On Sunday May 18 the first round of Municipal and Regional Elections were held in Greece, and I ran for office again. A month or so before the 2010 Regional Elections were held in under a newly reorganized electoral system, my friend Michael Bakas sent me an email saying simply: “You are running with the Green Wind in the upcoming elections.” Michael asked me to run because we had worked together to save the wetlands in Lesbos and he had supported me as I wrote an official Complaint to the European Commission documenting the failures of national and local authorities to uphold European laws.
I did not know what I was supposed to do as a candidate on a Greek parliamentary-system list, but in the end I passed out flyers in my village and the adjoining one. My name was mentioned in a newspaper article because I was foreign-born. To everyone’s surprise, I came in 3rd of 18 candidates for the Green Wind in Lesbos, and we elected our first councilor in the regional government. After the election Michael told me that we were going together to Chios to meet with candidates to celebrate our victory. There I met an amazing group of green activists and despite being a “foreigner” was warmly received.
In 2012, I ran again in the national elections, that time passing out flyers in more than 20 villages and towns. As I have been pretty busy campaigning, I thought I would share translations of 2 statements from me that were posted in Greek on the blog and facebook page of the Green Wind.
I live in Molivos and I am a candidate for the Regional Council of the North Aegean in Lesbos with the Green Wind because I love nature and the traditional way of life in the islands. I believe that we must appreciate and protect what we have, rather than destroy it. For example, if our olive oil was all organic we could “brand” the “Golden Organic Olive Oil of Lesbos” and sell it like fine wine, rather than selling it for next to nothing in bulk to Spanish and Italian companies. With a little thought and a lot of work we can go forward in harmony with nature and make a living from our olive groves at the same time.
Our thoughts about tourism should be similar. Mass tourism in large hotels brings money to the few who are already rich. A green model of alternative tourism with emphasis on small and family run businesses can save us and save the amazing natural beauty of our island. We can fix our traditional stone paths for walkers rather than building new roads, we reduce noise pollution (especially from motorcycles without mufflers), we can stop throwing garbage everywhere, and we can move toward recycling and composting of all of our waste. We must be proud that all of Lesbos has been declared a UNESCO Geopark due to its volcanic history and geological features; if we make this known a higher quality of tourism will flood into our island.
It is important that we develop a “green energy” program for our island, using mixed small scale systems, including sun, wind, and hot water sources that are a legacy of our volcanic past, and not allow our island to be colonized by foreign companies with large scale energy development programs that destroy will our environment and bring little long term benefit to our island. We must think about the issue of climate change, because if we have temperatures over 100 degrees all summer long, what tourism will we have; will our olive trees and our sheep and goats survive long hot summers? If we don’t think about climate change now, what life will our grandchildren have?
I am a candidate with the Green Wind because green politics are feminist politics. The Green Wind has 23 women on its electoral list in the Regional Elections for the North Aegean. Do you know why?
Because green politics are from its beginning and according to its principles feminist politics.
Our 4 principles are: sustainability, social justice, non-violence, and participatory democracy. Social justice and non-violence are feminist principles that interact with the other 2 principles.
Simply put, we cannot have participatory democracy if there is no equality for women at home and in politics. We cannot have participatory democracy if women are afraid they will be victims of violence at home, on the streets, or in the political arena (as occurred in Greece in 2012 when the Golden Dawn candidate attacked a woman candidate from another party on television) if they express their ideas in a clear and strong manner.
In addition we cannot live in harmony with nature if we do not change our attitude of “domination” over nature to an attitude of “living in harmony with” nature with respect for every living thing.
The Green Wind fights for and will continue to fight for nature, and also against every type of domination and violence. The Green Wind will resist violence in the home, in schools (bullying), on the streets (rape, attack), and in politics. Violence is not a solution to any problem. Violence is itself a problem.
The Green Wind supports every type of equality and we do not place questions of equality second to other issues. We believe that solutions to our problems must be created from the base of equality.
This is why 23 of the 42 candidates of the Green Wind in the Regional Elections in the North Aegean are women.
People—women and men—and the environment together. This is our commitment.
*Election results. We will keep our one member on the Regional Council.
Carol P. Christ is looking forward to the spring Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete which she leads through Ariadne Institute–reserve your space now for the fall tour. Carol can be heard in a recent interview on Voices of Women. Carol is a founding mother in feminism and religion and women’s spirituality. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.