On the 9th of May I participated to the Ecomaraton – Moeciu de Sus, in my first official mountain race. And, as usual, I carried along with me the Rights of Nature flag written in Romanian and which says: Nature is a living being! This marathon was also run by Marius Junoiu and Ilie Roşu, friends of Pachamama Romania.
After the first 3 km, somebody behind me asked in English what was the message conveyed by the flag . That’s how I met Dimitris Giorgious from Greece. I told him about the Pachamama mission, the project regarding Rights of Nature and the Gratitude Marathon in Roşia Montana. Dimitris is the marketing manager at Olympus Marathon and he came in Romania with a team of 40 Greeks. He told me about the four marathons he organizes in Greece, and about his friends who also organize marathons in areas that are endangered because of mining projects such as Mount Paiko, and the Souris area of Mount Kakavos, Halkidiki.
We kept in touch and we decided to work together because we’re supporting the same cause, namely, keeping the mountains of Europe intact.
And that’s how we decided to participate at the Mount Paiko Marathon, on November 2nd.
What was even more special was that the Greek team, led by Charalampos Makridis organized for us a presentation on the Rights of Nature, at the end of which they showed a documentary about Rosia Montana –Valva Neagra – The Black Spirit. Lilian Dogiama, a PhD student in Archaeology translated the material from English to Greek language.
THE PRESENTATION “RIGHTS OF NATURE AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES”
During the presentation we focused on the idea of sustainable community – a self-governed, self-supported community living in harmony with the environment.
Another important point envisaged the fact that the CHANGE IS UP TO US, and that each person should take initiative and be proactive. We need to bring our passion for the community’s benefit, and to get involved in social issues we’d like to see solved. The public was very open and receptive and congratulated us for our programs, and also praised Romania for the resistance movement, for Rosia Montana.
And it was exciting to see in the “Rosia Montana – Valva Neagra – The Black Spirit” documentary friends from Rosia Montana who helped us organize the marathon: Calin Capros and Sorin Jurca.
PAIKO MOUNTAIN HALF MARATHON
The Marathon was held on Sunday.
I carried the Rights of Nature flag – Nature Is a Living Being, Say Yes to Rights of Naturein my first half-marathon mountain race. Ilie Rosu ran for the sixth time with the flags of Romania and Greece together. He also wore the Rights of Nature message engraved in Romanian and English on two other flags.
The Pachamama message to Paiko Half Marathon was:
FOR THE LOVE OF GREECE AND ITS HISTORY SAY YES TO THE RIGHTS OF NATURE CAUSE NATURE IS A LIVING BEING!
I ran together with Dimitris Georgiuo, Stylianos Kayafa and Stavros Alexoglou. At the end, Stavros, knowing that I was going to visit on Monday the Halkidiki area, told me:
“Take care when you see the endless destruction, I was runnig and crying at the same time there…”
This race was a sacrifice on the part of the 300 competitors to keep the waters of Greece clean for the future generations. It is healing to be able to spend more than five hours in the woods … time stops, the mind does not go into the past nor the future, and I managed to connect with this magic and joy of living in harmony with nature!
So it was a race at a meditative pace in which we were able to take photos and discuss the problems faced by Greece.
The end of the race was impressive. Ilie Rosu who finished the marathon after 3 hours, greeted us 3 km from the finish line with 4 flags, and each of us started running holding a flag. We were five messengers with five flags: one of Romania, one with the Rights of Nature message written in Romanian, and two flags with the Rights of Nature message in English.
= Final picture with Ilie Roşu after 21 km of mountain running at Paiko, in Greece, for a salamander! The Salamander is the symbol of Mount Paiko; its role is to save the area from future mining plans.
After the event we concluded that we were given a lesson of friendship from our hosts in Goumenissa. We graded an 10/A for the organizing effort and for the way we felt welcomed. We felt better than we usually feel at home! Thank you!
Monday we visited the area Skouries – Mount Kalava
“The Forests and the land in Megali Panagia are being violated!” These were the words of Mariana Papagia during the Halikidiki tour. The Canadian company EL DORADO began the exploration and exploitation of gold without even having a legal permit, and above all, without the approval of the local people. The population from Megali Panagia who opposed the project was beaten by the police. We were told that this case of physical abuse from the authorities is not isolated in Greece. There are many other areas that share the same tragic fate. Hearing that, I felt pain in my stomach, and I realized that I am not fully aware of the atrocities we perpetrate upon Mother Earth. I had idealized the Greek society and the life of the Greeks living in the islands, when actually the problems the locals are facing may be even worse than those of the Romanian people. However, what gives me hope is that there are people like Marianna and Nikos who took a stand and defend their territory in order for the younger generations to have a future. Nikos organized two editions of a 25 km mountain race for the protection of nature called KSESKIOURIAZO. This competition takes place in the first weekend in October. That’s exactly what Pachamama Romania with Ilie Rosu and Club EcoAlpin did at Rosia Montana. It is good to know we are not alone in this fight – a STAND FOR FREEDOM!
Pachamama MAGIC – UNEXPECTED RESULTS.
Magic was happened again after our presentation in Greece: Lilian Dogiama will become the representative of Greece in the project THE EUROPEAN CITIZEN INTIATIVE FOR RIGHTS OF NATURE and this is a step in the right direction for a sustainable future in Greece (Greece had no representative in this project).
Secondly, we started a partnership with Nikos Sotnok and next year we will have a group of Greeks coming to run in Rosia Montana and participate in the marathon and half-marathon races. And the Pachamama Romania team will go to Megali Panagia to run the KSESKIOURIAZO marathon..
I saw many social and environmental problems in Greece. But Duke Ellington said: “A problem is a chance for you to do your best!” So the final question that I leave you with: How should the Greek people do in order to inspire us? What can the Greeks do in order to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually fulfilling future?”