NEWS

Will we ever get around to our top priority?

If the environment really were a priority for the government, then surely it would not need to be defined as a «top priority» by the prime minister at the recent summit on climate change. Too much verbosity detracts from rather than adds to the meaning (in this case, the next step would be to describe the environment as a «number one priority»). One wonders what kind of «top priority» the environment is being given, then, when preparations for the coming summer, which meteorologists and instinct tell us will be a scorcher, show us just one thing: that last year’s hard lesson was never learned. Funding continues to be low, coordination efforts are being undermined in advance, preventive measures are few and far between, and all we have to go on are hopes for the best. What kind of «top priority» is it being given when the new zoning plan not only fails to provide for the demolition of illegal construction, but paves the way for what is left to be devoured by concrete mixers? What kind of «top priority» is there when the country’s rivers and lakes are being poisoned by the toxic waste that has been dumped into them with impunity over the years as the state waits for the media to tell it what’s going on? What kind of «top priority» is being given when the European Court has grown weary of charging us for a string of offenses? When natural monuments, protected by international treaties are surrendered to «development» for the creation of golf courses? What kind of «top priority» is being given when nuclear energy is advertised as being «green»? Could, I wonder, the creation of an autonomous Environment Ministry which the president himself advocated really change the focus of the state’s interest? For years, Greece had an autonomous Culture Ministry, with all its weighty heritage, funding, advisers and committees. But other than the ministers at its helm, who else feels any pride at having such a ministry?