After three weeks in Santorini, Greece, my homesick heart aches for the smell of pines, the Grand Canyon’s plateaus, and the queen, herself, the Colorado River. When I think of home, the ocean does not first come to my mind. I think of the river, which once carved through rock; the river that we so heavily depend on in the South West region of the U. S. for water and agriculture.
At a young age, many of us learned of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius and the tragedy that engulfed the city of Pompeii in 79 CE. Although an extraordinary number of people are intrigued by natural disasters, few have heard of the Minoan eruption that blanketed a quickly abandoned ancient Greek civilization in approximately 1613 BCE . In an effort to reveal a small fraction of the culture, construction, and catastrophe of what was Ancient Akrotiri, I will walk you through almost 40 thousand years of time.
Today, the smell of earth and dirt is strong inside Ancient Akrotiri’s bioclimatic shelter. Spending so much time outdoors, I was comforted by the musty smell. But with this familiar scent comes a distinct feeling of discomfort, evoked by the sight of a beautiful city, preserved in time by ash and pumice.
After tirelessly following a series of wooden hand-painted signs, which insisted that the Acropolis was ahead, a small group of us were on the verge of abandoning our search for the site when we ran into our instructors, Lisa and Alex (Fig. 1). Amidst the maze of tiny plastered homes, we followed them through narrow whitewashed hallways accented with magenta rugs and royal blue planter beds until we passed through the marble entrance of the Acropolis. Through staggered breaths, we began to realize the magnitude of our own unique purpose and place. Continue reading The Sustainable Life: Ancient Greece