wants it to be clean. We are impelled and we get busy. K. is throwing bundles to young K. from one side of the turbulent river to the other. Young K. has freaked out yet manages to grab and carry the bundles. But Ch., a newcomer, ran away as soon as he saw what we were doing. We didn’t see him again. A.’s camera freaks out too, and it jams.

Ya the Volunteer Cook! Ko the Volunteer Di the Volunteer
Ja the Volunteer unaware of the camera Ja the Volunteer aware of the camera The last bundle

Hours later over coffee at K.’s there’s lot of good talking. End of Day 4.

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Day 5: Sunday. We are nobody! G. comes by K.’s place, he finds A., then the other G. comes by, they have coffee, they recruit two tourists and later they find another two, they all go to work, and… miracle of miracles, magic power of casualness…

the job is done!!! 🙂

Making a flight of stonesteps in no time At the river bridge in Nas Out of the river and to recyclement
Di the Volunteer in a clean river

The End

In Nana to agrimi's blog: '2 photos from a future without goats and floods'Request: Just now the river is (almost) clean of trash to the beach of Nas. No other pipes must be cut and removed by anybody under pretext that “they are trash” or that “they are illegal”. The pipes that remain in the river are functional. They carry water to the farms and the village of Nas, therefore, until the area is properly connected to the public network, they must be respected. Any damage to them, will cause trouble. To anybody who would like to help the nature of the river to reborn faster, we suggest planting olianders, local river plants that are found everywhere and can be planted easily any time of they year. Also, the goats don’t like them and they don’t eat them. Thank you very much.

 

For the volunteers

Angelos K. Grav


Ikarian Naked Landscapes


http://www.adammonk.com/

This is Adam Monk. He is a professional photographer from Australia who specializes in wide wild landscapes of the type that Australians call “outback”. Adam who is an artist, calls them “Naked Landscapes”. They are, as he says, «places far from the influence of man«. Last June he visited Greece and took photos of our «outback», our Wild Nature (“Άγρια Φύση”) or “Virginal Nature”. Naked Landscapes, Virginal Nature, one metaphor for another. Metaphors is tricky stuff. To use them one has to know well what he or she is talking about. Undoubtedly Adam does. See here some great photos from Fournoi isles and four well chosen Naked Landscapes from Ikaria. On his permission I have connected them into this entry. I couldn’t also help copying the stories that go with them as well, which he was so generous to share with the viewers.

The Greek island of Ikaria

Last year in June/July i had the opportunity to go to Greece with my girlfriend Electra, who is Greek.  Greece is one of the places i’d always wanted to go but had never made it to… it’s a long list!  We stayed only 4 weeks, which is not long enough to really explore Greece, but seeing all of it wasn’t the objective, but to experience the life and culture of Greece a little, hear the language and eat the food…  and eat more of the food… Greek food is great, usually quite simple, but really good!

One of the places we visited was the Island of Ikaria, not one of the main tourist islands, and right over near the coast of Turkey. Ikaria was quite different to what i expected Greece to look like, and very different to the other Greek Island we visited on that journey, more on the other island later.

The Greek island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea, Greece.

I had always thought Greek Islands would be more like Rottnest, the island off the coast of Fremantle, and many of them are, very rocky, dry and windswept with low scrubby vegetation and small white painted houses.  In contrast to this Ikaria is green, forested and has beautiful gorges with rivers and waterfalls, and the houses are not painted white!

One thing that was as i expected it to be was the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea with it’s amazing deep aquamarine blue colour that just invites you to jump in, which i did on many occasions, including just after making this image here, which is the bay of a tiny fishing village at the end of a long rough dusty dirt road (it was a hire car…).  I cant remember the name of the place, but when we finally arrived it was around midday and the whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves.  So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked!  It was lovely.

Chalares Canyon, Ikaria

The Greek Island of Ikaria is a haven for bushwalkers and nature lovers.  Unlike many Greek Islands that tend to be dry and windswept (though still beautiful), Ikaria is thickly forested and covered in gorges, rivers and waterfalls… i’m starting to sound like a travel agent or a travel documentary!  Way too formal.

Well, as much as i love beaches, freshwater rivers and waterfalls amongst shady forests are really my favourites, there is something more surreal and almost imaginary about them.  Its probably something left over from my childhood when i would ride off on my bicycle into the bush  and spend the day wading around in creeks and rivers catching little freshwater crayfish and turtles (then letting them go again), only to turn up at home again hours later wet and smelling of the swamp!

Whatever the reason, for me Ikaria was a paradise of rivers, waterfalls and freshwater crayfish (i tend to eat those now…), with lots of long lovely walking trails through shady forests and rocky gorges, that would take you down to places like this one…

Crystal clear stream on the Greek Island of Ikaria in the East Aegean Sea

I didn’t find any freshwater crayfish, but i did find some very cute little freshwater crabs and some very small shrimp…  I didn’t eat any of them, and i did spend many hours here just sitting.  Bliss.

This one is the beach below the town of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria, it is also the opening to the sea of the Chalares Canyon from a previous post.  On the opposite bank of the river is the site of an ancient temple of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility; there’s not much left of it now but the sea wall and the foundations, but it is a beautiful site.  I just found out the other day that this temple was originally built from stone quarried from Petrokopio beach on the neighbouring island of Fourni which featured in this post

Site of an ancient temple of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the wilderness, the hunt, wild animals and fertility

Quiet Reflection, Ikaria

This magical little spot was just a short walk from the room we rented just outside of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria.  It is a small pool in the Chalares Gorge which cut right through the landscape below the balcony of the room and ended at the beach shown in the previous post. This spot is cool, shady and tranquil, perfect spot to lean on a tree and read a book or just do nothing…

Quiet reflection

The reason Adam chose Ikaria is obvious. He speaks about it in the descriptions and, most of all, through his photos. The reason now I chose Adam was of a different nature. It had to do with destiny. Only few months after his visit, torrential rainfalls hit the island and violent landslides altered the looks of the sites where he took photos.

This is Trapalou (site of Adam’s 1st photo and story) in October 2010.

Τhe whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves.  So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked! It was lovely.

This is Nas (site of Adam’s 3rd photo and story) in October and the riverbed of Chalares (site of 2nd and 4th photo and story) in December 2010.

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Who can say if it’s better or worse? Who can judge the course of the planets?

Someone would love the new beach (for as long as it stays). Someone else lost an ancestral old house and property. Someone loves the new clean stony bed of the river. Someone else weeps over the loss of the pools, the plane trees and the waterfalls. A romantic is shocked. A stoic is not.

Yet there is a thing we can do. We can eliminate the influence of man in what so ever aggravates the consequences of nature’s changes on man. Only rain can’t break down a mountain. That mountain had been eroded and broken already. Not by mining or excavations but by… goats! Who on earth would believe?

An extravagance for another, first thing I do when I am back in Ikaria will be to bathe in the goat-made new beach and hike in the goat-made new river! I am more than sure they will still be beautiful, though different, Naked Landscapes. And when some day people realize that too many goats is a disaster and get rid of them, the new Naked Landscapes of Ikaria will stop breaking down They will be very green and that day I will call Adam back!

Note: Adam Monk’s photos © Adam Monk, see technical details inside the original entries. Photo of Trapalou and Nas © Christos Malachias. Photo of Chalares riverbed © «angeloska».

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Καταστροφές στην Ικαρία: «βιομηχανικό ατύχημα»;


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Floods and mountain slides in Ikaria. Was it «an industrial accident»? Do you know what «industry» is located on the mountains of the island? Do you know what «other industry» is located lower in the villages and the mountain industry feeds it with raw material in the summers? I doubt if you do. Due to overexploiment, unexistent maintainance and measures of safety, the «industrial site» collapsed during and as a result of a torrential rainfall that lasted for 28 hours.

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before after

(pictures fromsse See more pictures  ikariamag.gr through facebook)

Take the link to the related discussion for now

http://www.flickr.com/groups/ikaria/discuss/72157625210056698/

Later in this photo group a friend posted two videos (Folioscopes) by Michel Derosiaux

Ikaria Nas after the Deluge N° 1 & N°2

Folioscope Ikaria Nas after the Deluge N°2 by Paul LewisFolioscope Ikaria Nas after the Deluge N°1 by Paul Lewis
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Look at how angry Nature (call her Goddess Artemis perhaps? call her geomorphology?) was because some people have deforested the mountains for money. Woe and Shame on them!

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