Bee-eaters, swallow, sea of Tilos, Greece

This Associated Press video says about itself:

Greek island set to get all its energy from renewables

Plaka, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

1. Aerial shot turbine

2. Various of wind turbine

3. Cutaway of Greek, EU and Eunice Energy Group flags

4. Various of on-site project manager Spyros Aliferis opening container with batteries

5. Mid of batteries that store energy and later deliver it to the grid of wind turbine on northern tip of Tilos island ++MUTE++

6. Tilt down of cables connecting batteries

7. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Spyros Aliferis, on-site project supervisor for Eunice Energy Group: “The innovation of this program and its funding lies in the batteries, the energy storage, that’s what’s innovative. The energy made by the wind turbines and the photovoltaics will be stored in batteries so that this energy can be used for the grid when there is demand.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS Tilos island – 5 August 2018

8. Aerial of solar panels installed as part of the renewable energy storage project ++MUTE++

9. Mid of solar panels ASSOCIATED PRESS Plaka, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

10. Aerial of Aegean Sea, underwater cable bringing electricity to Tilos island from neighbouring islands Kos and Nisyros runs below ++MUTE++

11. Various of electricity poles connecting underwater cable to Tilos grid

ASSOCIATED PRESS Megalo Chorio, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

12. Various of Tilos mayor Maria Kamma working in her office

13. Cutaway of EuroNatur Prize 2009 certificate

14. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Maria Kamma, Mayor of Tilos: “Another factor that prompted us to proceed with this project is that we do believe in renewable sources of energy, and our ability to totally end our dependence on gasoline as a fuel for electricity, which is very harmful for the environment. For many years now, Tilos has plotted a course that is dedicated to protecting the environment. We are seeking visitors, tourists actually, people who will visit our island who love the environment and want to protect it and nature as it was given to us.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 4 August 2018

15. Aerial of entrance to Livadia harbour ++MUTE++

16. Aerial of rooftops in Livadia with solar panels and solar-powered water heaters ++MUTE++

17. Owner of Sea View Hotel Sevasti Delaporta walking into restaurant to get breakfast ready

18. Various of Delaporta getting things ready for guests

19. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Sevasti Delaporta, owner of Sea View Hotel: “I’m very optimistic about this project because there are few negative consequences, as a business, and for the guests of the hotel that I run. People are pleased with the service because they have no problems with their fridges and they have no problems with their air conditioning. They are happy, things are ok.”

20. Hotel guests having breakfast at the terrace

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 5 August 2018 ++MUTE++

21. Aerial of hotels and houses along the seaside

22. Aerial of sea and small boat

23. Aerial of town of Livadia

24. Aerial of surrounding mountains, sun going down

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 5 August 2018

25. Wide of main street with tourists and locals

26. Shop sign in main street

27. Various of main square with bars and restaurants

28. Man walking in the street

29. Wide of restaurant outdoor tables

30. Dutch visitor Eva Lemaier, who has been coming to Tilos every summer for 25 years

31. SOUNDBITE (English) Eva Lemaier, Dutch tourist:

After 9 May 2019 on Tilos came 10 May.

In the morning, the sound of bee-eaters on spring migration.

We went from Megalo Chorio to Livadia.

Livadia, 10 May 2019

The photos from Livadia in this blog post were made, as an experiment, with a ‘lensbaby‘: a kind of camera lens enabling to make photos in which some parts are focused while other parts are not.

Hooded crows flying along the coast.

A cuttlefish bone and a dead sea star on the beach.

Aegean sea, 10 May 2019

And, of course, the Aegean sea with its stones along the coast.

A barn swallow passes.

Flowers, elephants and herons of Tilos, Greece

This video is called Tilos 2014.

After 8 May 2019 on Tilos island in Greece came 9 May.

Early in the morning, bee-eater sound.

Wild carrot, 9 May 2019

Along a road near Megalo Chorio village, this wild carrot flower.

Wild carrot, on 9 May 2019

And this other wild carrot flower.

This 3 June 2019 video is called Could you spot a wild carrot? | [London] Natural History Museum.

Elephants, 9 May 2019

Back in Megalo Chorio, this supermarket, where you can buy elephants …

Food, 9 May 2019

… and various food items.

We walked to Agios Antonios.

A clouded yellow butterfly.

A sling-tailed agama on its usual wall.

Flowers, 9 May 2019

Along the road, these flowers.

Flowers, on 9 May 2019

And these flowers.

Holy orchid with snail, 9 May 2019

And this holy orchid with snail.

A house martin flies past.

A hoopoe calls.

In Agios Antonios, two squacco herons fly along the coast.

Agios Antonios, 9 May 2019

These trees grow there.

Just past the harbour, a gull on a rock. This time not a (common) yellow-legged gull, but a rarer Audoin’s gull.

This 11 July 2017 video says about itself:

Always carry a camera! Audouin’s gull – Port de Pollença, Espana

Cretzschmar’s bunting, elephant, flowers of Tilos, Greece

Flowers, on 8 May 2019

Still 8 May 2019 on Tilos island in Greece. As we walked back from the mountains above Agios Petros bay, we saw these flowers.

Two black-eared wheatears.

Cretzschmar's bunting, 8 May 2019

Then, a special bird of this rocky area: a Cretzschmar’s bunting.

Elephant, 8 May 2019

We passed a house on which an elephant had been painted: reminiscent of the small elephant species living on Tilos until a few thousand years ago.

As we walk back to Megalo Chorio, a Balkan yellow wagtail sits on a fence.

A male Eleonora’s falcon flying.

Holy orchids, 8 May 2019

Holy orchids growing along the road.

Poppy, 8 May 2019

So did this poppy and other flowers.

Butterfly, 8 May 2019

We saw this butterfly, probably a Turkish meadow brown, on this flower.

A chukar partridge flies away.

Little owl, goats, spotted flycatcher of Tilos

This is a May 2017 time lapse video about Tilos island in Greece.

After 7 May 2019 on Tilos came 8 May.

We walk from Eristos beach in the direction of Agios Petros beach.

Tilos, 8 May 2019

We have to go uphill. A snake-eyed lizard along the footpath.

A clouded yellow butterfly.

Little owl, 8 May 2019

Then, we see this little owl again.

Little owl, on 8 May 2019

Goat, 8 May 2019

Then, this goat.

Flowers, 8 May 2019

And these flowers.

Spotted flycatcher, 8 May 2019

And this bird on its spring migration: a spotted flycatcher.

Goats, 8 May 2019

Some more goats.

Barn swallows, 8 May 2019

Barn swallows on migration, resting on branches.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on 8 May 2019 on Tilos.

Mayor of Tilos island, Greece, interviewed

This is an 18 October 2016 Greek language video of an interview with Ms Maria Kamma. She has been mayor of Tilos island in Greece since 2012, succeeding her predecessor Tasos Aliferis. She had become a local councillor in 2010.

On 9 May 2019, I did an interview with Ms Kamma in the town hall in Megalo Chorio. With a translator translating my questions into Greek, and her answers into English.

Before proceeding to the interview proper, I first will explain some of the context of the environmental and refugee issues, which play a role both in Tilos and worldwide.

Tilos is exceptional, being the only Greek island running on sustainable energy. And also with a much better situation for refugees than in other places elsewhere in Greece, in Europe, in the USA etc.

Both Tilos’ pro-environment, anti-global warming policies, and its pro-refugee policies happen in an international political context where unfortunately, there are moves in opposite directions.

According to the United Nations, Greece is one of eighteen countries in the world where global warming might cause most damage: sea level rise, more flooding, more wildfires … But Donald Trump, the most powerful politician in the world, claims that global warming is supposedly a Chinese communist hoax. Like Trump, far-right politicians in other countries, like in the Netherlands, help Big Oil against anti-global warming and anti-drilling earthquakes activism. In Greece, the extreme right Golden Dawn party wants drilling in the Aegean sea, maybe close to Tilos.

And then, there are ‘center right’ parties in many countries. Often, they are scared of losing votes to Donald Trump-style far rightists. Usually, they don’t say that global warming is a hoax. But they say: don’t pay too much for solving this problem; don’t make corporations like Shell or Exxon pay; make poor people pay; etc. And don’t go any further than the Paris climate agreement (which is not enough according to most scientists). In the USA, left-wing Senator Sanders says that ‘centrist’ Democrat Biden’s ‘middle ground’ approach to the climate crisis would ‘doom future generations’.

And then, there’s ‘center left’ politicians. Who in theory have better climate policies. But who say: we are in a coalition government with the center right. And continuing to be ministers is more important than stopping global warming disasters.

Finally, there is a big movement which says governments are not doing enough. That what happens on energy in Tilos now should happen everywhere as soon as possible.

Similarly, on refugees, Tilos is doing better than many other places. Similarly, there are forces pulling in various different directions in international politics.

This 2 October 2015 video says about itself:

A network of volunteers on the Greek island of Tilos reach a beach that is inaccessible by road, to rescue a group of Syrian refugees who were dropped off by Turkish smugglers. The Pappas Post is raising funds for the volunteer network to create a permanent refugee welcome center.

Many refugees who had arrived in Tilos have left, as there are only jobs for them in the summer tourist season. In winter, also some Tilos natives leave, as there is not much work outside the tourist season.

Ms Kamma said she did not feel that she had the right to express strong political opinions on the Greek and international force field: being not a member of any political party, and with Tilos local councillors being independents, not party representatives.

How about the Tilos paleontological museum, about dwarf elephants living on the island until a few thousand years ago? Ms Kamma said that what I had heard earlier on Tilos about the museum being closed because ´free market´ ideologists wanted to enforce entrance fees was not true. As the museum would open in the end of June 2019. The elephant fossil boxes, studied by Athens palaeontologists, still had to be unpacked. The electricity still had to be installed. After that, the museum will be open.

Ms Kamma said there were not yet real facilities for birdwatchers on the island. But Tilos does want to attract them. We are only just starting. We are starting with repairing footpaths. And having benches along these paths.

There is plastic waste on Tilos beaches. Ms Kamma said it was overwhelmingly not from Tilos, but from Turkey, from elsewhere in Greece, or other countries. We don’t know. Sea currents are unpredictable. Some time ago, someone drowned off Kos island. And the dead body washed up in Tilos. We regularly clean up plastic from beaches. Though it is disheartening to see that two days later, the waves already will have brought much new waste.

According to a new WWF report, most plastic pollution in the Mediterranean is from tourist beaches. About 20% is from fishing and other ships.

Plastic pollution in the Mediterranean

What will happen in the future on Tilos? Ms Kamma: we will start to recycle all waste. Meaning separate dustbins for plastic, paper, etc. It will start in early 2020.

Also, an electric bus and electric trucks will arrive on Tilos at the end of 2019. The present driver of the gasoline bus, Pavlos, will drive the electric bus.

At the moment, there are no refugees on Tilos. We have submitted a plan to the Greek government to have them coming again this year. And then, with better job prospects.

We thank Mayor Kamma and her translator for this interview.

Don’t worry, the regular Tilos blog posts on 8 May 2019 and further chronologically will resume. So, stay tuned!

Squacco herons, bee-eaters, flowers of Tilos

Wave, 7 May 2019

After 6 May 2019 on Tilos in Greece came 7 May. First, we went to Hagios Antonios. Where we saw this wave in the Aegean sea.

Yellow-legged gull, 7 May 2019

And where we saw this yellow-legged gull.

Two squacco herons flying along the coast.

Wave, on 7 May 2019

Then, we went to Eristos beach. Where there were waves as well.

Flowers, 7 May 2019

We walked back to Megalo Chorio. Along beautiful flowers …

Flowers, on 7 May 2019

Flowers and oats, 7 May 2019

… and oats …

Wild carrot, 7 May 2019

… and this wild carrot flower …

Wild carrot, on 7 May 2019

… and this other wild carrot flower.

Bee-eaters sitting on wires.

Just before the village, a clouded yellow butterfly.

In the village, a male red-footed falcon flying.

Little owl, black-eared wheatear, flowers of Tilos

This October 2013 video is about climbing from Megalo Chorio village on Tilos in Greece to the Kastro (castle).

After 5 May 2019 on Tilos came 6 May.

We did not go to the Kastro, but first to Agios Antonios, then to Eristos beach.

At Agios Antonios, two squacco herons.

A bee-eater sitting on a wire.

At Eristos, swifts.

Trees, 6 May 2019

As we walked up the mountain, these trees.

Flower, 6 May 2019

And this flower.

A sling-tailed agama on a wall.

A little owl on a fence.

A snake-eyed lizard runs across the footpath.

On a bush, a Balkan yellow wagtail.

A woodchat shrike sitting on barbed wire.

A clouded yellow butterfly.

A black-eared wheatear on a wall.

White flowers, 6 May 2019

On our way back, these white flowers.

White flowers, on 6 May 2019

And these bigger white flowers.

A raven flies.

Searocket, 6 May 2019

Finally, close to Eristos beach, these searocket flowers.