Who is Ecoman



Who is this Ecoman? He is the one who is called to save the environment. Who is called to save the planet. Who is called in his everyday activities to counterbalance the environmental catastrophe of the big global industries, of the last century’s industrial development those who in the name of profit maximization did not care of this planet earth, did not give the sufficient importance to the sustainability of the ecosystem for both the economy and our quality of life. Does he have to do so? Yes, because a better environment is definitely everyone’s responsibility. Let’s help him. Here is some energy saving tips:

At home

  • Energy efficient light bulbs
  • Double-pane windows and external wall insulation
  • Lights and appliances switched off when we are out
  • Wash and dry full loads (both cloth and dish washers). No half loads or prewash
  • Take a shower (only 10-15 gallons of water) rather than a full tub bath (70 gallons of water)
  • Be careful of possible water leakages. Check frequently
  • Do not water your plants, your garden etc. before rain. Check the weather forecast
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Good maintenance of all house appliances for longer lifetime and less cost of repairs
  • Recycle batteries and old electrical and electronic equipment
  • Composting waste
  • Ecological cleaning products
  • Use personal care products that are not tested on animals or part of the profits of companies which produce them  support various charitable purposes
  • Programming cooling/heating thermostat, so the room temperature is neither too hot in winter nor too cold in summer. Also change filters frequently
  • In case of renovation, use new technologies for an energy efficient house.
  • Avoid excessive use of electricity

At office

  • Use curtains or blinds for sun protection and reduction of air conditioners operating hours
  • Check vents and change filters
  • Keep a moderate room temperature
  • Energy efficiency bulbs
  • Avoid excessive use of electricity. Use timers or motion detectors to save money and energy. All lights and appliances switched off when we are out
  • Ecological cleaning products
  • Recycling bins in all areas
  • When possible, replace older office equipment with new, energy efficient equipment
  • Recycle all old electrical and electronic equipment
  • Recycle paper and use scrap paper for notes
  • Use Massive Transportation Means (Public Transport) to your workplace and why not a bike, if weather permits
  • Two-sided printing paper
  • Photocell faucets

At super market

  • Buy products that the production process causes the least possible damage to the environment
  • Carefully read the package label for information
  • Be careful of detergents, pesticides, paints and other toxic. Read carefully instructions of use
  • Use multi-purpose bags for shopping to reduce the use of plastic
  • Recycle all packaging materials at supermarket’s recycling bins (glass, aluminum cans, paper, etc.)

Transportation

  • Try to reduce your ecological footprint. When purchasing a new car, buy hybrid or small cars
  • Frequently inspection of car gas emissions
  • Service on time
  • Drive the speed limit and avoid rapid acceleration for best efficiency
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and the air filters clean
  • Use air conditioning when absolutely necessary
  • Use public transportation, ride a bike or walk to nearby locations

On holidays

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Use sun cream and hats
  • Choose from a selection of “green” hotels
  • Rent small or hybrid cars
  • Use cooling/heating system when necessary; take advantage of the local weather condition
  • Mind the cleaness of the place and avoid changing linen everyday
  • Leaving home, turn off all the non-needed appliances and mail, newspaper etc. delivery
  • Prefer direct flights, no interconnecting


Agro Ecology

Agro ecology is a scientific discipline that uses ecological theory to study, design, manage and evaluate agricultural systems that are productive but also resource conserving.

The manufactured products from “agro ecology”, the so-called “organic products or biological products”, are not synthetic and are produced without chemical fertilizers, pesticides or hormones, but with environmentally friendly methods of production. The application of ecological (organic) agriculture contributes to the environmental protection, the safety of the producer and consumer, while endures the production of quality products, which is important, since the quality predominates in today’s competitive market.

According to a U.N. report (Olivier de Schhutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food), many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting from chemical fertilizers and pesticides to ecological agriculture.

Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh’s use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050. “Agro ecology” could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and the rise in sea levels that has already made fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation.

The Sustainable School Award

The sustainable school is the future of schools. It is self-sufficient, self-directed, environmentally friendly based on ecological standards not only in buildings infrastructure and administrative operations but in teaching and learning processes and students training as well. It operates democratically, it has strong relations with local communities and local authorities and contributes to achieve the national goal of green development.

The Sustainable School Award is a competition between schools of Primary and Secondary Education. There is a different prize for any different level of Education.

Schools compete to achieve performances in three areas (educational, social and administrative, environmental). There are specific “indexes” or quality criteria for each one of these areas for the participating schools to be fulfilled. These indexes are based on the Sustainable Development indexes of the United Nations and the Educational indexes of Sustainability of UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The quality criteria, the indexes and the applications for participation as well can be filled in the official web page of the Award.

Schools’ participation is optional and there are no commitments or penalties in case of withdrawal. Applications for participation are filled every October. Then schools develop their actions during the school year and at the end of May they enter the proofing data of their actions.

The first Award goes to the school which gathers the highest number of points and it is the funding of an environmental visit of 4000 or 5000 euros for the Primary or Secondary Education Schools. There are also special prizes and grant awards to a percentage of the participating schools in the contest.
The Sustainable School Award is under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs. WIND Hellas and the Bodosakis Foundation are the sponsors of the Award in Greece.

The 2nd High School of Xylokastro Korinthias is the 1st winner of the Sustainable School Award of 2010/11. We congratulate this year’s winners.

Green University Dpt’s of Greece (part II: graduate programs)

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In the previous edition of green issue we referred to environmental schools housing the Greek Universities and relating to undergraduate studies. To create a more complete picture of the “green Greek education”, we believe that the various graduate programs offered by the Greek higher education institutions should be mentioned.

It is important to note, that there is a fair amount of graduate programs that have been associated with the environment and ecology.

Below we present you some of them:

NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. School/Department: Rural – Surveying Engineering. Graduate Program:  Environment and Development. The program aims to help create a common code of communication, methods and practices of collaboration between scientists from different disciplines, towards a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, analysis, research, study address of the multifaceted and highly complex issues and current environmental problems and development.

NATIONAL & KAPODISTRIAN UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. Faculty/Department: Pedagogical Primary Education. Graduate Program:  MSc in Technology and Environment. The program aims to train in specialized fields of knowledge and research to ensure both the expertise and contribution to the cultivation and development of primary scientific research and the formulation and promotion of scientific thinking.

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI. School/Department: Forestry and Natural Environment. Graduate Program: Forestry and Natural Environment. The program aims to promote scientific knowledge and meet the educational, research and development needs of a countrie in the field of Forestry and Natural Environment. It provides students with basic scientific principles and integrated knowledge and methods that will enable them scientists who can create new knowledge through direct applicability in practice and dissemination of knowledge to future generations.

UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN. Faculty/Department: Environment. Graduate Program:  Environmental Policy and Management. The program aims to combine the knowledge acquired in the fields of environmental sciences, ecosystem management and biodiversity, political science, economic, scientific management and urban planning.

UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS. School/Department: Biology. Graduate Program: Ecology, Management and Protection of Natural Environment. The program aims to postgraduate education and training of young scientists in frontier areas of biological sciences, which are directly related to the development of biological technology and environmental biology.

UNIVERSITY OF PIRAEUS. School/Department: Industrial Management and Technology. Graduate Program: Energy Management Systems and Environmental Protection. The program aims to methodical and analytical formulation of the energy and environmental problems and to explore feasible ways, to create executive staff members who will be able to meet current and future business needs of companies and organizations, in organizing, operating and supporting systems for energy management and environmental protection.

 

Green University Dpt’s of Greece

It is a fact that, in Greece, Institutes of higher education the scientific field of which focuses on the environment and ecology are not ready to absorb the “green” wave that has engulfed Europe over the past few years. Young people are either unaware of their existence or have not been properly informed of the vocational education and training that these institutes offer on both an academic and a professional level. The aim of the present article is to provide information on some of Greece’s Institutes of higher education that provide vocational education and training on ecological and environmental issues:

Department of Environmental Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace. Base 2009: 17,051 credits. Contact information: Democritus University of Thrace, 12, Vas. Sofias street, 67100 Xanth. Tel No.: +30 25410-79393, Email: info@env.duth.gr

Environmental Engineering Department of the Technical University of Crete. Base 2009: 16,661 credits. Contact information: Tel No.: +30 28210-37858

Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Base 2009: 13,209 credits. Contact information: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.C. 54124.    Tel. No.: +30 2310 -995199

Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management of the University of Ioannina (Agrinio).Base 2009: 11,537 credits. Contact information: 2, Seferi street, 30100 Agrinio. Tel.No.: +30 26410-74112

Department of Environmental Studies of the University of the Aegean. Base 2009: 10,557 credits. Contact information: Department of Environmental Studies, “Xenia B” building, Lofos Panepistimiou, 81100 Mytilene. Tel.No.: +30 22510-36200, +30 22510-36202, Email: secr@env.aegean.gr

Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Democritus University of Thrace (Orestiada).Base 2009: 10,228 credits.Contact information: 193, Pantazidou street, 68200 Orestiada. Tel.No.: +30 2552-041171 -2-3, Email: secr@fmenr.duth.gr

Department of Geotechnology and Environmental Engineering of the Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia (Kozani). Base 2009: 9,228 credits. Contact information: Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia, Koila, Kozani, 50100. Tel.No.: +30  24610- 40161 -5, extension 255 (Registrar’s Office).

Natural Resources and Environment Department of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete. Base 2009: 9,129 credits. Contact information: Technological Educational Institute of Crete Branch of Chania, 3, Romanou street, Chalepa, Chania 73133. Tel.No.: +3028210-23000, Email: info@chania.teicrete.gr

Department of Ecology and Environment of the Technological Educational Institute of Ionion Islands. Base 2009: 8,919 credits. Contact information: 2, Andrea Kalvou Square, 29100 Zakynthos. Tel.No.: +30 26950 24940

The aim of the above departments is to educate and train young scientists who want to dedicate themselves to the protection and development of the environment. The time has come to inform young people of the existence of these institutes of higher education in which more and more people are expected to show interest in the future, as they have already had in the rest of Europe.

Environmental Education in Greek Schools

According to the 1892/90 Law and the relevant circulars, the Environmental Education is part of the programs of Primary and Secondary Education Levels. The Environmental Education is a relatively new attempt to intervene in school life and:

  • make students to realize the relationship between humans and the natural and social environment,
  • be aware of the problems associated with it and
  • be active in specific programs to help facing them

As an educational process / activity helps to:

  • clarify concepts,
  • identify values,
  • the development / cultivation of skills and attitudes needed in decision making and
  • the devise of contact code relating to environmental quality problems both in individual and then in group/social level.

This behavior is achieved by a series of strategies that seek to help the student

  • to know, love and ultimately protect the environment, under the reasoning that “it is not possible to protect something that I do not love neither to love anything that I do not know.”

The implementation of Environmental Education programs generally seeks to:

  • Linking the school with the wider environment.
  • Providing knowledge on contemporary social concerns, the professions and the production process.
  • Adapting education programs to students’ individual differences (growth inclinations, interests, physical and mental abilities).

Specifically:

  • Education about the environment.

It is the acquisition of knowledge about the environment and environmental problems and awareness of what is happening around us. The environment is considered the subject of learning.

  • Education by and within the environment.

The environment “is used” as a means of  knowledge, a tool of developing skills and abilities and as a source of learning. That is, the knowledge acquired from the environment – source of knowledge- through direct experience that builds on activities that occur within the environment itself  in direct contact with things and phenomena. The environment is considered as a means,  research field and source of learning.

  • Education for the environment.

The improvement of the quality of the environment (and thus the quality of life), with appropriate environmental practices and the involvement of the responsible citizen in the decision making and actions to prevent and solve   environmental problems. The environment is considered the goal.

source: 1st EPAL of Ano Liossia website

Spyros Vougias: “Alternative means of trasportation is my vision”

Interview of Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Spyros Vougias.

In times of crisis is there a place for the “luxury” of green transport?

The “green” transport is more economical in terms of energy consumption, cleaner and environmentally friendly and more efficient in transportation because we can have much more movements with the same construction costs. Rail transport, for example, around and within cities (suburban, underground, tram, etc.) requires significant new investments, creates thousands of jobs during the construction time and the operation as well, and is significantly effective as it enables the transfer of millions of passengers or tonnes of merchandise. We have invested enough in roads. It’s train time and time for alternative means of massive and personal transportation in the cities.

What kind of initiatives have you taken in this direction during your term as Deputy Minister?

I came in the Ministry of Transport Infrastructure and Networks as Deputy Minister about 6 months ago. It took a little time updating and adjusting to join in the pace and the agenda of major institutional reforms (liberalization of road freight consolidation, restructuring and reorgani-zation of the railways, new law on public transport in Athens) promoted within these months of political courage and deter-mination. In between of intense parliamentary activity I was strongly involved in road safety, as Chairman of the newly established National Council for focusing on protecting the most vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, disabled). Moreover, I have decided to allow, the prohibited up to now entry of bicycles on metro and have “revived” the two completely ecological projects in Thessaloniki, which I have personally identified with and had been forgotten in recent years: modern tram in the city centre and urban water transportation.

What would you like to be your “Fingerprint” left in this Ministry? What is your vision?

I feel somehow strange, as Ι have gone back in time. I “served” in the same position of Deputy Minister of Transport (even in the same office) nine years ago, in October 2001. A few months later, I resigned to seek election as Mayor of Thessaloniki, so I did not manage to leave anything important. I was still inexperienced in conditions and codes of central politics and in any case, it is required a critical political time to design and implement in practice one discrete project .Now I feel much more experienced and powerful because of what I have experienced in the meantime and of my time in the emotionally intensive term in the Ministry of Citizen Protection. Being there for ten months, I believe, I have left a trace of me in areas that I worked with dedication such as the way of training new police officers and a different way in perception and management of the immigration issue. This time in the Ministry of Transport, I believe, there will be left something of the vision which I studied, I taught my students and I have being working and politically fighting over 30 years, which is alternative means of transportation in human cities.

Beginning 1st of March bicycles are being allowed in the Underground. You have started with 2 bikes in the last wagon. Will you continue towards this direction? What other incentives will you give to cyclists?

The decision of having bicycles in the Underground should have been taken long ago. Cyclists asked insistently, but in vein, to get the permission by the administration of Underground to entry their bicycles on trains. The decision taken was the result of discussions at the National Road Safety Council with representatives of the movements of cyclists and the municipal party of G. Amyras of the Municipality of Athens. They have proposed the restriction of two bicycles per train, which is an international standard in power for security reasons. We have started a three months trial period beginning March 2, based on mutual respect and self-regulation of the cyclists themselves. There are two days per week, every Wednesday afternoon and every Sunday from 12 at noon to the end of the shift, and I am personally very optimistic that all this will go very well and soon during the summer its application will be extended to more days and hours.

Cyclists are not considered “outsiders” in the underground any more; however, this is not the same in their own city. What about bicycle lanes?

The cyclists were not excluded from the other public transportation means as they could use the tram, the electric and the suburban. Now, because of John Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki and of George Kaminis, Mayor of Athens I expect to see thousands of municipal bicycles available at Underground stations and other central locations for the people to get and leave them easily close to their destinations as it is happening in other European cities. To have these bikes safely move there must be the adequate infrastructure. As a professor of transport, I was and always remain fully committed to build safe bicycle lanes’ networks in major cities. We shall have to formulate safe conditions for cyclists, if we want to support this ecological means of transport and encourage urban cycling. Cyclists should not be limited to the use of pedestrian streets and of existed scarce bicycle lanes but we must engage width of the road currently occupied by illegal parking. I can finally announce that we are in the process of consultation and discussions with both the administration of the OASA and the cyclists in order to allow the movement of the bicycles in the exclusive lanes for buses.

The cycling tourism is expected to surpass 20 billion euros over the next 20 years in the EU. Do you believe that our country has the appropriate conditions to “be touched”?

Indeed, Greece always follows and adapts with delay the evolution of the rest of Europe. However, a new culture “bikes in our life” is rapidly formed in our country that starts from the young people, is supported by the difficult environmental and social conditions, and a different way of viewing the world, a different attitude. So, the continuously growing cycling tourism might find us better prepared. This might constitute a great opportunity for further development of thematic tourism in our country given the excellent weather conditions.

Which is your opinion regarding the proposal of GAIAOSE S.A to convert the disused railway lines to bicycle lanes?

This is a very interesting and useful option of using abandoned railway lines that are situated near residential areas and it was very common in previous alignments. They can also connect coastal villages with picturesque bicycle routes or be converted to walkways if the lines pass through a village. In any case, GAIAOSE S.A can creatively reclaim its property in cooperation with municipalities, local authorities, cultural associations and/or NGOs. In this way old station buildings or abandoned railway lines will get a contemporary profile.

Let’s go now in your home city, Thessaloniki. The urban water transport-ation (sea busses) and tram are the two big personal bets to have the traffic problem solved. The second largest city of Greece has had enough of promises. What stage are the procedures for their implementation at?

I always used to say that the memory of a city which” remembers” indicates the appropriate transportation means they need and come back with a modern form, of course. Both the tram and the water bus were two proposals that I had made since the 80s. Today, I think, that the conditions for their implementation have been formed both in terms of transportation needs and in terms of economic conditions. The Transportation Infrastructure Strategic Plan presented by the Minister Dimitris Reppas for Thessaloniki includes the exploring of the feasibility of constructing tram that serves the city centre and in conjunction with the underground, traffic will be adequately dealt with and the city will be upgraded environmentally and aesthetically along its route. I believe that this project will soon go ahead and join in funding programs. Regarding the sea bus, being in contact with the 3 Mayors of catchment areas, I am more optimistic than ever because the conditions have now matured. In three months, we shall launch a public call for expressions of interest by private investors under the SASTH coordination. This is a key route linking either Perea or New Epivates with both Kalamaria and the city center and it will require mild, low-cost infrastructure for the building of three stops. I believe that in the spring of 2012, the 100 years birthday since the liberation of the city, Thessaloniki will be able to revive the Thermaikos Gulf and to restore its traditional relationship with the sea.

In your everyday life, have you adopted methods of protecting the environment?

This is not my personal goal, but I do the basics, as I try to reduce “my energy footprint”. At home, we collect and recycle paper and plastics. I barely use my car because I like to walk in the city, to wander around the shops, the people and the sea. I smoke a little and only outdoors. I know it’s not enough but I think my environmental contribution is the opportunity to contribute to the ecological decision making. And this is much more important and useful for the protection of the environment.