Today’s visit of Hydra was one of my favorite excursions so far. I really enjoyed visiting a smaller island, especially one without cars. Swimming in the water was one of my favorite parts of the day, as I liked that it wasn’t a traditional beach. In addition, we were able to ride donkeys, shop, and explore the island. For my interview, I interviewed Vaggelis, who was our server at lunch. He informed me that at the restaurant they recycle all of their glass, paper, and plastic problems and try to reuse packaging material. In addition, they take steps to reduce their plastic consumption by providing paper straws.
One thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone on this trip has been using the public transportation system by myself. My Mom and sisters are spending time in downtown Athens and I used the Metro and bus to get down there instead of taking the easy way and getting a cab. I was nervous but I ended up doing fine and so glad I pushed myself.
A brief fact about a company that I learned today was that Walmart was exposed for underpaying their employees as well as working overtime without compensation. Walmart has since fixed this unethical decision and workers are appropriately compensated.
In today’s reading, we learned about Eco-innovation and how it functions throughout Greece. Eco-innovation is defined by the Observatory as, “ any innovation that reduces the use of natural resources and decreases the release of harmful substances across the whole life-cycle.” Greece continues to rank on the lower side of the EU but is beginning to increase its performance in eco-innovation. These improvements have been made through integration technologies such as energy-efficient smart meters, solar energy, and photovoltaics, just to name a few.
Today we toured the island of Sounion which is home to the ruins of The Temple of Poseidon. It was built around the same time as the Parthenon, in the Golden Age. It was built at the highest point of the island, Attica. It was amazing to swim in the beautiful clear water while looking at the 5th-century BC temple.
I found it interesting that climate change impacts Greece more because it is an island. I also learned about my company Polyeco and their unique art initiative in order to raise awareness on waste management
Out of all the islands I have visited here so far (Aegina, Mykonos, and Hydra), Hydra is by far my favorite of the three. When we arrived, we went straight to the cliffs to go swimming. The water was beautiful, blue, and clear. After I took a short dip, I realized there was a small cliff you could jump off where I had set my towel. I introduced the idea to everyone, but I was only 95% sure that the water was deep enough. Thankfully, Kevin wanted to be our guinea pig and he jumped off first. After we realized Kevin could do it, we all jumped off the cliff into the water. After cliff jumping, we went to lunch. I ate the moussaka, and it was very yummy. Once our bellies were full, a few of us went to ride the donkeys (although I only saw horses and mules). We were led as a group around the tight winding roads on the island, my horse was sweet, and the views were beautiful.
Kelly and I then walked around the town while looking into local shops. I had been searching for a pair of sunglasses and I found a pair of ray bans in a shop named Studio Hydra. I also conducted my interview with a worker at the shop who helped me named Vesna. Vesna was very helpful in the store and during the interview. I discuss my interview in depth in my Hydra Interview post on OAKS.
I really enjoyed the tour we took to Poseidon’s temple today. The location on the cliff where the temple was built is stunning. My favorite part of the excursion was the beach we visited after the tour of the temple. While swimming in the water you could see Poseidon’s temple on the cliff which was a cool experience. It was like we were “swimming in his pool”. After swimming we ate lunch at an authentic Greek restaurant by the water. The food was delicious, but I really enjoyed the octopus since I had never tried it before.
I found the reading about eco-innovation in Greece to be particularly interesting. Eco-innovation is a challenge in Greece mainly because of their poor economy, which slows down introducing further innovations. Most companies must take their own initiatives to build energy efficiency. But the Greece government does support the integration of sustainable technologies such as building energy efficiency and their energy savings at home program.
My experience with the interview was a little difficult. The store owner was unsure of what exactly I was asking and did not understand what sustainability is. Despite the challenges, I was able to get somewhat of an answer from her once we got past the immediate misunderstanding. I learned that her business recycles anything and everything that they can.
The excursion to Hydra Island was one of my favorites. We started off the day swimming, which was amazing because you can actually see your feet in the ocean here. We later rode donkey’s which was very cool. We got to see different parts of the island and get a lot of really cool pictures.
The company I chose to do further research on was Imerys. The company is the world’s leading provider in mineral-based specialties. Their sustainability program is articulated around 3 axes. The first one being empowering their people. They want to make sure employees and people that the company works with stays healthy and safe, nurturing talent and promoting diversity and inclusion. Next is caring for our planet, protecting the environment and promoting non-energetic resources efficiency. Finally, building for the future. This means behaving ethically, operating fairly and ensuring responsible purchasing.
Hydra was definitely a highlight of my time in Greece. It was so beautiful and swimming was a magical experience. I loved seeing the donkeys and the beautiful town surrounded by blue water. I spoke to a woman in a jewelry store who told me about her and her peer’s sustainability efforts to keep Hydra looking so beautiful. She said the air was much cleaner without any cars on the island. It was truly a wonderful day!
My experience with interview the local was very funny. At first he did not really understand what I was asking him but after using google translate he understood. I think they really like how our group was so interested in the culture. He was definitely happy we were so curious and thought it was funny how we had to get a selfie. It was really interesting to hear what the local had to say about sustainability and his perspective on what he thinks is good for the environment. I really enjoyed todays excursion and it honestly might have been my favorite one. The island was so beautiful and swimming in the ocean was so cool. We also rode donkeys and that was so worth it! I had so much fun. Lunch was also so good as usual and I enjoyed walking around afterwards.