Yet another award for the work of Anavra

On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, a day dedicated to the environment, Anavra Magnesia was honored once again to the persons of DIMITRIS CHR. TSOUKALAS, President of ANAVRA-ZO, former President of the Community of Anavra and initiator of all the work that has been done here, and his wife MACHI KARALI, Technical Director of the Community without fee all these years.

He was awarded with the "LIFETIME WORK 2012" award given in OIKOPOLIS Awards for Environmental Sensitivity of the Voluntary Organisation for the Urban Environment ECOCITY (

The awards OIKOPOLIS Environmental Sensitivity ( is an institution that was established in 2005 by the Voluntary Organisation for the Urban Environment ECOCITY. The aim of the awards is to recognize and reward the environmental sensitivity and the contribution of Scientists, Institutions, Local Authorities, Business and Media. The institution was enriched in 2006 with the award for lifetime work and the first person awarded was Niki Goulandri.

The ceremony took place at the House of Literature and Arts of the Onassis Foundation, a contemporary bioclimatic building in a great hall, one of the best available in Athens. The event was well organized, in a place with distinctive decoration. It was creatively directed, well presented and accompanied with songs by the choir of New Smyrne High School Lycée. It is worth noting that all the work has been coordinated by volunteers. Even the prize, which was a small sculpture made from recycled aluminium, work by a laboratory group of Technological Institute of West Macedonia.

Receiving the award, Ms. Machi Karalis said she believed the prize was not awarded "to the woman who is always behind a great man" (!) but to the person who has been a key partner in this effort without material reward and without having origin from this village. And even more to the scientist and teacher who believes that knowledge and experience has to be returned back and shared with the community, without ulterior motive and reward. She said: "The journey was not easy, it had many problems, obstacles and difficulties. What prompted us, however, to this project was the strong desire to offer where there was need. The message from this story is to offer wherever and in every way you can to your neighbour, your fellow citizens,-something that we need so much especially now in this very difficult time for Greece."

Mr. D. Ch. Tsoukalas, when replying, he said he feels great pleasure because he is honoured by volunteers with an award that has reference to the environment, but also because his wife and collaborator over the years is being honoured too. He stressed that: "We went in Anavra and worked as volunteers through a public operator. We were carrying as supplies as volunteers, our sensitivity to the environment, vision, interest and appetite for work, love and passion. We went to give and not to take back and we were placing the public interest above our personal benefit."

Then said the Anavra became known for two main reasons, the big growth (amongst the first places in Greece) but also for environmentally friendly projects (Wind Farm, Environmental Cultural Park, and two, small hydro-power and district heating in progress). Finally, after referring briefly to the work that has been done in Anavra, he concludes his brief speech with the following:

"It's true that I am glad that my village took this publicity thanks to the work that has been done there, but I feel disappointed that there are no other examples like Anavra although they should and could. Because Anavra, except from a place of prosperity in Greece is also an example that when you want you can achieve what we everybody sometimes considers impossible and impractical. You just need to have, apart from skills, vision, interest, desire, faith and love for what you do. And yet:

Be honest and hard-working

Do not aim at your personal benefit and in your personal advancement. Do not be concerned about the political cost.

Do not serve any party space but working for the welfare and benefit of all your fellow citizens and country

I am optimistic that Anavra leads the way. If Anavra was able to regenerate, the same can happen for Greece, as long as those who will elect in a few days have the will to solve the problem and are determinate to put the interests of our country above their personal and partisan interests."