Industrial Symbiosis in Greece – TJ Heck

The study indicates that industrial symbiosis practices in Greece are unevenly distributed. High levels of industrial symbiosis are found in regions of high population, such as Thessaloniki and Attica. Besides, they are also influenced by high levels of infrastructure. The uneven distribution of industries in some regions suggests a need for interventions and better policies. They should be focused on industrial promotion to attain the set goals and objectives. Understanding the patterns of industrial symbiosis helps policymakers and stakeholders devise necessary intervention measures. Industrial symbiosis practices have positive environmental and economic impacts (Marinos-Kouris & Mourtsiadis, 2013). It involves an exchange of waste materials and utilizing them as resources. In such a way, the companies can reduce waste generation and minimize the environmental footprint. The finding aligns with the principles of sustainability. For instance, applying them leads to resource efficiency and highlights the need for symbiotic exchanges. It also reinforces collaboration and incentivizes industries to engage in such practices actively. The food and beverage sector is likely to indulge in symbiotic relationships. Others include the metals and textile sectors, ensuring lower participation rates have been identified.

A lack of enough resources challenges the implementation of symbiosis in Greece. Lack of awareness among the stakeholders hampers the willingness of the sectors to engage in symbiotic exchanges. It makes it difficult for companies to tap opportunities to utilize waste materials from one industry as input for another. Many results in missed opportunities for efficient resource allocation and cost savings. Addressing the knowledge barrier requires educational campaigns and outreach programs that raise awareness. Furthermore, it ensures the dissemination of information about industrial symbiosis. There is also limited regulatory support in Greece. It deters industries from participating in development initiatives. Such challenges can be addressed by instilling an institutional framework that recognizes and promotes the concept of symbiosis. An institutional framework is necessary for the widespread adoption of the development. Government agencies and other stakeholders can be pulled to the top to provide a platform for sharing information and establishing collaboration networks. The barriers heightened the need for supportive policies and regulations to coordinate symbiotic exchanges. Resource exchange networks identified in the study contribute to the material exchange and energy cascading. Applying the patterns ensures there is waste reduction and enhanced resource productivity.

Eco-Innovation in Greece – TJ Heck

The Greek environment is impacted by climate change and ecosystem pollution. Based on the global rankings, Greece has average air quality and GHG emissions intensity performance. In the data collected from 2008, GHG  emissions show a declining trend (Mitsios, 2019). Air emissions from transportation and power stations have challenged the country. Besides, overexploitation of water resources and coastal zone degradation led to the pollution of the environment. The groundwater resources are being exploited due to energy and water use for agricultural irrigation. For instance, most grounded water irrigation operates illegally and goes unrecorded. On the other hand, GHG emission has been attributed to economic crisis rather than ambitious climate change policies. Greece remains high in carbon level intensity compared to the other EU nations. The waste management plan has contributed to reducing waste generation and treatment. Leaders are putting efforts into closing illegal landfills and metal foundries. However, such an initiative remains challenging to the county due to inadequate resources for managing hazardous waste. It is at risk of failing to meet the municipal waste recycling rate of 50 %. The economic crisis within the country has hindered environmental protection and research and development. The practices that have worsened the condition include the malpractices by the local authorities and public unawareness of innovation benefits.

The economy of Greek is dominated by the tertiary sector, characterized by services like tourism and the public sector. The data shows that trade and agriculture are less innovative than the  European Union average. Innovation relies heavily on imported technology with more strengths linked to the organizational processes. Due to financial institutions’ risk aversion strategy, new firms have faced challenges accessing capital. Cultural, political, and institutional factors challenge the progress of Greece’s economy. The country needs a cohesive framework to support innovation despite the efforts on the action plan. The nation faces competitiveness challenges with a negative trade balance for high and medium-tech products. The size of the companies further hinders the commercialization of innovations. The other sector affected includes education. As a result, it leads to the weak performance of the learning institutions.

The drivers supporting eco-innovation include natural capital in renewable energy and digitization of the economy. The government has approved Environmental initiatives and improvements to promote renewable energy sources and funding for the sewerage networks. Generally, the policies prioritize environmental protection and waste management through legal forms. Additionally, they support research and innovation.

Hydra Island towards Sustainability – TJ Heck

The Island of the Hydra faces sustainability challenges. Although the region has an aesthetic beauty and a relaxed atmosphere, it faces environmental issues. A sustainable plan is needed to refrain from the island’s development. Hydra is one of the stunning islands characterized by traditional tone-built houses. Besides, it has narrow streets and lacks mass tourism. Within the environment, the absence of large hotels and airports contributes to the authentic charm of the region. The island faces various challenges, including power dynamics and decision-making processes (Smyth, 2019). It makes many inhabitants feel powerless. For instance, they have poor garbage disposal processes as the tracks take them to isolated valleys for burning. Other areas affected include water scarcity and failed infrastructure projects. The non-operational detoxification plant could not be accomplished, indicating the nature of the leadership in the region. Tourism serves as the main economic activity in Hydra. However, mass tourism is linked to adverse outcomes across the Mediterranean region. Land prices have risen hence dividing people’s perceptions. For instance, some perceive development as means of revitalizing the economy, while others fear it. There is a need for diversity in the island’s economy. The leaders should take precautions against haphazard infrastructural development.

Corruption and development are correlated, as addressed in the article. The current situation in Hydra is unsustainable as the young generation is pessimistic about its leadership. It has been influenced by the need for a coherent development plan that places the island at risk of succumbing to developers. There is a need for research projects to collect necessary information and propose a strategy for the future of the region. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of consensus and awareness of alternative options. The water supply relies on the daily boat deliveries that reflect the disregard for sustainable practices. Wastewater is pumped into the sea during the night. Moreover, the mismanagement of allocated funds and the delineation plant’s mysterious status show the corrupt practices’ impact. Hydra faces many challenges linked to cultural differences, which result in economic difficulties. The article emphasizes the need for cultural changes in renewals to address the common challenges experienced in the region. External entities such as the European Commission and the international monetary fund are criticized for advocating a flawed model. Sustainable practices are linked to bottom-up initiatives. Long terms prosperity of Hydra can be attained through collaboration and restructuring of the leadership.

Circular Economy – TJ Heck

Understanding circular economy can be compared to the industrial economy. The circular economy works by designing out wastes and economic activities that adversely impact human health and natural systems. It encompasses the release of greenhouse gases and traffic congestion. The application of the concept also influences designing products for durability and recycling. Adopting a circular economy ensures that different uses of materials can be achieved. It regenerates the use of living systems by avoiding the usage of fossil fuels and non-renewable energy sources. The vision of the circular economy is the regeneration of the products that renew and replenish throughout various life cycles and uses. The application of the circular economy is beneficial since it aims to reduce waste and offer a stark alternative. As the world population is growing, the environment is being affected by the deposition of waste. Roughly one-third of the food shaped for human consumption goes to surplus. High population growth has seen over-utilization of resources that exceeds the earth’s bio-capacity. Shifting to a circular economy goes beyond reusing and recycling. It requires companies to evaluate the impact of products on the environment. Regeneration in the circular economy ensures that products and services contribute to renewals in various processes. Consequently, the reliance on a circular economy promotes stability and growth by consuming scarce natural resources.

Opportunities go to waste due to poor strategies for innovation. People no longer live in a world of cheap and abundant materials. For instance, over 300 metric tons of plastics are produced annually, and only a small portion is reused and recycled. Many of them end up landfilled and washed up on the shorelines. It is essential to adopt a circular economy to boost a nation’s GDP and reduce the cost of materials. On the consumer level, it results in high-quality products and sustainable services. It is a call to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and their components. Implementation of the circular economy faces challenges, such as a need for more awareness and willingness to engage in greener initiatives. Some countries may also need more proven technologies and implement policies to support the transition. When a country needs to shift to a circular economy, it has to use regenerative approaches to business processes. For instance, they can design for the future and incorporate digital technologies. It results in the strengthening and advancement of knowledge in industries. Furthermore, leaders must consider opportunities to create excellent value and build on incentives.

US Embassy/ACG Office of Sustainability Speaker presentations – TJ Heck

US Embassy: This was a fascinating visit for real! It’s not common I feel like to receive a visit from a diplomat! These three ladies were very insightful and had great upbringings that led to their current roles. To be very honest, I had not one clue what diplomats’ roles were. I thought they just got to drive around in the cars with “diplomat” tags and pop in and out of their embassies. It was very new to me to find out that the role of all of these embassies is to make sure that the interest of the country can be completed safely and in the right way. The same goes for other countries with embassies in the US. The biggest takeaway for me from them was that you can come from almost any background or study and end up working for the government. The speeches they gave us about never giving up and always trying your hardest seem so cliche but they are true in their cases. Having no idea what I wanted to do after college used to scare me a lot more than until their presentation. Seeing how each of these ladies began their careers doing completely different things ie. running marketing for an airline company for 20+ years, overseeing a contract be changed to allow color speckles in gum, to facilitating a gym be built for the president, gives me hope and a sense of tranquility that everything will be ok.

Office of Sustainability: The enthusiasm of our guest speaker was so transferable. I hadn’t thought much about the topic of sustainability until I entered high school. Since then, each year I feel like has increased in the term and actions around it. Now that we’re university students, our daily lives are shared with learning and living sustainably. In my opinion, this topic in Charleston has been in the spotlight for longer than here in Greece. CofC already has initiatives and has completed changes since before I was enrolled. This presentation was a lot more applicable to me as the changes made at ACG were more current. It’s crazy to believe how many single-use plastic bottles are no longer being discarded since implementing water bottle fill stations. Another thing to note is that Starbucks on campus charges for using plastic whereas in the states it does not. I think here in Greece, you just don’t have to pay the tax if you bring in a reusable bottle unlike in the US where you save $.5 or $.10 on your drink. While this is a great initiative, there needs to be research about how to save money when mobile ordering in the states!

Hydra Blog Post – TJ Heck

What a wonderful visit to Hydra or Ydra, depending on where you’re from. I was not thrilled with the early wake-up and various transportation methods, however, once we arrived, I took back all of those negative feelings!!! After having spent time in Mykonos, I can objectively state Hydra is a destination for those that want a slower, less pressing lifestyle. Maybe this changes during peak season, but Mykonos was hopping even though it was early. With many public beaches, equally as delicious food, no cars, and donkeys and cats, I will certainly come back to Hydra. I really enjoyed the central plaza vibe that is shared with other European countries, I think the US might benefit from something like this. We saw quite a few locals and visitors throughout the visit. One culture shock I had was seeing some individuals more nude than others, some even taking selfies! Besides that I didn’t see much litter, the locals take care of their land for sure. I did feel badly for the donkeys – they reminded me of the horse carriges in CHS. Between the donkeys and water taxis though, they have their transportation down to a T. I can’t wait to come back and visit!

Quiz 2 – TJ Heck

Every time I travel, something is surprising and different about the place that I wasn’t anticipating. The biggest surprise for me on this trip was all of the smoking. The frequency, the amount, and the demographic who partake in the activity are really astounding. I start with this to then pivot and address the sustainability initiatives going on in Greece at present. It seems that, in my opinion, the citizens of Greece are more interested in the sustainability of the city around them, than they are in their own physical health! In terms of the supply chain, I believe it begins with what you put into your body before it can have an effect on the world around you. The traditional linear supply chain is now being phased out due to research about the environmental effects it leads. This traditional linear chain takes natural resources, turns them into a good or product, and then gets discarded. Similar to 99% of everything produced goes to waste just six months later. It’s terrible. It’s surprising to me that the closed-loop supply chain hasn’t gained traction sooner, as there is money to be made from the more sustainable practices. I guess that since it requires more work, and doesn’t play into the American ‘get rich quick’ query, it hasn’t been able to make an impact until something detrimental were to come of it, ie global warming, waste, pollution levels, etc. I think as time has gone on, many consumers are changing their attitudes in terms of consumption and realizing that there is no need to have excess things. Having said this, it makes for the perfect opportunity to purge the things we don’t need, in a sustainable way, to begin and help maintain a closed-loop supply chain. In a perfect world, closed-loop supply chains would be the only kind we know. This way, nothing would really go to waste, and everything would be used to create something else, therefore increasing the longevity of the smallest things. Closed-loop supply chains are very tough to achieve as there are only certifications out for companies, not individuals. These companies that are producing the goods and services that we buy are the ones responsible for overconsumption and pollution, as individuals are astronomically smaller comparatively. The change will come faster and more direct if it comes from the top. We as consumers and individuals can facilitate this through our consumer attitudes.