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Who they are

AKTI Project and Research Centre were established in Nicosia, Cyprus in 2000 by a group of experts in environmental issues. Over the last 20 years, AKTI has become one of the most respected environmental non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations on the island and has created an extensive network of collaborators and volunteers, across Europe and the world, for raising environmental awareness and promoting sustainable development.

AKTI’s activities span four main areas:

•  Applied environmental research

•  Environmental education and vocational training

•  Integrated coastal zone management

•  Public outreach and advocacy

Civil engagement to make a difference: #potavristou Campaign

AKTI wanted to raise awareness to the Cypriots and motivate them into taking actions that make a difference!  “#potavristou” campaign was created to inform people of the importance of keeping the coastal clean of litter.  #potavristou means “reach out” in the Cypriot dialect; it is also understood as “giving a helping hand”. The main idea consisted of mobilizing individuals and groups to take action against marine litter. They were invited to simply “reach out”, to the place they live or visit during September 2020, and collect the litter lying around them. A “social media challenge” accompanied the campaign. Individuals were encouraged to take photos of themselves “reaching out” the litter and mention the location and the size of litter they collected, using the social media hashtags #potavristou, #akti, and #CleanOn. The results for 2020 have been astonished: 2016 volunteers participated from 187 different locations in Cyprus and 20 locations abroad. 12 tons of litters were collected, 70% of which were plastic. The campaign had 12 million reaches through social and conventional media.

The campaign results shown that young people would like to have an active role and with the appropriate motivation they work collaborative to make a difference for their lives.

Climate change affects us all: time to make  a difference

Studies show that climate change has heavily impacted the Mediterranean coasts and seas as both further deteriorate due to the phenomena of coastal erosions, land subsidence, and sea-level rise. All these phenomena are directly linked to global warming and climate change as they are the main reason causing the melting of polar ice and the thermal expansion of the oceans. Climate change is a natural phenomenon observed over many millions of years. Yet, observation indicates that nowadays the phenomenon has a rapidly unnatural change due to human-caused.

In Cyprus, coastal zones are among the most fragile natural ecosystems, extremely vulnerable to human intervention. Multiple and complex parameters coexist and interact within the dynamic coastal system: natural, social, economic, etc. It is a precious natural resource under threat due to overexploitation and increasing human pressures. Nowadays, coastal erosions and land subsidence are indeed a fact in our coastlines. The main reasons for these phenomena are inappropriate policies, inappropriate management schemes, infrastructure, and corruption which, all together, fail to make sustainable development an effective option. And of course, these phenomena [coastal erosions and land subsidence] can impact society in many ways, one of which is people’s displacement. People’s displacement is not currently visible on the island. Yet, if our current “common” practices carry on as they are soon enough many areas of the Cypriot coastline will suffer from land subsidence forcing residents in those areas to abandon their houses and reallocate.

Raising awareness

AKTI’s activities are linked to raising awareness regarding climate change and preventing unfortunate events that will set the island in risk. AKTI is very active in citizen science and runs several initiatives in the field of the environment including call to action campaigns, like the #potavristou campaign targeting the general public and the Fishing for Litter Initiative aiming to reach out to the Cypriot fishermen. AKTI is regularly implementing beach clean-ups inviting volunteers to join the actions and discuss issues link to Cypriot coasts and the sea. AKTI is also organizing awareness-raising campaigns and knowledge transfer activities to citizens and civil society as well as stakeholder engagement activities. e.g. focus groups and workshops. Parts of the organization’s regular activities are educational activities to schools and Universities on topics link to climate change, the sea, the coasts, and marine pollution. In addition to raising awareness activities that imply the physical presence of people, AKTI is promoting its actions/projects through social media and often runs social media raising awareness campaigns. The success of the #potavristou campaign was due to its promotion on social media. Another recent example was the Akamas peninsula campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of marine and coastal Natura 2000.

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash



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