Coronavirus, environmental damage and climate change are three of the most dramatic challenges facing the world today. All of us are already feeling the effects of them. In our part of the world, the changes may be particularly dramatic and worrying. In Greece, during the coronavirus outbreak, the parliament surreptitiously approved, on the 5th of May, the Modernising Environmental Legislation bill against the wishes of the country’s environmental organizations.
What does it mean?
Instead of setting ambitious goals to prevent further loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, the Greek government does not care about our ecosystem. The bill Modernising Environmental Legislation stands for:
- eliminating the protection of Natura 2000;
- abolishing the autonomy of the Protected Areas Management Bodies;
- allowing the destruction of the environment in the name of investment projects;
- promoting the reckless expansion of industrial Renewable Energy Sources;
- legalising illegal constructions in forestlands;
- simplifying solid waste management procedures and violates Constitutional Provisions, European Directives and International Conventions.
Everyone knows that the environmental ministry’s bill should be withdrawn immediately.
Urania, how do you feel with the new Environmental Legislation?
I am angry, I am ashamed as a Greek citizen and I am furious against the government. They chose to pass this new law during the quarantine craziness. People failed to understand what was happening as everyone was focused on COVID.
What do you think about the new bill?
If we combine it with the fact that Greece has suffered massive fires the last years and last year the big area of Natura land was burnt almost to the ground. Personally, for me, it is extremely aggressive capitalism. We are destroying Natura lands, that we all know around the planet how much we need them. Instead of protecting and actually introducing more pieces of land into the Natura’s protection framework, we are actually taking the pieces out. Finally, we all know that in the next decades mansions are going to be built there.
Is it just a business then? Are Greek people able to withdraw that new law together?
Yes, I think so, it is all about the money. In the past, people felt the balance of taking the resources from the land without wrecking the environment. Now we do not carry what will happen in the future. I am always pro gathering signatures and protesting on the streets and online. The only way to fight back is to protest. I believe in solidarity and people coming together.
The protest took place on Monday (the 4th of May 2020) around the country. If you would like to help and sign the petition click here.