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Dimitris (Δημήτρης) is the Modern Greek form of the older forms Demetrios, Dimitrios (Δημήτριος, usually Latinized as Demetrius) and may refer to:

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  • TEDxAcademy - Dimitris Tsoukalas


I've be asked to shorten my talk, so I'll try in the short time I have to describe a few things and I'll try to help you relax a little and to transfer you, after all these interesting talks, into a relaxed state, this being the last talk. so that you can rest let's move to central Greece, to a mountain village to Anavra Almirou, in Magnisia a village which is devoted exclusively to raising livestock a village where everybody is a shepherd everyone works with livestock which is in fact free range, with free range animal husbandry a village which I would say, a few years ago if it continued as it was, would have ceased to exist So I'm going to talk about the public sector, public administration and I'd like my voice to be heard a little since we heard the chairman Mr Bakouris speak a little while ago about all the terrible things that happen in public administration however, I don't belong to that category of people who administer public sector bodies I'm not "shady" in other words allow me to use that term How was Anavra then and how is it today Anavra today is a village of over 600 inhabitants when I went there, there were 300 it's a village that was isolated from surrounding urban areas 44km from Lamia, 83km from Volos Anavra belongs to the Magnisia prefecture, high up in the mountains of Othry Today, the population of 300 has surpassed 500 This is something rare, a phenomenon for the Greek reality that an isolated village is increasing its population I think you'll all be interested to hear about it and I'm going to use all the time at my disposal to tell you about it So, what's this village like today We have ZERO unemployment, which is rare for Greece ZERO criminality We have some very nice schools We have infrastructure projects completed and in process We've been involved with sustainable development We've done many Green Development projects So, I'll tell you about all of these very briefly let me start however with.. In what condition we found this community?. The community was a neglected village with structures made of wood and corrugated iron The villagers had created this ad hoc situation Without running water, no plumbing network Water ran along the makeshift furrows and children drank from there without an internal road network, without a connection to the rest of Magnisia apart from an non-existent dirt road, so we were forced to go via Lamia Those who know how to get there understand that it 's not a direct route A truly desperate situation. And in these conditions 300 shepherds, 300 locals lived with 30 thousand animals all within the village! Shepherds up above, animals down below. Families down here, animals right next to them Nothing could move. A poor village that if it continued like this it would certainly die. At that point, because it's my village too and because I loved it and felt for it I took the lead and moved from Athens I lived in Athens and together with some friends without support from political parties, without anything we went to help, we declared candidacy, we were elected, the shepherds hardly believed what happened they elected us, we got elected I should say and it has importance at this point Nobody supported me, not even my relatives - I was an outsider, that's what they say in the rural areas Someone who doesn't live there is considered an outsider, a foreigner So, I went. And here, another point about reliability and trustworthiness.. which was referred to by other speakers too The things that you say you'll do, you absolutely must do. Both I and my associates. We did all the things we said we would do! And very quickly, we gained their trust Does anyone have faith in the two main political parties today? Does anyone trust the parliamentarians? Both the previous ones and the current ones. Nobody, because they're untrustworthy, they made promises but didn't deliver We applied another development model We said we'll do 1,2,3 things - we did thirteen . So within our first term we gained a lot of trust from the villagers and they gave us the ability to do more development works which had both political cost and many other town councils in Greece have been unable to do as yet the first thing I want to tell you about though.. our most serious problem was getting the animals out of the village to open up the village how else could we do more works to change the quality of life for the people we sat down, we had vision, we had zeal, we wanted to offer We never asked "What's in it for us?" So we prioritised things and got to work. We had two competitive advantages in Anavra That's how each mayor should approach things Anavra doesn't have a port or access to the sea It has two advantages: livestock which comprises our main economic activity and the main element to Anavra you should know that today, Anavra is one of the biggest rural economic centres if not the biggest each family brings in between 30 and 150 thousand Euro per year an average of 60 thousand Euro per family That's why I talk about the largest rural economy So how did this happen? but first let me tell you how we got rid of the animals, 30 thousand animals we got elected, we prioritised the problems and we thought "let's first work on the husbandry issues" we had justification to move them out we could have applied laws etc. but we didn't do that because a village with few people would have no value we needed the shepherds to stay and the youth to stay and for more people to settle, and we achieved that we established three "husbandry zones" at some distance from the village we charged 120Euro for 4 acre plots, so they could move so they could move their stock so they could build modern breeding facilities we did it, and very quickly I might add Within one year after 23 open meetings all breeders, all animals, 30thousand animals which comprised 5000 cows, when they give birth they become 8 15 thousand sheep and 5 thousand pigs that was the livestock of Anavra which comprised 25% of the livestock of Magnisia they all moved there, that was for the livestock - following that I'm being brief so we can get it all in we were able to get them to undertake free range organic breeding it wasn't our job as the village administrators to do this we did it however, so that we could help them so after consultations, we convinced them to move to organic farming and so they had an increase in income too they built more units, so they rested and had more income. They also claimed the normal subsidies, the rare livestock subsidies etc. So we did what we promised regarding the livestock and we also added a modern slaughterhouse a small mountainous community, built a modern slaughterhouse that has remained open since 2000 until today it's remained open it has certifications for HACCP, ISO, Organic production line and an EU code in all Magnisia, only Anavra's slaughterhouse remains and its a significant tool. So we're done with the livestock. The peoples lives have changed for the better. Let's see what else we had to do.. I told you that we had two competitive advantages in Anavra Livestock and the environment whatever we did, we did with respect to the environment we believed, and I believe personally that there can be development while respecting the environment I not one of those people, I was involved, I had ecological sensitivities, that said "we can't do anything because of the environment" Some things just had to happen. Livestock was dealt with. Other sectors: We had to work on the village itself the road links with other areas, modern roads with road signs, everything internal roads, we had to build a parking lot in the center of the village 2 floors of parking and a community hall above it We wanted to build 2 halls, one like this one, one for 100 people and one for 300 so that we could have meetings, being fully equipped with projectors, with everything Furthermore, we built village squares with water points, fountains and we made many transformations in the village to make the village more appealing because that was missing from Anavra let me continue I'd like to make a point here that all these things I told you about and am about to tell you were done in the majority, by 3 people besides myself, by a single council employee who I found there when I was elected, and Mr Bakouris, she was very able.. she worked hard, she offered everything, all the secretarial support.. all these years she did all this alone, on her own. so a single secretary, myself, and the third person was my wife who was a lecturer in Architecture at the Athens Polytechnic, she would help us without compensation, for free the council would take up her services every term without compensation, she worked voluntarily she did all the architectural planning that were required, and she supervised all the works besides the companionship she provided to me personally. So the three people So... Let's continue, we wont take too long. we spoke about infrastructure. let's not forget to mention a citizens service center (KEP) Anavra has all the services required and would make even a large . rural town envious Schools. We didn't have schools, we needed classrooms the children attended classes next to my office can you imagine having small children next to you office? I had no real office, they had lessons right next to me with architectural plans provided free to the community who were done by Mahi Karali, who is also my wife we built two modern classrooms we did more though, because the teachers, during winter from Larissa and Volos with snow, our community is at 1000m altitude, the teachers couldn't commute, we built houses for the teachers in the village so in addition, they don't pay for things such as water, electricity, telephone, rent so we have teachers present all the time, in the village. That's how a village has to operate, there is no other way to solve problems everything has a solution anything can be achieved, so two classrooms this year we're going digital This year we're adding interactive whiteboards. yes, that's it Let's talk about healthcare, we had no medical center. We made a rural medical center, everything's possible I'm driven by a positiveness and I'm expressing it as best I can after all these years in such a short talk We declared the medical center a rural one which means a doctor which means a doctor in Anavra gets a 75% increase in salary so that's one incentive - the 2nd incentive, we built a medical center and a doctors house so that he too stays in Anavra and doesn't leave I said I'd help you relax. I even change the style of my talk The doctor is permanently in Anavra, he leaves on some weekends We now have one from Evia, he's married and asks to leave on some weekends so we say, "Sure that might happen too." of course, we now do preventative medicine.. at regular intervals for the citizens of the village, even dental - everything we are part of the program "help at home" for the aged, even that's in operation in Anavra apart from these things with regard to health. we had built a landfill site in Anavra but now use a facility Almyro since policies changed we had a small village lastly, I want to mention and truly, I don't know if some do, I'm astonished and for myself, I didn't think I'd ever manage it. It's completed. for those elderly that remain in Anavra and have no children, where will they go? We bought a modern building and with plans we made, we're building a modern old age home a modern "Hilton" it will have rooms like the Hilton and the intercontinental I still have four minutes. Sports, sports. Two football fields of Olympic standards with grass we too have a football team in the 1st division . . the shepherds are full of pride you should see the shepherds now that we have free internet in the village. They return from tending their sheep, turn on their laptops its a great sight! So, no-one's leaving. Look! No-one's leaving. I still have three minutes left . look, no-one's leaving. I still have three minutes left . so that's sport. Let's talk about culture and we'll close with sustainable development which I think is worth listening to because besides the rest, we managed to undertake sustainable development and how many have tried .. many can try .. so that not only mayors and community leaders do they should deal with some other things let me say something else too .. which just came to me other mayors shouldn't complain that there's no money except for now, we're not talking about this year which is a year of crisis, where we've been bled dry, truly dry we're talking about before, there was money, there was always money there's no excuse to say there's no money let me tell you something simple. When we're elected, there are two pots of money one from national resources which is assigned to your council for administration for studies, planning, works and anything else necessary and there's another pot called EU development programme funds now that our term is ending in a few months the pot of money we had - that said .. Anavra is due 4million, Almyros 5million, Volos is due 6 or 7, whatever Nobody has consumed all the funds except for Anavra. So why are some mayors complaining, that there is no money. I believe that we should always demand from the central authority the authorities are always anti-labour, by definition we should fight, but my fellow mayors shouldn't complain that there is no money instead working their butts. Forgive me. And work hard and get funding from the authorities - I'm putting it very plainly So, I'm finishing; I have one minute and now culture very quickly for one minute. What did we do for culture? we built a modern, cultural museum showing agricultural life which even a large city would be envious of we published maps of the village and surrounding areas we published the history of our village and in the park, which I'll describe shortly we have an information point which we aspire to connect to all the museums of the world where we can exchange information about water usage, agriculture and the environment which interests us. And last of all to sustainable development as you've seen we took advantage of the comparative advantages our are had, livestock and environment Green development, our first project, what did we have? when I talk about environment, I mean wind, water, nature etc A wind farm. We were one of the first. We had gained the villagers trust since the first 4 year term I delivered what I had promised, and more.. and they gave me the ability to do more. Unbelievable things. . A wind farm With out any public outcry whatsoever In an agricultural village, in a mountainous area which might have spurred a storm of public outcry if it had happened elsewhere We built the first wind farm in Thessaly at 1650m altitude, 17MWatt 13000 households could be supplied with electricity under ideal conditions the community has an income from this, jobs have been created but the community of Anavra has zero unemployment we use electricians from other regions we haven't got any in our area as yet we have another two wind farms under construction so we'll have a total of three, and I want to say this here that the citizens, the inhabitants of Anavra will not pay for any electricity within 2 years with the latest laws, one third of the income from a wind farm goes back to the local council They won't pay for parking, they won't pay to use the indoor gym, which I didn't refer to we even have an indoor gymnasium and they also won't pay for heating with the next project I'm about to tell you about they'll pay only 30% of the original cost So firstly, wind farms, anti-pollution in the atmosphere amongst others secondly, one of the nicest environmental, cultural parks We have the environmental / cultural park of Goura it has a website you should see it, what can I show you? So, this park is being extended with resources from Anavra hence the name Anavra it has a span of 2km, it's a fenced in area it has watermills within it, that's one reason we call it a cultural park too on the other hand, we call it environmental because it has a landscape of remarkable physical beauty we have many schools from all over Greece that come and visit it has an information centre there are childrens playgrounds and paths for the disabled and more. All this can bring income to the community This was done by a team headed by my wife a museum curator, an archaeologist, and engineer, a forestry specialist an architect - etc. this was the second sustainable development project I should say that all the villagers are employed in green projects the farmers and herdsmen were in the mountains in nature, they just didn't know they didn't know the value of nature So, the third project, a small hydro-electric plant - it's been put out to tender as phase one and is almost complete, so we've covered wind, and water power the environment, and under construction an innovative project, pioneering, unique in Greece, distributed heating. A few more words and I'm ending, I think you're listening, nobody's leaving. So, what is distributed heating it's heating from a distance, In Greece from Kozani, Ptolemaidia where there's lignite and fuel oil, which unfortunately are pollutants there's a lot of pollution With designs from the Western Macedonian technical university we're installing a central boiler on the outskirts of the village a huge steam boiler which is fuelled by biomass, composed of animal waste which used to pollute our streams, we thought, we have two options, we either make compost ,which we didn't or teleheating, so we collect the waste all the animal faeces as well as dead branches from trees which also inhibit development of forests because of fungi it's only the leaves that are useful and provide coolness and trees grow So, tree branches and animal waste are processed into biomass, a combustible substance the boiler generates steam, which is distributed through the village and all houses are connected to the heating network, the whole of Anavra all homes, all winter 24hrs a day hot water and heating it will cost villagers 70% less than what they were originally paying, and if I'd remained as mayor we'd give that to them for free too. But it's my last term I've not declared candidacy this time the people of Anavra have many good things. And I'll end off with the question that Pangalos put to me last year when I was given an award for social contribution and he asked me to describe in a few words, "What the secret is" There's no secret - it's obvious Some people elected me, and whoever's elected is elected to work hard, to resolve problems, as many as possible The abilities and skills of the people elected, is the responsibility of all who voted. We should elect worthy candidates those that are capable he asked me, "Tell us what abilities they should have" I remember, I answered as such "He who is elected should not desire personal gain" and you all understand what I man by that - I mean they shouldn't be "shady" "Secondly, he shouldn't be seeking the glory of the mayor's chair and to his own advancement he should go elsewhere" and thirdly that from the moment of election I wasn't supported by any political party we were a group of friends, with zeal, appetite and care and look at all these. From the moment someone is elected as mayor, they should concern themselves with duties and problems of their locality and shouldn't serve any other interests or political space. Those are the points, I think that an elected mayor should have. So, we're talking about a village that has many advantages the people live well, with a high income and the overall conclusion, I would say, is this: Everything is possible, nothing is impossible. Thank you

See also

This page was last edited on 4 April 2021, at 08:19
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