Always last past the post

Sweden has decided to wean itself off petroleum completely by 2020. Britain is building wind farms in the sea that will be able to supply all British households with energy within the next decade. Germany has promised to close all its nuclear industries and coal mines and is creating 180,000 new jobs in renewable energy sources (RES). Even the US, which has shown its usual indifference at international conferences on climate change and refuses to take steps to slow down its economic growth, now tops the list of countries investing in RES. In Spain, every new building must have a solar water heater. Italy’s total area of organically farmed land has passed the 10 percent mark and in Brazil, 40 percent of vehicles are powered by the gasoline substitute bioethanol. Even China has decided to do away with plastic bags. Everyone else seems to be concerned about the environment, but here in Greece we simply argue about it, while the world proceeds to make changes toward protecting the environment, having realized the importance of these measures in changing our lives on this planet. «We really care about the environment,» says the government. «No you don’t, we do,» says the opposition. The Ministry of the Environment and Public Works gives priority to the latter sector, and when it has time, criticizes all those who dare question its environmentally friendly activities. It claims that the UN is mistaken – we measure our greenhouse emissions correctly. It claims the European Union is mistaken – we are indeed doing what we can about water resources. And after all, what are we supposed to do with our toxic waste? If you can’t see our green spaces, you must be color-blind! The environment has suffered the fate of every other important issue in this country – in-fighting, delays, a lack of planning and of vision. Yet we could do so much better. Isn’t it a pity?