Oblivious, Greece carries on polluting

The year just past can be termed the year of climate change. Extreme weather phenomena are no longer a scientific fantasy but are dramatically manifest in terms of deaths, displaced people and huge damage wreaked throughout the world. In 2004, the Kyoto Protocol was ratified by Russia, the only international agreement which attempts to tackle climate changes. As of this February, it will acquire the force of international law. For some, this year brings the confirmation of efforts that began many years before and constitute the first hesitant step in the right direction. The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Russia means that the USA [which has not ratified the protocol] is even more isolated within the international community. As for Greece, the country has shut its eyes to what is going on in the world. Renewable energy sources are still marginalized and energy conservation is a term only to be found in dictionaries. Despite all this, Greece, for another year, succeeded in increasing its emissions of greenhouse gases. This country continues to plan for yet more pollution in the next few years. However, it’s not right to constantly badmouth ourselves, especially when we have good reasons not to. Greece was the first country in the world to declare itself a GMO-free zone in its entirety, following resolutions by all the prefectural administrations in the country. Now all that’s left is for Greece to realize this and then find imitators as well. So while some claim that the scourge of genetically modified organisms is unavoidable, this small «village» is resisting, providing others with hope and inspiration. (1) Nikos Haralambidis is director of Greenpeace Greece.