Antonis is the Founder and Editor of Ecoclub.

Mediterranean Spring

Mediterranean Spring
To all our southern neighbours, rising up for freedom and justice, with whom we share so much and the deep blue Mediterranean sea: the last poem by Yiorgos Seferis (Nobel 1963), written during another Spring 40 years ago, when Greece was under a military dictatorship, an optimistic poem stressing that the unjust sooner or later get what they deserve... "Epi Aspalathon" (On Thorny Brooms) Sounio was stunning on Announciation day it was Spring again few green leaves fallen around the rusted stones red clay and aspalathi flashing their big thorns and yellow flowers further away the old columns strings on a harp still resonating Serenity... What may have reminded me of that Ardieos? A word in Plato, I believe lost in the mind's canals the name of that yellow bush is still the same In the evening, I found the passage "they tied him hands and feet", it says "they threw...
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Time to stop hunting Dolphins for Dolphinaria and Meat

  <p> <img alt="" src="http://www.ecoclub.com/images/64/dolphins.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 5px;" />It is 72 years since shrude businessmen in Marine Studios dolphinarium in Florida discovered that dolphins could be taught to perform tricks, and four years since the UN Year of the Dolphin 2007, when scientific evidence surfaced that dolphins are human-like, self-aware, intelligent beings and &nbsp;<a href="http://www.indefenseofdolphins.com/">‘nonhuman persons’</a> . &nbsp;In the European Union alone, there are 34 dolphinaria, hosting 280 captive dolphins, whales and other cetaceans, many of whom were not born in captivity but are actually products of poaching and smuggling. &nbsp;There are another 26 dolphinaria in non-EU European countries and many more in the United States, Mexico and Japan.</p> <p> Thus, this week greek Green MEP Michail Tremopoulos raised a written question to the Commission of the European Parliament in Brussels, asking the European Commission to consider banning dolphinaria, facilities where dolphins and whales are kept in captivity and forced...
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greek tourism at the crossroads

  Today we attended the long-awaited presentation of  a new study – proposal for a new Greek Tourism Development Model, prepared by the greek association of tourism enterprises, SETE, which represents the interests of  large tourism businesses. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, there was nothing new therein, apart from some truisms and neoliberal recipes for more golf, holiday homes, 5-star hotels and the removal of all ‘bureaucratic’ obstacles that scare (?) investors planning mega-resorts. Although the proposal contains some telling statistics indicating that greek tourism has already reached stagnation – for example excessive hotel construction during 2000-2009 which has resulted in a 400,000 bed surplus with the highest increase 154% in 4 and 5-star hotels --  it fails to interpret these very numbers, arguing for more expansion, and more luxury hotels. But what was particularly annoying and regressive was its critique of small-size (locally-owned) tourism businesses and of  alternative forms of tourism, which it considers as...
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pet shop + love police

opening the new year with two great videos: the award-winning, short film "Pet Shop" by new greek director Michael-Gabriel Zenelis, a subtle comment on the cruel, consumerist, competitive system but also hopeful in a way by showing that the alternatives are in front of us. The second video is one of the best by 'The Love Police' team, who humorously protest against the taking over of the commons by the corporates (using a famous London tourist attraction as an example), the loss of our privacy by security hysteria and what links the two processes. Non quia difficilia sunt non audemus, sed quia non audemus, difficilia sunt. "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca  
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ecocentrism & eccentrism - the deep problems of deep ecology

Along with the mainstreaming of worries for Climate Change, there are sinister attempts through a revival of long-discredited malthusianism, to blame it on the many have-nots rather than the few haves, on overpopulation rather than on capitalism, on some of the symptoms rather than the causes. The 8-point platform of 'Deep Ecology', written by Arne Naess and George Sessions,  contains an arbitrary malthusian argument that is very hard to digest: "The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a *substantial decrease* of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life *requires* such a decrease." Most of the other 7 points are apolitical truisms ("Eco-La-La" a la Bookchin) talking about..."humans" in general. Arne Naess, the founder of Deep Ecology, was a very affluent dweller of a very affluent country, in fact the younger brother of the famous Norwegian shipping magnate Erling Dekke Naess. Indeed many radical philosophers and leaders (such...
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internet hero

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Considering that not only diplomacy and international relations, but the modern human (capitalist) civilization itself, is built on lies, small and large, it takes a Hero-madman, the first  Internet Hero (although we could also add the founders of Wikipedia), Julian Assange, to reveal global hypocricy (...in installments). Wikileaks has proven that the Internet is still not controlled by the state, the superpowers and the corporates, and that people power is a match for the military-industrial complex, the war mongers. Each one of us can and should become an Assange, against violence exploitation of all types. And already wikileaks mirrors and offshoots are popping up. The incident has also proven, as if proof was needed, of the limitations and dependencies of the corporate part of the Internet, as providers were quick to shut Wikileaks down under heavy pressure from the system, as did...
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biodiversity vs. the invisible hand of the market

Last week I was invited to participate in a UNEP-sponsored ‘International Year of Biodiversity’ conference held in Athens, organized by MedSOS, a leading Greek environmental NGO, a genuine one, focusing on marine and coastal pollution.  The conference was held a few days before a new biodiversity legal framework is brought to parliament, at a time when the financial crisis which brought us the IMF is increasing development pressures for neoliberal recipes such as a controversial “fast-track” plan to facilitate large scale foreign investments and circumvent environmental legislation, local protests and other civilized niceties. The subtitle of the conference could have been: “what happens when EU subsidies, including subsidies for environmental conservation, dry out”? There were representatives from most protected area management bodies, all complaining about lack of state funding,  lack of authority to do something about issues such as illegal hunting and fishing and pollution. In private conversations one could also...
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arms into plougshares, golf into housing

At a time of growing environmental and economic crisis the 'capitalist lunacy' of golf, in the words of Bernard Shaw, is becoming more evident. Ironically, in Cuba, Golf developers, encouraged by recent 'economic liberalisation' announcements are making their own plans... In his regular weekly 'Alo Presidente' TV Show, Hugo Chavez has recently hinted that some of Venezuela's golf courses would be expropriated to be used for other purposes, along with 'good land' that has been abandoned. Stating the obvious, Chavez, who has in the past called golf a 'bourgeois sport' pointed out that it was "an injustice - that someone should have the luxury of having I don't know how many hectares to play golf and drink whiskey and, next door, there's misery and children dying when there are landslides". The comment followed the landslides of October where many people died in shanty towns and is also related to Venezuela's acute...
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lifting the Cuba travel ban

The Obama administration, may have slightly loosened the travel ban in April 2009 by allowing Cuban-Americans to travel freely to Cuba, but otherwise has made little progress in lifting or at least loosening "El Bloqueo", the 50 year old & cold war trade and travel embargo, imposed by the world's most powerful state against a small island nation. The travel ban already has plenty of holes as it is condemned at the UN each year by all the world's countries (except Israel) and is also increasingly ignored by many US citizens travelling via Canada or Mexico, or, officially under humanitarian or educational cover (a "professional research general license"). Ironically, the travel ban has affected and distorted the Cuban Tourism model, with resorts seen as a last resort after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the abrupt end of soviet aid. (on the contrary the solution in agriculture was ecological with...
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we are all immigrants

A ghost is again floating over Europe, the ghost of racism! From the recent electoral far-right breakthrough (6%) in the former poster child of social democracy, Sweden to blackshirt vigilantism in the Italian South, to Vienna municipal elections, to the endless tragedy of drowned and imprisoned immigrants in the Aegean and other Mediterranean islands right next to blissfully oblivious package tourists. Based on the Greek experience since the early 1990s, when a local community suddenly receives a far greater number of economic immigrants, refugees fleeing imperialist or local wars (and soon climate refugees) that it can immediately absorb in menial jobs, agriculture, construction and industry, its fringe racist & fascist elements, seconded by arch-conservative religious elements and the tabloid press & TV, become vocal and mainstream. Once this happens, right wing parties but also social-democrats try to follow, so as not to lose votes and the whole political discourse moves to...
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