Greenwashing with a twist: come to Greece!

In the image above is a small undefined area in Central Athens as it is projected to become. In an extremely densely populated where a parking spot can cost you 100 euro a month or more. Most people just drive around until they find a space, or try to “hold” a spot using crates or their kids and spouses and other tricks.

As you can see the cars park more or less without any plan because, well, Greece, it is an “undefined” area, much contended public space in the city is like that. But then some brave mayor thinks he has a solution! In this case to turn it into a park! The most obvious advantage is that nobody can say no to more green in a city already suffering from global warming. And better still, find a corporate sponsor. Problem solved!

Well not really. Not at all.

This is prime real estate in the most densely packed part of town. It is glaringly obvious that it is an absolute waste not to use the underground opportunity. I wouldn’t even suggest using it for car parking, unless it was a high rise car parking with a green park on top. Probably a center for micromobility would be best. Have charging stations for ebikes and escooters and such. Greece is sorely lacking in availability and support for these. Imagine getting out of your house, walking through a small park and going down to pick up your scooter to work instead.

But that’s not how politics work in Greece.

We need a quick win. Not some boring , long term, expensive actual solution. We just need something for the press releases. And the corporate sponsors love it. Like the pointless “green solar island” the VW group has been harping about for ages. This is just an excuse for PR and corporate people to get free trips to Greece as a mini holiday. So everyone looks good, feels good, gets what they want in the short term.

Except the inhabitants of this area just lost the open space and some invaluable parking spots. Sure, go ahead, make a park. And watch it dry up when the funding does the same. We have seen it a million times.

It is not easy or pleasurable to oppose any green park project. I remember when my local quarries started planting trees on the side of the road I was torn. They were not only illegally in dangerous places by the road but – more to the point – they were only in those places they needed to be in order to hide the quarry!

Sometimes however we need to say no. Do it right, or don’t do it all.

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