The Islands of the Cyclades are a subtle mix of convivial physical and social environment, which together with the small and human scale that everything has, the feeling of autonomy created by the insularity and the almost unique historical background, have led them to become very popular holiday destinations, and an inspiring place for creation.
Of course this popularity also brought mass tourism which has a high impact on biodiversity and the unique cultural identity of our islands, disfigures the villages and the hinterland by uncontrolled development, wastes the groundwater and destroys traditional trades and crafts.
Local handicraft has already almost disappeared and its traditional products are being replaced by manufactured ones, mostly imported from Asia. The few farmers who have remained in their land, have difficulty competing with imported industrially produced agricultural products.
No special insight is needed to realize that such a model has an expiry date that corresponds to the moment when the characteristics that made our islands so much demanded, will not exist any-more.
So while for many the term sustainable development appears sometimes as romantic, it is easier to understand it in our islands as something very real, because sustainable tourism is a necessity to preserve our prosperity and our quality of life.
In our competitive world there are a growing number of people who want to explore destinations with a distinct identity, where the environment is protected, where they can enjoy locally produced agricultural products, buy local handicraft, discover nature and immerse in the local culture. And they are happy to pay the price for all that.
Therefore we need to cater for responsible tourists and adjust accordingly the tourist promotion of our islands, which will ensure the protection of traditional villages and coasts. But in order to achieve this we also need to actively regulate the traffic, protect the hinterland from new roads and constructions. It is also necessary to generalize the usage of renewable sources of energy and mild solutions to provide water supply. We have to choose an alternative mild development, protecting the biodiversity and the local cultural identity.
I am participating to the ballot of "Ecological Wind" because I want to support and work for a shift towards those directions of the policies in the South Aegean Prefecture.