An online greening community

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"PART dreamer, part practical community builder, Yiorgos Detsis (photo) is the mastermind behind, a specialised eco-portal spreading the word of what could well be the eco-friendliest revolution this country has ever seen.

Apart from cataloguing a good number of local green-roof professionals, it offers interested parties all manner of useful information from owner testimonies to discussion forums that will bring you one step closer to making your life a better place.

“The main reason I started this website was to collect and catalogue the little available information that was floating around,” says Detsis, a web designer by profession. Although his vocation of choice made the undertaking a whole lot easier, it didn’t bring him any closer to supplementing his income.

Apparently, that was never the point. “I started green roofs about 2½ years ago, right after the devastating summer fires in the Peloponnese. It was a product of a very agonising time that had suddenly turned everyone into an expert. My idea was to do something other than speechifying,” he says of his pet project. “It has nothing to do with turning a profit - it’s just an effort to unite people in the green-roof industry in this one portal where they can get to know each other and get their message across.”

The online community already counts 1,500 registered members - not counting individual visitor traffic - while their Facebook pages host another 5,000 in total. Still, public green roofs are very few and far apart. There’s one on the finance ministry, one on the Megaron Music Hall, one on the ISAP (Athens-Piraeus electric railway) building and some on municipality of Athens and municipality of Elefsina properties.

Keeping tabs on urban green roofs is no easy feat, especially as most of them belong to private citizens with no interest in disclosing information of their whereabouts.

Which is exactly why Detsis had suggested the idea be implement on kiosk and public bus stop roofs. “The thinking behind it was the following: greening a roof is no small cost - we’re talking thousands of euros here. Isn’t it a shame for all this money to be spent without anyone seeing the outcome? Even the green roofs we know exist still feel very distant. So in order to make common people feel more connected to the idea of green roofs they need to have them close at hand.

That’s why I suggested kiosks and bus stop roofs. The only way to get people to really covet a green roof is to actually see one. It’s not about the environment, it’s about your quality of life. Why blow money on a very expensive couch or a car when you can treat yourself to a green roof instead?”

ATHENS NEWS 07/06/2010, page: 18-19