This week has seen record tempratures all over Greece. Last Tuesday the temprature hit a whopping 47C degrees in the centre of Athens! In an effort to fight the heat all the air-conditioners were put on max which contributed to the high tempratures.
Living in a concrete city like Athens only excacerbates the high tempratures. Green gardens in front of apartments have been built over to increase the inside apartment space in many suburbs. A culture of car dependence (car showing off) means that many have bought the latest luxury/sporty car and drive it everywhere, even if its to the local shop for some milk, just so they don't have to walk and to show off. This too increases the temprature highs.
This has also caused a strain on energy supply, the government is informing everyone to shut off all non-essential appliances in an effort to reduce energy use. Greece imports a lot of its energy from near-by countries such as Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey. I should also mention that Greece is far behind in reaching its commitment to renewable energy, such as wind turbines etc.
A recent wind energy park proposal on an island is being faught by nearby residents citing concerns that it would impact tourism. Another dirty coal burning plant scheduled to be shut down is still operating, not because of the energy it produces, but the locals who are dying at the age of 50 because of the pollution the dinosaur of a plant produces, demanded it be kept operational for the jobs it supplied. And since they die earlier because of it, the least the government could do is give them government jobs.
The government has also ordered that public services cease at 12:00 midday. This is so that energy consumption can be reduced. Unfortunately many left and forgot to turn them off, meaning that nothing was achieved. That sort of sums up the public service actually.
Greece has also been struck by at least 75 seperate fires. The government is calling on other governments to help them combat the fires. While many of the fires may be accidental there is a lot of cynicism in the country regarding them. Many blame the excessive smoking which goes on and people just throwing their cigarette butts out the window. A greater majority however blame the citizens and builders. Previous fires have cleared large sections of wooded areas where it is illegal to build. After the fires, no wood/forests, building becomes no problem!
Penteli which still has some forest left was the site of major fires a few years ago. Now it is becoming heavily populated by houses and apartments.
Why haven't the media brought it up you ask and bring it to public attention?
I don't know. Of course what many Athenians cite is that many top rated journalists have bought houses there, so really they should know first hand about whats going on. But there are some very nice houses up there now, wouldn't have been possible without the fires...
...and so it goes.