Udruga Održivi otok - Sustainable Island

Published in Highlights

A splendid initiative to promote Hvar Island and raise the standards of environmental care.

Founded by Irena Dorić and registered in March 2014, the Udruga Održivi otok (Sustainable Island Association) has achieved much in the short time that the Association has been in operation.

There have been successful forays to clear and restore old paths, including the path from Jelsa's Church of Our Lady of Health (Gospa Zdravlja) up to the remains of the Illyrian fort (Tor). This was especially needed, because the new road extension, opened on 17th February 2015, had cut off the old route. Now the new route starts from further east, that is from just behind the rear of the right side of the church instead of the front, and involves crossing the main road. Eco Hvar hopes that a pedestrian crossing of some kind may be introduced to provide a measure of safety. Is that wishful thinking? Do we have visions of flying pigs? Sadly, none of the road improvements to date has included provision for pedestrians or cyclists.

 
The Association is successfully motivating young people to learn about saving their environment, by engaging them in direct action to preserve the wealth and beauty around them. At the same time it is teaching them to enjoy the unique amenities available to them on this, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
odrzivi otok za mlade 
A highlight of 2015 was the highly successful Ethno Hvar Festival held in the picturesque and much-loved 'etno-eko' village of Humac on June 20th, shortly before the feast of Ss. John and Paul, two brothers martyred in Roman times, who are patron saints of the village.

The event was organized by 'Održivi otok' in collaboration with the Jelsa Tourist Office, and two other charitable associations, 'Humac' and 'Trim'. It was multi-faceted, and aimed to attract both foreign visitors and locals. Its attractive advertising poster gave details in English as well as Croatian - something of a rarity, as all too often events which tourists might enjoy are advertised in Croatian only, even in the height of the tourist season. The festival Facebook page exhorted visitors to 'come in long sleeves and bring plenty of goodwill'. June days, of course, are generally very hot, but the evenings can get cool once the sun goes down, so it was good practical advice for the inexperienced.

humac fest irene ivog 
The little Humac museum was on show, with its charming collection of old equipment and implements used for the laborious farming practices in the times when Humac was a dormitory village serving the landowners from Vrisnik. It was populated only when the fields needed tending and during the olive and grape harvests. Being quite a distance from Vrisnik, families would trek over on foot, mule, donkey or horse, and stay over until the work was done. All of that was within living memory. The work was arduous - no-one could accuse Dalmatians of being lazy in those days.

At the Ethno Hvar Festival there were stands selling locally produced goods, including herb liqueurs, dried herbs, jams, lavender oil, as well as sweet treats, including the firm favourite of crystallized bitter orange rinds. The latter sold briskly as sustenance for the walk to the Grapčeva cave. Dalmatians, and probably most Croatians, believe that no journey, however short, can be undertaken without some food to eat on the way, Heaven forfend that one might run out of energy!

humac fest stand kids

There was also a stand where people could sign the petition opposing the proposed drilling for oil and gas in the Adriatic, and a pleasing number of people who had not already done so added their names to the list. To read about the petition in Croatian, click here.

Beautifully arranged around the walls of the stone houses were some highly attractive, fine quality paintings by local artists Pjero Grgičević and Antun Tonči Carić.

The start of the formal proceedings was delayed, as the main guest of the evening, Stipe Božić, had managed to get on the wrong boat from the mainland, despite being a renowned traveller, travel writer, film-maker and alpinist!

Once things were underway, after Jelsa's Mayor Nikša Peronja had given his speech of welcome, there was just time for the visit to the Grapčeva Cave, the oldest Neolithic site on Hvar, before dusk fell. A large band of all age groups set off with enthusiasm, most of them carrying their vital supplies of water and, as mentioned, foodstuffs. On the way they visited Humac's newly opened distillery for etheric oils.

The path to the cave has been much improved over the years, but parts of it are still quite tricky to negotiate, and the entrance to the cave is very low and restricted. The group displayed admirable fortitude, and returned in good spirits, their appetites fully ready for the abundant feast of local specialities which awaited them.

A very popular contributor to the proceedings was Radovan Marčić, one of Croatia's leading gastronomic luminaries, well-known as a juror on the Croatian TV Master Chef series.

Among the guests were some distinguished politicians, including the Mayor of Stari Grad, Vinko Maroević and former Split-Dalmatia County leader Kruno Peronja, who were made welcome by Jelsa's Mayor Nikša Peronja.

One of the guests was Green Euro-MP Davor Škrlec of the ORaH party (Održivi razvoj Hrvatske), who congratulated the event organizers, mentioning how well they had used the EU pre-accession funds available for preserving historical villages like Humac. He was on hand during the event with Adela Duboković, answering individual questions and discussing environmental issues with all comers. Following on from his participation in the Humac Etno Hvar Festival, Davor Škrlec invited a group from 'Održivi otok' to Brussels in October 2015 to visit the European Parliament.

As dusk fell, the Vrisnik singers entertained the audience with beautiful Dalmatian harmony singing, after which Stipe Božić gave a presentation of his book and documentary film, titled "Ja, Mate svjetski". The speeches and presentation were in Croatian, but the event was rich enough in content for non-Croatian speakers to have enough to enjoy. Without question, a good time was had by all, and the organizers and participants were fully deserving of the highest praise.

'Održivi otok ' has many plans for the future, including collaborating on a major project to re-plant Hvar with the European black pine trees which are special to Dalmatian islands. The vision is not restricted to Hvar, Dalmatia or Croatia alone, but extends to international collaboration with like-minded organizations. In the immediate future Irena and her colleagues are setting up an office in Jelsa, in order to serve as an information centre for individuals and organizations with similar aims. The Association's current aims and needs are set out in an end-of-year newsletter in Croatian, with an application form for membership of the Association. Eco Hvar is looking forward to collaborating with this dynamic new force for improving our environment.

© Vivian Grisogono 2015

Footnote: Stipe Božić was interviewed recently for Dalmacija News (December 12th 2015) - article in Croatian 

 

Media

You are here: Home highlights Udruga Održivi otok - Sustainable Island

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’

    The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

    The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.

    Continue reading...

  • A plan to halve carbon emissions every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years, provides a simple but rigorous roadmap to tackle climate change, scientists say

    A new “carbon law”, modelled on Moore’s law in computing, has been proposed as a roadmap for beating climate change. It sees carbon emissions halving every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years.

    The carbon law’s proponents are senior climate-change scientists and they argue it provides a simple, broad but quantitative plan that could drive governments and businesses to make urgently needed carbon cuts, particularly at a time when global warming is falling off the global political agenda.

    Continue reading...

  • Roll clouds and wave-like asperitas are among the additions to the new digital International Cloud Atlas, that dates back to the 19th century. It features hundreds of images captured by meteorologists and cloud lovers from around the world

    Continue reading...

  • Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather

    The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions.

    The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa.

    Continue reading...

  • Massive fine reflects change in sentencing as previously low penalties failed to deter water firms from polluting England’s rivers and beaches

    Thames Water has been hit with a record fine of £20.3m after huge leaks of untreated sewage into the Thames and its tributaries and on to land, including the popular Thames path. The prolonged leaks led to serious impacts on residents, farmers, and wildlife, killing birds and fish.

    The fine imposed on Wednesday was for numerous offences in 2013 and 2014 at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore.

    Continue reading...

  • Birdwatchers ‘elated’ after snapping photo of the endangered species in state’s arid interior in discovery that could significantly impact on mining developments

    A night parrot has been photographed in Western Australia, adding another twist to the mysterious history of the species that was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in Queensland four years ago.

    It is the first verified sighting of the bird in WA for almost 100 years and follows a history of unverified sightings, disbelieved reports and futile ecological surveys that rivals the hunt for the (presumably still) extinct Thylacine in Tasmania.

    Continue reading...

  • Anne says she would farm GM food and GM livestock a ‘bonus’, while Charles says GM crops will cause ‘biggest disaster environmentally of all time’

    Princess Anne has strongly backed genetically modified crops, saying she would grow them on her own land and that GM livestock would be a “bonus”.

    Her stance puts her sharply at odds with her brother Prince Charles, who has long opposed GM food and has said it will cause the “biggest disaster environmentally of all time”.

    Continue reading...

  • In the first in a series, Yale Environment 360 reports from Honduras where Berta Cáceres fought to protect native lands and paid for it with her life – one of hundreds of victims in this disturbing global trend

    They came for her late one evening last March, as Berta Cáceres prepared for bed. A heavy boot broke the back door of the safe house she had just moved into. Her colleague and family friend, Gustavo Castro, heard her shout, “Who’s there?” Then came a series of shots. He survived. But the most famous and fearless social and environmental activist in Honduras died instantly. She was 44 years old. It was a cold-blooded political assassination.

    Berta Cáceres knew she was likely to be killed. Everybody knew. She had told her daughter Laura to prepare for life without her. The citation for her prestigious Goldman Environmental prize, awarded in the US less than a year before, noted the continued death threats, before adding: “Her murder would not surprise her colleagues, who keep a eulogy – but hope to never have to use it.”

    Continue reading...

  • Vibrant vegetation in a Venezuelan lake, Saharan dust in snowy Sierra Nevada, cloud vortices in South Korea, a vast solar farm in China, and a lone ship in the Atlantic are among our satellite images this month

    Every so often, a vibrant green colour infuses the waters of Lake Maracaibo. Floating vegetation – likely duckweed – was swirling in the Venezuelan lake when Nasa’s Aqua satellite flew over in February 2017. Most of the time, Maracaibo’s waters are stratified into layers, with nutrient-rich, cooler, saltier water at the bottom, and a warmer, fresher layer near the surface. But after heavy rains, the layers can mix and make the lake an ideal habitat for plant growth. A narrow strait roughly 6km (4 miles) wide and 40 km (25 miles) long connects the lake to the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea. The influx of saltwater through the strait makes Maracaibo an estuarine lake. This mixing causes the water currents responsible for the concentric swirl pattern, according to Lawrence Kiage, a professor of geoscience at Georgia State University.

    Continue reading...

  • Green groups’ report says move to cleaner energy in China and India is discouraging the building of coal-fired units

    The amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall.

    The dramatic decline in new coal-fired units was overwhelmingly due to policy shifts in China and India and subsequent declining investment prospects, according to a report by Greenpeace, the US-based Sierra Club and research network CoalSwarm.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds