The Greek islands, including the Cyclades, with their breathtaking natural beauty and diverse architectural and cultural heritage, are an undeniable treasure. However, the unprecedented and ravaging fires and floods of the past summer are a clear warning sign about the path forward: we have a choice to either preserve these islands and use their resources wisely for the benefit of all or squander them for the pleasure and profit of a few. Recent events have shone a light on the critical issues of mass tourism, revealing that the current unchecked exploitation of our natural resources is neither equitable nor sustainable.
Equity and Sustainability: The Cyclades islands are facing a strong challenge: how to adapt and protect our islands and their unique cultural and natural heritage when climate change, pollution, and mass tourism are increasing their impact on wildlife and our traditional ways of life. We must innovate, by protecting the environment and providing sustainable incomes and solutions for both people and nature. The Cyclades Preservation Foundation (CPF) is providing direct support to empower local innovative initiatives dedicated to finding long-term and emergency solutions.
A Vision for Equitable Solutions: Our fundamental premise is that the Greek islands, including the Cyclades, are vulnerable environmental resources of exceptional beauty, and it is our duty to protect them. These islands are meant to be enjoyed by all, equitably. To ensure their preservation and sustainability, we propose and prioritise the following actions, drawing always from international experiences of our Conservation Collective network and our own empirical knowledge drawn from our local CPF community.
- Marine Conservation: By funding projects which prioritise marine health throughout the Cyclades we aim to safeguard vulnerable coastal areas and promote marine conservation. We fund projects such as Amorgorama, which seeks to engage local citizens involved in the marine industry in sustainable fishing practices and sea cleaning. CPF program Posidonia Alert raises awareness among boat owners that by throwing down their anchors among Posidonia meadows, they endanger the lifeline of marine biodiversity. Posidonia Alert Kids seeks to spread the message about the importance of posidonia to children who will be the environmental leaders of the next generation.
- Sustainability: CPF encourages sustainable tourism in the Cyclades by offering amenities that promote sustainability, such as the Posidonia Alert sailing guide. We run a number of educational programs in local schools, such as Me and My Plastic and the Greening Schools Initiative, which aim to inspire the youngest members of our societies with sustainable practices to inform their futures.
- Biodiversity Preservation: We fund projects which raise awareness about how to implement efficient waste management and safeguard biodiversity. With the help of our network of expert advisors, partners, co-funders and local communities we fund scientifically-backed initiatives, like our Local Paths to Change grantee project, which spread knowledge about waste awareness and strive to spark natural patterns of biodiversity back into the environment.
- Local Identity: We support initiatives that celebrate and preserve the unique local identity of each island in the Cyclades. We fund projects which promote cultural events, traditional practices, and local craftsmanship to maintain the distinct character of these islands.
- Environmental Education: Key to our mission is our funding of environmental education programs to raise awareness among residents, visitors, and students about the importance of marine conservation, sustainability, and biodiversity. Education is key to fostering a deep connection between people and their natural surroundings.
These proposals aim to protect our natural environment for current and future generations while celebrating the rich local identities of the Cyclades. While challenges and opposition may arise, our intention is to shift the focus and drive away from a desire for mass tourism to the preservation of Greece’s most valued resources, the conservation of its marine ecosystems, and the promotion of sustainability and biodiversity. Together, we can ensure equitable access to some of the world’s most stunning natural habitats while nurturing a sense of responsibility towards our environment and heritage.
Join Us in Protecting Greece’s Island Paradises: CPF donate.