All posts by areti

meetnature

Title
meetnature: A tourism Product for Seniors to experience nature through creative and playful learning
Subject
This project is designed in order to bring seniors in contact with nature’s complexity and diversity, promoting simultaneously the tourist sector in Greece
Client
Private Tourist Agency
Investment Category
Tourism industry
Region
Municipality of Chania, Crete, Greece
Project description
The project aims at developing a Product especially designed to bring Seniors in contact with nature’s astonishing beauties, diversity and complexity. The ambition of ‘meetnature’ is to overcome significant obstacles of tourism and Seniors’ transnational mobility, most of which have already been determined during previous actions taken by the European Commission.

The project consortium includes partners from France, Italy, Czech Republic and Greece.

A pilot visit will take place in Chania Crete, where participants from two European organisations related to Seniors will visit sites with aesthetic value and ecological importance and participate in Creative and Playful Learning activities.

The aim of ‘meetnature’ is to combine (a) the benefits of interacting with Nature through experiential activities, creative and playful learning (CPL); (b) second chance learning and social integration of seniors; through transnational travelling; and (c) transnational tourism flows during low and medium season.

Parallel objectives are:
To explore the compatibility of protected natural areas or non protected sites with sustainable tourism designed for special social groups (accessibility and other functional needs and particularities of Seniors);
To record and adopt best practices for using audio-visual assistance (through ICT) for facilitating Seniors’ participation;
To create side-products (e.g. video footage) that will promote nature conservation (thus providing a social motivation for participation) and the creation of similar products elsewhere.

Website: www.meetnature.eu

SORPMET: Sorption of metals by lows cost natural materials

Subject: Research on industrial wastewater treatment methods

Client: Consortium of private companies and institutes

Investment Category: Wastewater treatment

Project areas: Salamanca Spain

Project Details
The purification of water and pollution control already constitute a prominent part of any industrial policy. Heavy metals are a priority aim in this field and have been the motive of considerable effort of R&D in recent years.

Among the many aspects which together make up the environmental problem of these substances, there are two which are of particular significance in certain industrial sectors: the generally high costs of available purification systems (physico-chemical plants, ion exchange columns, washing in cascade, etc.) and the need to treat large volumes of effluents with contaminating elements found in low concentrations but which have a potentially accumulative or high toxicity effect.

The contaminating elements which were the object of the study are Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn. Cd was initially considered but has been discarded as an object of the study due to the gradual elimination of its use from the metal-finishing sector.

On the other hand, there is a wide range of natural minerals which are very abundant and relatively low cost, and which are well-known for their capacity to retain metallic ions through processes of sorption.

The objective of the project was to study the potential of a number of these minerals, namely: smectites, hormites, vermiculite, kaolinite, calcite, wollastonite and zeolites, which are available in the European Union, with a view to obtaining cheap, large capacity systems for the purification of industrial effluents contaminated by heavy metals.

The different prototypes constructed during the project cannot be categorized as commercial products. Further development will be required in order to optimize the industrial application of the results.

Environment
Our collaborators, assisted an existing metal finishing SME based in Athens to construct, operate and monitor a pilot filter installation to explore various possibilities of low-cost materials for the sorption of Ni and Cr. At that time all metal-bath effluents were disposed in the sewage system.

Competitiveness
Our collaborators participated as consultants in the preparation of the proposal to the EU, on behalf of the Greek SME, and they also had the technical and the financial management of the company’s activities in the project. The SME, with our support, managed to finance their plans for improving their production process.

Sustainability
With our continuous support, throughout the Project, the SME managed to improve their environmental footprint and created social value that could be disseminated to their local and regional audience, through their collective instruments as metal finishers.

Waste Mining: An interactive workshop

In March 22, 2015, two interactive seminars were delivered, during the Athens Science Festival 2015.

The 1st seminar was concluded and lasted 55 minutes. Active attendants: 25.

The 2nd seminar was partially concluded, but lasted only 45 minutes, owing to time and weather constraints. Active attendants: 30.

During the seminars, filming and photography took place, to document the interaction with (pre-notified) public.

The questions that drove the whole procedure are given in the following file (in Greek).

presentation athens-science-festival-2015

The main scope of the workshop was to familiarize the public with basic concepts of Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) in Greece, and with the innovative concept of Waste Mining, through procedures that deviate from the classic model of the speaker and are mostly based on participation, competition and internal reflections.

As an aside, a secondary scope is the understanding of the NIMBY (not in my back yard) phenomenon and of its socio-economic consequences.

The results and conclusions of the workshop are presented in the following Report (in Greek).

report athens-science-festival-2015

photo credits: VDouros 2015 – www.creativespro.com

Habitats and conservation

Habitat types are in essence a sub-system of ecosystems where one can find natural eco-topes bearing specific and discrete characteristics for plant communities and species. The habitat types are mapped in areas characterized as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), according to the European legislation framework.

The constant degradation of the natural habitat types, including the dangers that threat specific flora species are a primary concern for the European Union (EU), defining a common framework for their protection and conservation. In addition, some of them are defined as “priority habitats”, owing to extinction threats or constant deterioration conditions.

Given that the main measure of deterioration of a habitat type that is a valuable helper for the quantitative assessment of the magnitude of the impact of a project or activity in a Natura2000 area, concerns the occupation of the area, we at GREEN2SUSTAIN, have the ability and experience to assess the conservation status, which is the threshold limit for changing from “satisfactory” to “unsatisfactory” at the Member State level.

RECOVER: Industrial waste to materials

Industrial residues have long seized to be waste. They are secondary raw materials which must be used to produce marketable products which also provide environmental protection.

In one of our most recent presentations for RECOVER project, you can see how the European legal framework can be used to accelerate the uptake of materials based on metallurgical waste valorization.

For the presentation click this line

Groundwater: economic valuation of deterioration

Ground water degradation constitutes an issue of major importance in Greece and internationally. The crucial points of the problem can be summarized as follows:
i. Ground water is an important resource for humans. Especially in areas with geo-morphological peculiarities such as Greece and other Balkan countries, it is the main source of water supply for human use (as potable water, irrigation water and industry water).
ii. Ground water is a fundamental resource for the supply of fresh water ecosystems, whether river ecosystems (especially in basins with limited surface runoff), wetland ecosystems, or deltaic ecosystems.
iii. The role of ground water, but also its underground position (which makes it “invisible” to humans) lead to significant environmental pressures on it, usually associated with: disposal of waste water directly into aquifers; pollution of soil through disposal of solid waste and waste water; application of fertilizers and agrochemicals; interaction with contaminated surface water; and saltwater intrusion owing to over-exploitation in coastal areas.

These pressures cause effects which directly and indirectly affect the welfare of individuals, whether users of degraded ground water or not. These effects have social and economic impacts, which need to be investigated.

The social dimension of the impacts imposed by the deterioration of groundwater concerns:
– Lifestyle changes experienced by various groups of the affected population, and associated with increased risk to public health.
– Social exclusion, experienced by vulnerable population groups, which lack access to clean water.
– Stratification of society, which is separated into various social groups depending on their capabilities to adapt and combat the impacts.
– Diminishing of living standards, inter-linked to the broader environmental degradation, which occurs either as an indirect impact of the degradation of ground water , or as an induced impact of a more widely destructive behavior that devalues other environmental goods as well.
– Highlighting the wider social issue of ownership, utilisation and jurisdiction to protect ground water as an environmental good, as well as the social acceptability of the problems created by poor management, under the protection of the law or in violation of the law.

In parallel, the economic dimensions of groundwater degradation impacts are multifaceted and they involve the following:
i. At the individual level: the increase in the cost of satisfying basic daily needs related to the provision of drinking water and water of sufficient quantity and appropriate quality; and to the rising costs of health and living standards;
ii. At the social group level: the increase in the cost of entrepreneurship, through the increase in production costs for economic activities (e.g. industrial and farming activities);
iii. At the local community level: the increase in the cost of providing basic water services, but also reduction of income, owing to direct or indirect effects (increase of purchasing costs and loss of market confidence in local products, respectively);
iv. At the regional and national level: the creation of externalities owing to loss of ground water as an environmental asset of regional significance, the designation of rehabilitation issues and of distribution of the related economic costs, in comparison to the expected social and environmental benefit;
v. At the scientific level: the need to investigate the economic limits, beyond which the restoration of environmental damage is socially unacceptable or questionable, and the quest for ways of “painless coexistence” with the damage.

Consequently, the strong socioeconomic dimensions of the problem of ground water degradation, places society before issues relating to the welfare of individuals and groups directly, through lifestyle changes, and also indirectly, through degradation of the ecosystem, which is the living environment of humans.