10 years ECOWEEK: Changing habits, changing climate - Interview with President Elias Messina

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
10 years ECOWEEK: Changing habits, changing climate - Interview with President Elias MessinaFrom Aegina to Copenhagen and from Agios Nikolaos to Singapore: Interview by Elias Messina founding chairman of NGO ECOWEEK

Elias Messina is an architect and environmental consultant. Elias teaches architecture and design for over 25 years. He is a graduate of Athens College and Bezalel Academy with a Master from Yale University. He completed his PhD at NTUA. In 2005, after attending a Master interdisciplinary program at NTUA on ‘Environment and Development’ with Prof. Dimitris Rokos, he founded NGO ECOWEEK in Aegina. Since then he coordinates its activity.

NGO ECOWEEK was born in Aegina, but made its presence felt when it invited Al Gore to the Athens Concert Hall. Today, what is the activity of ECOWEEK?

ECOWEEK is a non-profit organization with the mission to raise environmental awareness and to promote the principles of sustainability. Its main activity is to organize international conferences and sustainable design workshops in Greece and abroad, in order to inform, educate and bring sustainable design and green buildings closer to young architects, engineers, designers, architects, landscape and mainly to students.

In the first 10 years of activity ECOWEEK has spread its activity in more than 15 countries in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia. For 2017 we intend to expand our activity to the United States and Africa. The ECOWEEK members network spreads today in 54 countries.

ECOWEEK started its activity in 2005 as a week for ecological awareness in Aegina. Then we developed environmental awareness programs in public and private schools and for the general public throughout Greece and in 2007 we invited Al Gore to give his famous slide show on Climate Change at the Athens Concert Hall. Later on, we assisted the Larnaca Municipality to organize an ecology week and then we organized our first sustainable design workshops in Italy, Serbia, Poland, Turkey and Kosovo, reaching as far as Copenhagen and London. Last year we helped organize a design contest for young designers in China and participated in an ecological festival in Australia. Next year we plan sustainable design workshops from the Netherlands and Sweden to distant Singapore.

In recent years we held conferences and workshops in Athens and Thessaloniki, and this year we are planning for the first time, an ecological week in Agios Nikolaos in Crete. ECOWEEK 2016 in Crete takes place on July 3-10 in cooperation with the G & A Mamidakis Foundation, the Bluegr Hotels & Resorts group and the municipality of Agios Nikolaos. We expect that ECOWEEK in Crete will be the environmental happening of the summer. It was already included in the partner events of the Green Week 2016 organized by the European Commission, and it is already communicated across Europe.

Tell us briefly what is ECOWEEK?

The idea of ECOWEEK was conceived in 2005 in Aegina, as an ecological festival, hence the name “Eco” (ecological) “Week”, which was open to the general public. The festival focused on three main topics: energy saving and renewable energy, recycling and composting and green buildings. Since 2008 the idea of ECOWEEK evolved into a week dedicated to sustainable design and green buildings, with lectures and workshops, that also address issues of energy and waste. During the last 10 years, ECOWEEK has invited international experts in the field, such as Shigeru Ban, Kengo Kuma, BIG, Michael Sorkin, and others, while the main beneficiaries are students of architecture, design and landscape architecture and young professionals in these areas.

Why ecological building?

Architecture and construction have great responsibility (and potential) with regard to sustainability. Buildings consume 40% of produced energy and a significant proportion of raw materials - wood, minerals and water. Also, buildings and cities determine and influence the behavior, health and happiness of people. For example, if you work close to where you live or you must commute daily, with all that this implies for the local community and environmental impact. Changing the way we design and build our buildings and our cities, as half the world population now live in cities, we can intervene effectively in our ecological footprint and therefore manage to live within local conditions and the resources of the planet (One Planet Living)

The way we design is also of great interest. In sustainable design architect works as part of a team. Not in a top-down format. Sustainable design opens cooperation opportunities, participatory planning and placemaking. So that the project beneficiaries – the community - are also part of the creative process. This changes the design experience as it has been experienced so far, not only by offering large scale solutions, but also 'LQC' ie, 'lighter, quicker and cheaper'. This way, interventions can be more focused and more relevant to the actual needs of the community.

The principles of sustainable design, the understanding of local needs to develop sustainable solutions, and the interactive procedure in the design, are key components to the ECOWEEK workshops. This year ECOWEEK, in collaboration with Bioregional based in the UK, promotes the One Planet Living principles through sustainable design workshops, to create proposals for green buildings and sustainable communities.

What activities are planned in ECOWEEK 2016 in Crete?

ECOWEEK 2016 in Crete focuses on "Public Space, Tourism and One Planet" and will develop sustainable solutions at various scales and programmatic needs. The topics and workshop locations, as in previous ECOWEEK events, are chosen carefully in collaboration with the workshop leaders, the Municipality team of Agios Nikolaos and the local community, and the co-organizers G & A Mamidakis Foundation and Bluegr Hotels & Resorts group. 

Among the projects that we will be addressing in Agios Nikolaos are the redesign of the waterfront (a project of interest to the Municipality to receive ideas to be adopted later on), which will led by Canadian architect Chris Doray; interventions in parks (such as City Hall Park) to be led by the Orizzontale team from Italy; interventions in schools (environmentally responsive facades) and hands-on interventions with light structures, with the participation of students, parents and teachers, will be undertaken by EUZEN Architecture team from Thessaloniki and landscape architect Galia Hanoch Roe from Israel respectively. The Chania University team will perform measurements and propose interventions in various parts of the city, and two workshops - LIMNI and Natural Building of Creta) - will demonstrate pilot construction using ecological materials - stone, straw and clay - and traditional construction methods used in Crete.

The workshops will be supported with lectures by experts from Greece and abroad - Canada, Italy, England, Israel and Turkey; for example, Benjamin Gill of Bioregional will support the workshops with the 10 principles of One Planet Living. In addition, film screenings such as "The Human Scale", in cooperation with the Danish Embassy, inspired by the work of the Danish planner Jan Gehl and the movie "The Secret Life of Materials" on nanotechnology applications in design, in collaboration with the Demokritos Research Institute team.

The program is full and diverse and is open not only to students and young professionals, but also to the general public as well. We invite everyone, experts or not, to join us!

Where would one find more information and how to participate? At the conference website is http://www.ecoweekcrete2016.org/ 

Participation in lectures and events is open and free to the general public. Workshops require registration. With participants from Greece, USA, Italy, Turkey, Albania and Kosovo, we expect a diverse team and excellent opportunity for young people to learn from each other and to network.

 

 
 
Pictures from past events of ECOWEEK worldwide (Courtesy of ECOWEEK)
 
 
Agios Nikolaos (Courtesy of Municipality of Agios Nikolaos)

Tornos
  1. 21/01 23:12

    Patras Carnival kicks off in a feast of sound and color

  2. 21/01 23:09

    Greece main issue on the agenda of the Eurogroup of January 22nd

  3. 21/01 23:00

    Anastasiades big favorite to win re-election in Cyprus but not in first round

  4. 21/01 22:47

    Weather service warns of storms and snow in Greece from Sunday afternoon

  5. 21/01 22:44

    EWG chief blames politicians for Greek crisis and supports debt relief

  6. 21/01 22:39

    Foreign ministry: No confirmation that Greek was among Kabul terror victims

  7. 21/01 22:33

    Report: New Greek neo-nazi group threatens Muslims and migrants

  8. 21/01 22:26

    Building up in flames in Thessaloniki during Macedonia protest rally (videos)

  9. 21/01 21:36

    Greek PM on Macedonia issue: Foolish to waste opportunity for solution

  10. 21/01 21:26

    Protesting Greek farmers plan to block national roads with tractors again

  11. 21/01 20:09

    Protest rally over Macedonia name issue concluded in Thessaloniki (videos)

  12. 21/01 18:59

    Fury in FYROM and Greece over rights to Macedonia name (videos)

  13. 21/01 12:55

    Standard & Poor's raises Greece sovereign credit rating to B from B-

  14. 21/01 12:51

    Exhumation of Greek soldiers killed in Albania to start on Monday

  15. 21/01 10:43

    Vote Athens for Best European Destination 2018

  16. 20/01 21:20

    Greek oncologist develops first blood test for eight types of cancer

  17. 20/01 21:13

    Cyta: Vodafone is the preferred bidder for Greece subsidiary

  18. 20/01 20:58

    Former Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis: I called Tsipras an idiot

  19. 20/01 20:51

    Expression of interest invitation for Chios marina extended by privatization agency

  20. 20/01 20:36

    National Bank of Greece has eliminated its dependency on ELA funding

  21. 20/01 19:07

    +12,5% tourist arrivals to Cyprus in December 2017

  22. 20/01 18:43

    IMF chief: Greece is now better equipped to achieve economic growth

  23. 20/01 16:31

    EWG opens way for completion of program review 6.7 billion loan tranche

  24. 20/01 16:30

    Bulgarian Interior Minister Radev visits Moria hotspot on Lesvos island

  25. 20/01 14:56

    Greece-Bulgaria to tacke tax avoidance of Greek businesses and smuggling

  26. 20/01 14:36

    Groundwork for reconstruction of Philip V Stoa on Greek island of Delos is complete

  27. 20/01 13:05

    FYROM FM Dimitrov on state TV: We were and will remain Macedonians

  28. 20/01 10:02

    Greek president hails Orthodox Church's stance towards national issues

  29. 19/01 23:33

    Fraport Greece appoints Ilias Maragakis as new Chief Operating Officer

  30. 19/01 23:28

    Minister: Thessaloniki metro extensions to cost between €1.2 to 1.3 billion

  31. 19/01 23:22

    Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan to open second nightclub in Greece

  32. 19/01 23:11

    Greece aims to attract Latin American tourists

  33. 19/01 23:01

    Athens’ Hotel Grande Bretagne in Conde Nast’s 2018 Gold List

  34. 19/01 22:57

    Fyrom PM confirms meeting with Greek counterpart in Davos on January 24

  35. 19/01 22:29

    144K more jobs created in Greece during 2017 than lost

  36. 19/01 22:18

    Restaurant week in Athens between February 1-11

  37. 19/01 22:06

    Greek FinMin denies report over tax-free income measure implemented earlier

  38. 19/01 21:57

    Japanese band plays Greek "tsifteteli" dance song (video)

  39. 19/01 21:43

    Survey: Majority of Greek CEOs believe reforms will continue only with supervision

  40. 19/01 16:26

    Greek MIT professor who solved “Nash Puzzle” sad over brain drain

  41. 19/01 16:00

    Holiday bookings from the Netherlands to Greece on the rise

  42. 19/01 15:43

    Consumer confidence soars in Greece with the growth in summer tourism

  43. 19/01 15:09

    Young Diaspora Cypriots invited to explore their island of descent

  44. 19/01 14:47

    BoG head: Central bank has an obligation to publicly warn about risks

  45. 19/01 14:35

    Greek State budget surplus for 2017 exceeds target

  46. 19/01 10:48

    Latest investment schemes under development law reach €519 million

  47. 19/01 01:39

    Report: North and South Korea to march under same flag in Winter Olympics

  48. 19/01 01:35

    Barnes International Realty opens office in Greek capital of Athens

  49. 19/01 01:31

    Greek privatization agency issues business plan for tenders without deadlines

  50. 19/01 01:24

    Report: Drone photo of Greek landscape among top-10 for 2017

  51. 19/01 01:11

    Turkish hackers tweet pro-Erdogan propaganda to Trump from ex-Fox accounts

  52. 19/01 01:01

    New law foresees two month closure of casino owing back wages in Greece

  53. 19/01 00:55

    Greece ranks first in absorption of EU funds during 2007-2013

  54. 19/01 00:42

    Cyprus residents' trips abroad grow by 5% in December

  55. 19/01 00:36

    New record: Tourists arrivals in Cyprus during 2017 reach 3.6 million

  56. 19/01 00:36

    Northern Greece's olive oil 'Makri' to be given PDO status

  57. 19/01 00:24

    Bulgarian PM optimistic over prospects of resolving FYROM name dispute

  58. 19/01 00:20

    Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras unafraid of terror attacks

  59. 18/01 23:20

    Qatar Airways to use ultra-modern Airbus A350 on Athens-Doha route

  60. 18/01 22:51

    Arms dealer on United States blacklist linked to Cypriot companies

  61. 18/01 20:47

    Series of actions to promote the popular Greek island of Paros

  62. 18/01 16:03

    Citigroup: Greece needs post-bailout watching despite big surplus

  63. 18/01 14:50

    Greek Diva Maria Callas returns back on stage as a hologram

  64. 18/01 12:44

    Greece attracts strong interest for new offshore oil and gas tenders

  65. 18/01 10:36

    Opposition leader: Greece needs a change of policy with lower taxes

  66. 18/01 01:30

    Greek Defense Minister: FYROM can use the name “Vardarska”

  67. 18/01 01:28

    NATO rules out invitation to FYROM without solution to name issue

  68. 18/01 01:18

    Pelion ski centre "Agriolefkes" opens after last days' heavy snowfall

  69. 18/01 00:57

    ASTA president: US travel agents invest in Greece as a leading tourist destination

  70. 18/01 00:27

    Air passengers and flights at Greek airports break records during 2017

  71. 17/01 22:35

    Hellenic Seaways scraps Thessaloniki-Sporades Islands ferry route

  72. 17/01 20:09

    Giant US investors want stake in Calamos’ Ethniki Insurance takeover

  73. 17/01 18:52

    Turkish Coast Guard vessel bumps into Greek warship Nikiforos near Imia islet

  74. 17/01 16:40

    Tourism receipts hit record high in Greece during January-September 2017

  75. 17/01 14:39

    Ancient Greek mosaic floor discovered in war-torn Syria while digging for mines

  76. 17/01 12:10

    Cambridge Uni archaeologists make new discoveries on Greek island of Keros

  77. 17/01 00:07

    UN envoy: Athens and Skopje have leaderships that 'genuinely want a solution'

  78. 16/01 20:19

    Transport Minister: Contracts for Larnaca port and marina to be signed in 2018

  79. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  80. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  81. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  82. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  83. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  84. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  85. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  86. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  87. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  88. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  89. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  90. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  91. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  92. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  93. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  94. 16/01 19:46

    Report: These are the 10 worst countries to be a Christian

  95. 16/01 19:41

    4.2-magnitude quake shakes Attica without damages reported

  96. 16/01 19:31

    Land deed operators oppose abolition of offices throughout Greece

  97. 16/01 19:23

    Turkey reveals route for new canal to facilitate Bosphorus shipping

  98. 16/01 19:13

    Contracts signed for Paralimni marina in south-eastern Cyprus

  99. 16/01 19:09

    UN sees positive momentum to solve the "Macedonia" name dispute

  100. 16/01 18:59

    JP Morgan hires Greek former debt management agency chief