Why protect mountain areas?
Because every year it becomes more strongly evident that the mountain regions of Greece and the world are essential to human life:
Water, food, energy is the most important naturally available, by which mountains “feed” life on the planet. 80% of world reserves of drinking water, located in the mountains. Meanwhile, the mountains are important cradles of natural wealth, and is particularly rich in biodiversity in forest and mineral reserves and also provide high quality local products.
Furthermore, the inaccessible mountains have developed indigenous local cultures, harmoniously adapted to unique local virgin natural environment, survival techniques and practices which are a valuable traditional knowledge and folk wisdom stock for future generations.
The primordial importance of the mountains for human life is at once economic, political, social, environmental and cultural. However, the mountains and their populations are threatened by a series of risks, both environmental and social ..
The Greece along with Austria being the mountainous countries of the European Union. The mountain communities of Greece occupy 77.9% of its total area, and according to the census of 20011, the percentage of mountainous and semi-mountainous municipalities reaches the 61.6% and their area accounts for 71.3% of the country.
Globally, mountains cover 1/5 of the Earth’s surface. In the mountains lives about 10-12% of the world population, while more than half the world’s population is subject, directly or indirectly, its survival, the mountains.
Climate change, deforestation of woodlands, desertification, natural disasters, sucking the mountainous wealth, the degradation of mountain ecosystems and the loss of mountain biodiversity, the depopulation of most mountain regions, the fact that the mountain populations are among the poorest country, one-dimensional tourist overexploitation other, deficiencies in basic social and technical infrastructure and the gradual disappearance of local cultures is only brief, the risks that threaten daily mountain regions of the world or are their fate.
Despite the enormous importance and relevance of the problems facing mountain areas for the first time coming to the forefront of global discussions, until 1992, in the Rio5 Summit.
Since then, there have been important steps towards the protection and “sustainable” development of the mountains, but without positive results, to the extent that the core of his alleged ‘sustainable’ or ‘sustainable’ growth is competitiveness, entrepreneurship, innovation and flexible forms of work, in other words, objectives – actions that objective and especially for multidimensional vulnerable mountain regions, may not, under conditions of lawlessness of markets to support integrated (simultaneously economic, social, political, cultural and technological) development, which would be worth living by their inhabitants.
Themselves residents of mountain regions, which are an integral part of the natural and cultural environment, should be the driving force of this integrated development, and not potential “investors” who behave as owners, masters or exploiters