Antonis is the Founder and Editor of Ecoclub.

Turtles in Trouble

Turtles in Trouble
Uncontrolled and ever-expanding packaged tourism and coastal development, along with overfishing in the Mediterranean is taking its toll on resources and what still survives of the marine wildlife.  [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm_Uf0vNh84 640x360] Above is a pleasant to watch, yet informative video aimed at resort staff (but also suitable for schools) in coastal resorts popular with nesting sea turtles, so that the adverse impact of mass tourism can be somewhat reduced. It was produced by the Travel Foundation (UK) and distributed in Greece through the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET). The NGO carries yearly assessment of major nesting areas such as Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Kyparissia in Greece, Akamas in Cyprus and Akyata, Dalyan, Kazanli Patara and Samandag in Turkey, and submits these to the standing committee of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe, so that respective governments are forced to respond and take action. In their annual assessment on...
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99%: now the world!

A very interesting video on the 99% movement presenting the underlying income inequality statistics can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/video/2011/nov/16/99-v-1-occupy-data-animation.       The Vision of Humanity website also has very interesting statistical data nicely presented, the following is on income inequality worldwide: http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/#/2011/gini/ Income inequality is increasing worldwide with more people falling below the poverty line. The statistics may be fixed by lowering the line however in terms of solving real problems patience is running out. Time may actually have already run out for the current global economic system, although it may be proven as just one more periodic crisis of capitalism (it is quite protracted though).   Whatever the case, it is important is that it does not collapse on peoples heads, but they start exiting the crumbling structure now, and joining or forming alternatives - local exchange systems, collectives, urban farms, soup kitchens and so on, millions of tiny holes in the...
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Between Sisyphus and Epicurus

Between Sisyphus and Epicurus
Deceitful King Sisyphus was condemned by Zeus to eternally carry a boulder to a top of the hill with the boulder rolling down again. Sisyphus has been interpreted as representing vain politicians, aspiring for eternal glory and eternally failing. Epicurus on the other hand praised the virtues of a pleasant, just and detached - including from politics - life. On the second day of a general strike in Greece, it seems we have to choose whether to follow Sisyphus and the illusion of capitalist abundance, or Epicurus and his doctrine that "natural wealth is both limited and easily obtained, but vanity is insatiable". Compared to what lies ahead, life in Greece until 5 years ago seemed quite good for the vast majority of the population (with the exception of immigrants), reflected in us reaching the top 20 of the Human Development Index at the time. However not all was well however, as...
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on the british riots

Remembering the way tabloids were treating Athens in the run up to the 2004 Olympics (which always are, like all mega-events, a mega-waste)  a certain schadenfreude could be expected from Athenians, but on the contrary they feel a sense of solidarity with Londoners and the UK tourism sector who seem to be experiencing the same effects of neoliberal globalisation - high youth unemployment, social injustice, racism, police brutality, increased crime, all leading, mathematically, to riots. I have found the reaction of the London Greens (here and here) interesting and measured, while a post in Red Pepper also seems to put the finger in the wounds. Let us hope that neoliberal government policies will be reversed soon, both in UK and in Greece.
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island holiday...

"Invisible wall" a short documentary about tourists, refugees and immigrants in Agathonissi, Greece, a tiny, formerly sleepy, island close to the Turkish coast.    
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Direct Democracy experiment, attacked, still going strong

Direct Democracy experiment, attacked, still going strong
Unfortunately the non-violent, colorful, pluralistic, direct democratic 'indignados' ("aganaktismenoi") assembly protesting neoliberal IMF recipes in Athens' main Syntagma Sq., already in its 3rd week, has been attacked by the infamous riot police 'MAT' units on 15 June, following a large demonstration on a day of general strike. In a city already plagued by air pollution, the police, besides batons, insist on using carcinogenic tear gas (banned under various treaties) despite repeated promises by the government that it will be phased out. Still it took only an hour for the people to return to the square. Let us hope that the direct democratic experiment, in the city that gave birth to the concept, with popular assemblies being held every night in Athens and other major greek cities, will continue. The tear gas seems to have mostly affected the government, which nearly resigned later on the day, a reshuffle is expected today 16.6 and elections cannot...
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hot greek summer ahead?

Hot summer ahead, and not just speaking about climate change...some days it seems that the world is spinning out of control. While the Mediterranean peoples are revolting in violent and non-violent ways, rightly demanding real democracy (although somewhat ironically on Facebook), the great powers-empires are extinguishing and imprisoning real and perceived foes from dissident Nobel laureates, to environmental activists, to IMF heads, and doing everything, as always, they can so that popular movements are manipulated and/ore discredited. Over here in post-Athens-what-a-waste-Olympics-2004-Greece, geographically and culturally situated somewhere between the 1st world and the rest world, we may be experiencing early signs of Germany in 1920 (rapidly rising unemployment, bankruptcy in slow motion, rise of the far right which exploits the ever growing tide of refugees from Asia and Africa, but also a vibrant art scene - as misery & art always go together) while our post-modern socialdemocratic government, wearing a neoliberal straitjacket and following IMF recipes which have devastated many countries,...
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growth, growth and growth

  Opening the ITB Travel Trade event in Berlin today, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai's speech indicated a slight progress (verbal at least) in the organisations positions, recognising the 'environmental imperative' and the need for a 'fairer' and 'more sustainable growth'. However, no relevant key proposals were put forward, and as expected, there were no criticisms against the business as usual approach of unreformed (beyond token CSR tricks) international tourism oligopolies, there was no differentiation between more appropriate tourism types, means of transport, management and ownership structures (such as community ownership) no mention of climate change and of the direct contribution of aviation to it, tax and pension evasion and the offshore nature of whole tourism sections. There was of course continuing admiration for ever higher tourism numbers, unsustainable mega-events, and the cliche about the contribution of Tourism to global 'employment', without any reference to stagnant working conditions and declining worker rights....
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Keratea: no pasaran

Keratea: no pasaran
How would you like it if the government suddenly informed you that the rubbish of a 3 m. city would soon be deposited next to your house in a small town (Keratea of Attica), where you and your forefathers have been living off agriculture for the past hundreds of years, and – to add insult to injury – the precise spot contains important ancient ruins (citadel of Ovriocastro) also provoking the ire of archaeologists who together with the locals have filed an official protest with UNESCO (see http://issuu.com/antixyta/docs/keratea-unesco ) This is the case in Keratea, a formerly peaceful town, in a still surprisingly pristine, wine-growing and sheep-herding area, close to the new Athens international airport. Everyone from the mayor, to the priests, to the most disinterested, otherwise apolitical/conservative citizen is up in arms, and the unpopular government has sent in semi-military riot police to defend the sub-contractors bulldozers from being burned....
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The New Hypatia Tragedy

The New Hypatia Tragedy
Hypatia, March 415 AD, famous Greek mathematician in Alexandria, Egypt, torn to pieces by an intolerant Christian mob. Hypatia 2011 AD, a refurbished 19th c neoclassical-style mansion temporary home to 267 north African hunger strikers in Athens, Greece, facing death and an indifferent and intolerant administration. Ancient Greece worshipped Xenios Zeus, the all-powerful god who was also the protector of all travelling strangers. Modern Greece worships the all-powerful god of Tourism, protector of travelling strangers, as long as they have a visa, cash and the ‘right’ passport. Instead of planning border walls to block the weakest link of the inevitable Globalization, the Greek government should do the decent and smart thing and fully legalise all migrant workers, some of which already have been working for 15 years building roads, olympic venues, picking up strawberries from greenhouses full of chemicals, taking care of the elderly and the very young, and last but...
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