In Greece, these days (late August 2007) we are all in a state of shock by the widespread forest fires that have devastated a large part of the country (especially Pelloponese). More information can be retrieved by other sites (e.g. wikipedia or bbc), but here we would like to make some angry comments.
We are angry by the current government's indifference about environmental issues, something that is reflected to the incompetence to deal with natural disasters like this one.
We are angry by the current goverment's inability to take fast action in the first hours of the disaster.
We are angry by the current governmment's decision to hold elections at 16 September. The decision was taken at 16 August, within a period of high vulnerability of Greek forests to fires. Instead of being in a state of emergency to natural disasters from fires, the government set the administration in a state of preparation for elections (with its only criterion how it will have electoral gains in order to be re-elected!), which means that everything else falls behind...
We are angry with the incompetence of the international community to take serious measures against climate change and greenhouse emissions. Greece has done nothing to reduce its own greenhouse emissions. For us it is more than obvious that climate change has as one consequence hotter and drier summers in mediterannean countries. This record high hot and dry Greek summer, with three heat waves, set the scene of the tradegy. The environmental indifference and incompetence completed the image.
We want to protest and we want to see change. We support the Greek Green Party (Oikologoi - Prasinoi, which means Ecologists - Greens) as a means to increase environmental awareness and press for changes in environmental policies. You can learn more about this party at europeangreens or wikipedia (here for their greek site).
Furthermore, we ask you to send us your opinions, and seek for ways to help the recovery of the affected areas. Already, many American-Greeks are organising relief aid. Volunteer workers, especially in the medical care, are needed. We would also say that volunteer workers in nature rehabilitation would be needed. The whole region of Western Pelloponese would need a plan of environamental economic (sustainable) reconstruction.
you can see in youtube 2 shocking videos from the fires in Greece: