In light of the climate emergency we are facing worldwide due to global warming, I have at times questioned the fact that I am promoting travel to an island that tourists invariably have to fly to. I have felt a personal conflict for encouraging this. Clearly the next few decades are going to be challenging with increasingly more chaotic weather, crop failures, climate migration to name but a few of the issues.
Indeed the Meltemi winds which affect Andros during the warmer months have become noticeably more frequent and sustained. Moreover weather patterns have become less predictable in Andros with for example record rainfall last year. I think we all have to change our way of living in an effort to reduce our environmental footprint; if not then as is suggested by the upward temperature trend on the graph below, we will compromise life for the future generations.
So what can we do?
- Use alternative travel methods with less of a carbon footprint; for example train, car or coach. Although this isn’t possible for many who come from afar. Admittedly if travelling across Europe this way, one must use several days of annual leave to do this which isn’t practical for those working normal jobs; however if you have a more relaxed schedule then why not give it a try? If anyone has any experience of this, I would love to hear it. One alternative to this, is to offset the carbon footprint of your flight by paying a little extra to one of the providers offering this.
- Say no to single use plastics – Plastic bags are still used freely in Andros. Try to use reusable bags instead. Otherwise this bag will most likely end up in Stavropeda dump in Andros. Indeed a landslide from this very dump in 2011 released huge amounts of waste into the sea which led to the ‘plastic reef’ found by divers recently (see below). Unfortunately, the recycling infrastructure in Andros is very poor, with most waste ending up in landfill. Waste is often seen piling up during the busy summer months; ultimately it is the responsibility of local government to make steps to address this. Such waste is sadly having an adverse effect on the environment in Andros.
- Holiday locally. Jet-setting all over the globe several times a year to visit different countries is clearly not sustainable. Personally I have tried to curtail this as much as possible, although I cannot get away from the fact I live in the UK and I have family in Andros.
- WALK & HIKE MORE – Exploring Andros Routes by foot is not only good for you, but compared to many other touristic activities, it’s environmental impact is minimal.
Reuters news 2019 – In Greece’s Aegean Sea, divers find “gulf of plastic corals”
I am not trying to dissuade tourism from Andros, I just feel I need to point out the elephant in the room, which is that unless we change current human behavior, we are on track towards a rather gloomy future. Simply ignoring this until it becomes a major issue, is not the right approach in my view. I am hopeful however that human behavior is changing gradually and that awareness of this issue is now becoming widespread.