Memorials to the environment

Today is World Environment Day – a day of mourning, that is, but fortunately that has nothing to do with us. For here we have never had that insidious killer, smog, in Athens, Thessaloniki, Ptolemaida or Megalopoli… We have never had a capital where two great rivers have been filled in by the state or built upon by private interests (as the state turned a blind eye). We have never had any problem with drought; our coastlines have not been fenced off just 20 minutes away from the Environment Ministry or on once picturesque islands that are now in an unimaginable state. We have never been inundated by the first heavy rainfall (commonly referred to as an «act of God»), only to wash our hands of the problem. We have no problem with a climate change that makes trees blossom in January. Predictions by scientists that some of our islands will be under water by the end of the century do not concern us, for the simple reason that we won’t be alive then. We are at the bottom of the list in Europe in recycling (just 8 percent of our waste) but first in the per capita consumption of electricity, according to the latest environment policy report from the European Commission that reminds us of our obligations, clearly forgotten in the wake of the Olympic Games upheaval, to construct urban waste treatment plants in dozens of towns. That is why today, at 10 p.m., we Greeks will not be turning off our lights for 10 minutes, as the environmental organizations would like us to do. For our environmental credentials are irreproachable; it is unreasonable to expect people to turn out the lights in the country that gave, and still gives, its light to the world.

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