They call it Mediterranean…

by Dr Kostas Zormpas, General Director of the Orthodox Academy of Crete

One could write a lot about the Mediterranean! Culture, music, gastronomy, deities… Every summer we wet our feet in the sea and the water sings -softly- back to us, in order to overcome the traumatic stresses of the winter. The blue of the Mediterranean covers our bodies and the sun warms our thoughts and our dreams. On the contrary, at the same time, the same sea becomes a “grave” for the thousands of refugees who are lost together with their dreams. The body of the Mediterranean is plowed by its boats and a new tragedy is ready to come: modern ships are preparing to rape the Mediterranean, by taking from deep insider the sea, its precious commodity: the energy!

We have been living in a geopolitical instability in this region for a long time, which is slowly becoming more and more dangerous. Turkey’s expansionist tendencies are disrupting the social cohesion of the region. This tension creates serious problems for the peaceful coexistence, which concerns the whole Mediterranean, causing issues to the European and global status quo. This situation is directly involved with the fossil fuels, and it increases the risk of a major oil spill at the Mediterranean!

Unfortunately, oil spills and fossil fuel accidents do happen in a regular basis worldwide and the consequences to ecosystems and economies can be felt for decades. It was 10 years ago, on April 20, 2010, when an explosion occurred on a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Smithsonian Institute, a record estimate of 3.19 million barrels of oil were spewed into the ocean, before the leak was capped 87 days after the blowout occurred. That is equivalent to the volume of over 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Imagine if this is a case in the Mediterranean’s future…

For many years now, His Beatitude the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I. has been taking important initiatives and action for the protection of the natural environment. The regions around the Mediterranean, vulnerable to climate change and human activities, desperately need sustainable and organized political thought. Prompt solutions and decisions are necessary, in a spirit of reconciliation and justice. This constitutes a basic element of the work of all Academies, for the protection of life and the integrity of Creation that is constantly endangered. Taking into consideration that the word oikos does not only represent a natural, but also a spiritual reality, it is our duty to protect our right to live in the OIKOS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, learning at the same time to respect the wholeness as well as the holiness of the world.

Acknowledging the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean and the need for Oikosnet Europe to raise its voice and to develop common action for the protection of the region, we propose that Oikosnet Europe adopt a Project for the Mediterranean, aiming at:

1. The development of an environmental consciousness, with communicational networking, organization of seminars, conferences, pedagogical programmes and printed educational material.

2. The application of environmental educational programmes and projects to raise awareness in the religious communities, in schools and NGOs in the respective countries around the Mediterranean.

3. The development of an inter-scientific approach regarding the introduction of environmental education in the official educational system as well as other educational activities.

4. The promotion of the dialogue and co-operation between the monotheistic Religions in the field of the environment.

5. The creation of a network between the different environmental initiatives and Foundations in the Mediterranean region.

We hope that will be an action!

Dr Kostas Zormpas, is the General Director of the Orthodox Academy of Crete

[1] «They call it Mediterranean and naked they play dark eyed children, bitter statues
it gave birth to the gods, Christ himself summer is not afraid of weather there, in the Mediterranean
…» (George Moustaki).

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