Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior has made its way around the Ionian Sea, hosting open discussions about the serious problems of climate change and the effects of Hydrocarbon mining, in which our Governments have given the go ahead for exploitation.
Rainbow Warrior is undoubtedly one of the most environmental icons in breaking boundaries and is known for its fearless campaigning around the world’s seas since 1978. It’s project in Greece started in Piraeus, Athens on June the 12th then continued to the Island of Kefalonia, Patra and on Sunday 22nd June, finishing their project in Corfu.
Peter Lee from Island FM and Cosmos Radio Kefalonia, was able to get an interview on what the Greenpeace team were planning to achieve whilst in Kefalonia. Speaking with Greenpeace representative and Climate and Energy Campaigner Mr Takis Grigoriou , he outlined the serious problems we are facing and the possible ones in the near future, and talked about what we should be doing to help our home, planet Earth. We know that the Greek government has signed concessions for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in two areas of the Ionian Sea, known as area 10 in the Kyparissia Gulf with the Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) and the “Ionio” sea area with the consortium of HELPE and Repsol which is based in Spain and operations should start at the end of this year.
Greenpeace was there at the signing, protesting that these deals should not have even gone ahead, and the reason is mind boggling to those who are not in the scientific world. The planned extraction of hydrocarbon within our area poses a great risk of irreversible ecological and socio-economic disaster, let’s face it, our whole world revolves on what mother nature has provided for us when it comes to our Islands, especially Zakynthos and destroying this, simply would be of no economical gain to us who live here.
Just over the weekend we saw a huge drilling platform being tugged through our waters on its way to Turkey, just the sight of it caused not only our residents but visitors on our Island to be outraged.
Unfortunately, most of us do not know where to turn, we don’t even have enough information apart from the odd news report as to what the big boys are planning for our area. At least organisations like Greenpeace and their visit does make a beacon for hope, hope that citizen’s in the area and their voices are supported.
The exploitation of these relatively small reserves is of great concern as well, seismic activity and the depth associated with these offshore fields in these areas are both challenging for operation, not to mention the environmental impacts it would have within the surrounding areas.
Just who will benefit from these projects?
Obviously the oil companies themselves, the profits would be reaped in and of course they will have complete control over all the necessary stages of getting their operation in order, thus having control in the geological studies, seismic data, offshore structures, production and sale of their product and yes, they would even have control on how the management process would go, if there are any incidents of leakage, pollution or ecological destruction. As Greenpeace says, the benefits to us who live here, would be a big fat ZERO. International experience has proven that in areas where hydrocarbon exploitation takes place, accidents and the general degradation are inevitable, despite strict environmental and prevention measures, you would only have to look at the figures we received from tourism based on our rich natural and cultural environment and the quality of our crystal clear seas, to understand what the cost to us would mean if drilling went ahead.
The area of Zakynthos is home year after year to the rarest forms of sea species, tourists come annually to learn about the carretta carretta (loggerhead sea turtle),
the monachus monachus or better known as the Mediterranean monk seal, these are just a few of the rare creatures that live and breed in our area. In May of this year a report of ninety six Sea Turtles, including sixty nine Loggerhead Sea turtles, in January alone were found either injured or dead washed up on the shores of Israel, eighty-three percent of them had suffered from bleeding in the lungs and accumulation of fluid in their ears, indicating a fatal exposure to yet another undefined strong impulsive source of sound, such as underwater explosions, at a significant level.
Another area, The Hellenic Trench were this type of activity is supposed to go underway for exploitation is under threat.
It is home to an number of vulnerable species such as fin whales, Cuvier’s beaked whales, sperm whales, dolphin species and among them, including the rare Mediterranean common dolphin, god forbid if anything caused an upset in the ecosystem.
These creatures would not have a chance to survive and as for any chance of economic gain from our beautiful land that too, would go up in smoke, not one tourist would step foot in Greece if there was any information about an oil leak or ecological disaster, the media would immediately get hold of it, even if it was a drop of oil and we managed to cope with the problem, it wouldn’t take long for Social Media to blow things way out of proportion and the image would inevitably turn possible visitors to our island away.
All these ideas and information provided has lead to campaigns against exploration in our area, Greenpeace with its project around the Ionian Islands, WWF with their six page document from doctors and scientists around the world directed to our president, Mr Alexis Tsipras and even on line campaigns such as “Save Greek Seas”, they in particular have started an online petition in different languages.
Save Greek Seas’ goal is to unite our voices with the “Citizen’s Initiatives Against Hydrocarbon Drilling” and to support the fair fight for our children’s right to have clean air and clean water. If you would like to join in the fight, as so many have, to stop our homeland Zakynthos being destroyed, Say NO! Say no to hydrocarbon drilling.
Sign petition:- http://chng.it/8XyCB2KJfQ
WWF document to Mr Alexis Tsipras, Greek President https://www.wwf.gr
to hear the full interview with Peter Lee please click the play button below: –