Written by Eleftheria Psychogiou
In Amorgos ‘we will dismember their arms’ if they dare to grub up even one single juniper more. We will become “varvaki” and eat them!!!
The residents of Amorgos, mainly those in the region of the Lower Meria, are infuriated because of the so called exploitation of alternative, natural sources of energy that takes place on their island; in this context, a company bought off a forest acreage from the land bureau, in order to install a wind farm and photovoltaic panels, practically, by law, uprooting all junipers. Junipers may very well be the most ancient tree in the area of the Aegean sea. The proper authority granted the required permission without even making a localised autopsy.
Under the guise of ‘green development’, they are about to commit an environmental crime, in areas of special natural beauty with rare flora, such as the Juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), and fauna. The birdlife of Amorgos includes at least 35 nest building species of birds, including some rare and endangered species of predators, such as the Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus). A species of distinct interest is Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae), which dwells in colonies in precipices and inaccessible islands. The Falcon, which locals call the “varvaki”, spends the winter in Madagascar and South Africa. It is a known fact that the wind turbines are to blame for the extermination of the Eagles and Hawks. Nevertheless, companies whose sole purpose is to make profit bypass any legislation with the help of the State, and they overcome any legal safeguard by legitimising the destruction of the environment under the general concept of “progress”, which does sound better at the ears of the locals.
These companies consider themselves superior, they disregard the local community, and like modern colonizers, they attempt to enforce their plans, completely carefree about the consequences.
The local Council convened in an emergency meeting at which it was decided to obstruct the company’s plans in any way possible.
Ordinary people, the majority of whom are farmers and ranchers, raised their stature and said NO, knowing that ecology is the love for the environment and that its denominator is the sense of measure and modesty. We are ALL in favour of alternative energy. However, we are aware of the disastrous consequences that follow when the driving force is the thirst for profit, instead of the meaning of the measure. There is already a Wind Farm on the island, which does not raise concerns to the flora and the fauna of the region, nor does it constitute a form of visual pollution. The residents do not tolerate, and will not tolerate, any investment which, under the pretext of development, will adversely affect the environment, history, culture and their intelligence.
The insular Greek State, now more than ever, under the pretext of the financial crisis, disdains the islands of Greece. However, all of us who were born on one of the islands, having lived with a number of scarcities, but, still, in harmony with nature, we loved her, we were taught by her and we will protect her, in any way, so that she will remain unharmed by the brutality of an alleged progress, which, in fact, aims at her rape.