NEWS

Teaching children to love nature is half the battle

European Commissioner for the Environment Margot Wallstrom warned that European inspectors will be visiting Kouroupitos on the island of Crete by the end of the month to see whether the garbage dump there has been closed. It seems that Greece’s period of grace to begin its tenure of the EU presidency does not extend to the environment. The Swedish Commissioner was in Greece last week as part of the official visit by Commission members to the new presidency. She spoke to Kathimerini about Greece’s violations of EU environmental legislation, the Kyoto Protocol, Johannesburg, and the struggle to stay «green» in this current age. «It is not enough to create the infrastructure that is missing, you also have to change people’s attitudes toward the environment,» said Wallstrom, adding that Greece has made great progress in this regard. «Eurobarometer polls show that Greeks are more concerned about the environment than all other Europeans. That is very useful politically. As people become more aware, politicians follow suit,» she said. For Wallstrom, defending the environment on the Commission, where opposing interests are expressed, is a difficult job, but she seems to be succeeding. Voted Commissioner of the Year in 2002, she is among the most popular. «When you are a politician, the moments of glory are very few. I compare it to being in an elevator between heaven and hell,» said Wallstrom.