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Science

The Day after Tomorrow: Wildfires, Climate Change and Social Media Experts

It is true that there is a larger and deeply more dangerous pandemic than the COVID-19 outbreak – the pandemic of ‘social media experts.’

From the environment to human immunology, they know everything and create wildfires of hate, division, and unproductive dialogue.

One quote of my grandfather pops up from my memory: ‘horis ntropi kai filotimo – without shame or a sense of honor,’ but it does not exactly describe and label these internet ‘experts’.

Please, show some respect to people and the environment.

People in Greece are suffering. Not only the ones who lost “something of their own.” Or even the ones who know someone who experienced loss, but everybody.

Because forests are social capital. Forests do not belong to anyone, and each one of us is part of the forest. Whether you live deep a forest in Epirus or in Downtown Manhattan, when one does not live by its rules, both suffer.

This summer in Greece and all over the world is unnaturally hot. When you see Siberia in this situation, you might selfishly say: “ok, there is no refuge from climate change.”

The point is, when you cannot stand the heatwave even in seaside places and on the islands, it seems that “the thermostat is broken.” And there is a domino effect:

Things that we expect to happen, like wildfires in natural pine forests, become extreme phenomena – there are just too many and they are just too destructive.

Pine trees are native to many places in Greece. People are not. Pine forests use natural wildfires as a means of regeneration, a controlled process that does not create big losses. But when people ‘invade’ or change something, well, things do not go as they should.

But they insist “it’s not our fault” – or anyone’s else’s. But the domino effect leads to suffering for people and the environment.

And when there is suffering, we must focus on finding solutions, not indulging in the blame game.

Science can help in all of this, but the triptych society-economy-environment is not easily balanced. Even science sometimes cannot offer a holistic solution that works for everybody. There is no ‘golden ratio’ for such problems, but there are best-case scenarios. That is what scientists can offer, this is what we must follow.

Without shame, people are racing to blame others, expressing vitriolic opinions and thoughts. Without filotimo, people are talking about promoting things they do not understand, influencing others’ opinions – and most importantly, emotions. Such ignorance shows a lack of filotimo – there is no exact translation for this  Greek word from deep in our history and culture, but for those who understand it, I say it is better to first find your filotimo and then express your feelings/opinions. This is not free speech or democracy they are practicing – they are arsonists … starting dangerous wildfires.

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.

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