Café-NEO: Raising Awareness for a More Sustainable World

This month, the Navarino Environmental Observatory at Costa Navarino introduces a series of public events, with a discussion about the environment and predictions for impending climate change.

By Giorgos Lialios

What is the difference between weather and climate? How is climate change already affecting our daily lives and how can we build resilient societies and cities? Is there anything we can do to stop the climate crisis? These questions are increasingly concerning public opinion, as signs of the climate crisis become more prevalent in our country.

This is why climate change was chosen by the Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO) as the first topic in a series of open discussions with distinguished scientists, aiming to inform and raise public awareness on environmental issues, held for the first time in Athens.

The “café-NEO” meetings will be hosted at IANOS and begin this Wednesday, 21 February at 18:00, with the first guest speaker being Dr. Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Director at the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development of the National Observatory of Athens, discussing the topic “Climate Change in a World in Crisis.” In a simple and comprehensible manner, through dialogue and the exchange of opinions, the discussion will focus on understanding what climate change means for all of us, and its unprecedented impacts on our planet, as well as locally. Moreover, what is expected to happen in the coming years regarding heat waves, floods, wildfires and other extreme weather events will also be addressed.

“We will speak through examples and facts. Some of these we currently experience, some we do not perceive. This is not a scientific seminar but an open event in which discussion and questions from participants, from the simplest to the most substantial, will play a significant role,” explains Dr. Gerasopoulos. “The goal of the event is to talk about climate change and the climate crisis, to understand the limits of science, and to realize what we need to do as citizens, societies, and states. Everyone’s participation in this struggle is significant. Today, we all understand why we should not leave the tap open when taking a bath or why we should not litter in the sea. Accordingly, we should adjust our daily lives for climate change. We are at a turning point where understanding the phenomenon and decision-making are both necessary.”

It’s noteworthy that Dr. Gerasopoulos was recently chosen as the sole Greek expert for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) panel, focusing on “Climate Change and Cities.” Beyond being listed among Greece’s recommended candidates, Dr. Gerasopoulos was further endorsed by the Intergovernmental Organization for Earth Observation (GEO – Group on Earth Observations). His nomination was not only due to his expertise, but also because he serves as one of the three co-chairs of the organization’s program board.

Collaborating for a sustainable future

NEO is the result of a collaboration between TEMES, Stockholm University and the Academy of Athens. Founded in 2009 and housed within Costa Navarino, it represents an exemplary collaboration between the academic and private sectors, aiming at research and education on climate change and the environment in the Eastern Mediterranean. Since its founding, the observatory has evolved into a dynamic center for contemporary research, establishing meteorological and climatological monitoring stations around the Messinia region. A characteristic feature is that the NEO station in Messinia hosts approximately 250 students and researchers from academic institutions in Greece and abroad every year, while its research work includes more than 200 publications in reputable scientific journals and conferences.

Through the actions taken by NEO, science, businesses, society and the Greek state are able to productively participate in an international collaboration for a more sustainable future.