The first thing I see of Greece is a floating pet bottle in the blue water off the Peloponnese. I do a man-overboard maneuver and fish it up. It was a mistake. A real Greek would not only have let it drift, but would have thrown his cardboard coffee cup after it.
Diving in Peleponnes. Floating particles obscure the view, the water seems yellow. Fish are as big as matchboxes. If any. The dive trip pays tribute to the geology: caves, rock formations, underwater canyons.
It used to be different here, says the dive instructor. Clear water, big fish. But everyone fishes here, and tourism around the lagoon is a million-dollar business. Exempt maybe sewage treatment plants.
Twice the diving instructor has been to Switzerland. “Everything is forbidden there,” he says. Forbidden parking his car in front of the friend’s house. When shopping in the supermarket, he should also pay parking fees. A trauma: “You are not free.” Switzerland, at least, he has seen.
Greeks are free. They can litter their country and destroy whatever moves. They make use of this freedom. No gorge without tires, bathing shoes and metal grids. Along the trails punctured plastic tubes, bullet casings, dead goats. No nature road without paper cups, pet bottles, bottle caps. Along the paths, chained dogs bark their meager souls out of their bodies. Herds of goats eat up all the fresh shoots of the last centuries-old forests.
There are ecologically intact paradises: Mainly inner cities, hotels and tourist beaches. In the rest of the country, the law of the strongest prevails.
Look away …
What goes on in the mind of the person who hurls his paper cup into the holm oak forest from a moving car? Does the farmer have any idea that the plastic of his decaying water hoses does not dissolve into thin air? That the garbage around his farm can grow as old as the pampered Minoan ruined cities? What is the need for thousands of cartridge cases when no wild animal is bigger than a marten?
Toni owns an apartment in Agios Nikolas. Since the municipality introduced a new system of one-way streets, the garbage truck can no longer approach the recycling container. Toni asks the municipality to allow an exception for garbage trucks. The city administration responds. The next day, the recycling container has disappeared.
With what right do I criticize? Is it the arrogance of the Northern European towards “the South”? Is a guest allowed to know better than his host country? Am I talking about Greece here, or about this world, where it looks even more catastrophic elsewhere?
… but where to?
Do I really want to sail on a world trip to see that?