Glaciers, marbles and turbines


.

*, by Guillermo on Flickr.

Dear readers
As I started this article, my intention was to present to the world the aestetic and environmental value of the limestone surfaces, crests and cliffs in a very special part of «Atheras», the ridge which makes the backbone of my island, Ikaria. This part is called «Pounta», a hellenized Italian word used by old seamen to describe a sticking out edge or protrusion of rocks like a promontory into the sea.
But after writing a few words, I changed my mind. I had to change my approach on the subject. You see, the landscape of Pounta is not at all «beautiful» in the common understanding of the word. Nor is the environmental value of this endless succession of barren, fragmented and cragged surfaces an easy thing to explain to a broad public. You see (again), along the irregular leaning pyramids of Pounta there is no water and none but very few weather beaten trees, the vegetation being restricted to thorny spurges of all kinds and sizes growing in the gaps between the limestone slabs.
It’s a nothingness, an emptiness, an inhospitable rocky wilderness.
But on the other hand, it’s one of the most impressive (read, majestic) landscapes I’ve seen in my life.
I’ve read that otherworldly landscapes like this were shaped by the movement of ancient glaciers. I can understand that for mt Olympus, but glaciers in Ikaria?!  Glaciers in the Aegean Sea?! Well, if you want my opinion, I prefer this explanation than no explanation at all. After all, we had dwarf mammoths and rhinos 50.000 years ago. Why couldn’t we have had glaciers as well?
Anyway, my point here isn’t hard science. My point is the effect these landscapes can have to the soul of the traveller -in this case, the hiker.
I’ve already written about it when I blogged on a similarly dramatic landscape in another side of the island. It was one of the most destitude and wildest places I know, but – oh my God! – so spectacular! There I experienced strong feelings of anchoritism, like a voice calling me to escape from the worldly turmoil and settle for the rest of my life among  dark hanging rocks on one side and  the blue immensity on the other.
Now, as I crossed Pounta for the first time (that was in 2006) I experienced a similar, though somehow different feeling. It wasn’t about God; it was about me, as a human being. I felt brave and I felt strong and I felt persistent and decisive. Especially when few years aIn my blog: Gallery: Ακομα κι αλλα τοπια των αλλων, Ikaria fogfter I tried the crossing again and the weather – as it usually happens up there – switched to gale and blew upon us thick blankets of vapor and dence sheets of fog.
In one word, I felt indomitable. 🐲

.

Ikaria 247 by Eleni Ikanou on FlickrIkaria 241 by Eleni Ikanou on WordPressIkaria 248 by Eleni Ikanou on WordPressIkaria 242 by Eleni Ikanou on WordPressIkaria blog 250 by Eleni Ikanou on WordPress

.

I love all the wild untamable landscapes of my island. By challenging my fears and reservations, they have strengthened my character through the years and helped me evolve to a more self-confident and more independent person.
However, in spite of their timeless, unshakeable appearance, limestone crests and cliffs like Pounta are very complicated and extremelIn my blog: In my blog: We say Νο to 110 turbines in Ιkaria (4)y fragile landscapes. Human activities of a gigantic industrial scale, such as the rumored installation of 110 mega-size wind turbines, would totally anihilate their actual high quality. An industrial eolian plant on mt Atheras would devastate Pounta. The prodigious ammount of excavations needed to install these monsters will sooner than later turn its proud crests to mere piles of gravel – piles of gravel rolling and dropping on our heads!

But enough with words. Just below you can see a choice of photos from a recent hiking day trip across the limestone crests of Pounta taken by my friends the OPS Ikarians.
I chose them from 1) Flickr, 2) Google, anΚeep calm and sign our petition against 110 turbines in Ιkaria: ΥΠΟΓΡΑΦΟΥΜΕ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΩΝ 110 ΑΝΕΜΟΓΕΝΝΗΤΡΙΩΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΙΚΑΡΙΑd 3) the photos contained in the Google map of the hike. If you like this visual evidence and therefore, you think like me that this very special landscape should stay untouched by capitalist piracy, please consider signing the petition! 📜

Ikaria 120, 'looking at the waterfall' | Eleni Ikanou on Flickr ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

.

ATHERAS, by angelos ka on Flickr

ATHERAS

…..

.

In Nana Agrimi's blog: Up on the trees + Down on our knees

Afterword: This was eventually one more article about the landscapes of Ikaria with a stress on the mountainous nature of the island. I wonder when I will post another one. I do hope that I’ll do that soon, though. All I know right now is that the land is closing in for winter and everybody is picking olives …

 

Eleni Ik

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny


.
. . . ⭐ . . . ⭐ . . . ⭐ . . . .
Sculpture Garden of the Gods, ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor

. .

. Hello readers! .Angelos K.

My name is Angelos K. and since I was nominated contributor I am afraid I have written very few articles 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. All Americans carry cameras. Until one day when he came to my 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.  😕 😕

Sculpture Garden of the Gods, ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor, City Lion Press, 2018I immediately told Eleni about Thomas work and as much 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 article about his book. So I did.

Inside Thomas’s article about his book, there is an awesome slideshow where you can view some of his many amazing photos. I borrowed the title of my article: «Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny», from Thomas’s first draft of the publication. I loved that title! Because, like Eleni, everybody in Ikaria loves ghost stories. How couldn’t we? Just take a look at these photos! Look at the landscapes we live in! Thomas has managed to show that these shapes, these shades, these forms, are alive. More than that, they can talk and tell stories!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Below you can see some photos
of Thomas K. Shor taken while hiking with our local hiking club, in Ikaria. Further down I have added a few quotes from his book about the island.
….:star: ⭐ :star:….

.
..
.Hike Karavostamo - Arethousa. Morning Gathering (4)Hike Karavostamo - Arethousa. Morning Gathering (3)Karavostamo - Arethousa. 3rd part of the hike (6)Karavostamo - Arethousa. 3rd part of the hike (2)Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 01Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 02Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 04Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 06Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 10Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 04Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 03Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 02Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 01
. .

«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.»

Amazon: Order a copy of 'Sculpture Garden of the Gods', ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor

.
.
. .
. . .. ..
_
_
.

...

Wednesday, December 24, 2015
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2018
.

Ανεμογεννήτριες αλλά και δάση βελανιδιάς


.

 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!

.

😞 😞 😞
Say No to 110 turbines in Ikaria

.

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

____________________________________________________

.

____________________________________________________

.


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)