ESA logo


Leadership for positive impact

Bamboo Bicycle Ride Crete - 'Taking the Initiative' for environmental laws in action.

ESA is once again an official event partner for EU Green Week

The beautiful Greek island of Crete, located at the south of Europe and close to the Middle East and Africa, is a proverbial 'canary in a coal mine' as an early indicator of the dangers and potential failures from not addressing sustainability challenges. Crete is increasingly battered by extreme weather events including high winds, flooding and wild fires. In February 2019 the west of Crete sustained storm damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure with an estimated repair cost of 100 million euros.

The normal Crete population of 623,000 spikes to nearly 3 million during peak tourism months. Most visitors who come to enjoy the mythology, rich agriculture, wonderful cuisine, sunshine and aquamarine clear sea have no consciousness of the annual activities of putting the beaches back due to rising sea-levels and coast-line erosion or that rural villages must endure water, power and Wi-Fi cuts during the summer months to fulfil the needs of so many visitors.

Never has our planet faced such an urgent scenario and we cannot continue to ignore the blatant indicators of climate change and blindly continuing as before without compromise or change. The biggest challenge we all face is how to convert our feelings about the environment and our knowledge about climate change into meaningful day to day action of resilience and adaptation. During EUGreenWeek we will raise these issues with a wide range of stakeholders across Crete and give a platform for people to speak up and voice their concerns about conserving the natural environment and to raise their fears about what will happen if we do not collectively act now.

EU laws exist to protect the natural environment, but it has been shown over and again that policy is worthless unless enacted across governments, businesses and civil society. This has been noticed by the youth of the world and every week children are skipping school to demand a 'climate change emergency'. During EUGreenWeek we will raise awareness of the recent EC 'Environmental Implementation Review' reports on the state of the environment in Greece  (EL


Building on our very successful EUGreenWeek, 'Bamboo Bike Ride Crete 2018' this year to support the EUGreenWeek 2019 focus, 'Take the Initiative! Applying environmental legislation', European Sustainability Academy (ESA) has teamed up with the Global Sustain network in Athens to co-create a series of lively, fun and diverse interlinked events in Crete to explore ideas, suggestions and innovation opportunities for converting policy and good intentions in to PRACTICAL ACTION!

To raise awareness about how everyone can 'Take The Initiative' to make sure that environmental laws are understood and enacted every day, the Bamboo Bikes will be ridden from the far eastern Cretan prefecture of Sitia over 5 days back to Drapanos the home of ESA and finish at the seaside resort of Almyrida in the Apokoronas region of Crete. This will complete a full ride of the length of Crete started by the riders for EUGreenWeek 2018. EVERYONE is WELCOME!

We will involve people across society including municipality officials, young entrepreneurs and business owners to discuss the visible and real environmental challenges across Crete including sea-level rise, flooding, forest fires, waste management and water shortages. Along the route the bamboo bike riders will meet people at key locations to talk about the pressing eco-issues in Crete and ask for their suggestions about environmental protection. The riders will engage with children, young entrepreneurs, community groups and businesses and ask for their comments about the new EU review of the state of the environment in Greece  (EL)

All of this will be captured on film by our film crew from Eclipse Productions from Athens  for everyone to share, learn and form new collaborations for 'Taking The initiative'



EUGreenWeek Launch Event

Friday 10th May: The ESA EUGreenWeek programme starts in collaboration with Global Sustain
With a "Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development Day" (9.00 – 5.00 including buffet lunch) at the ANEK Lines Conference Centre in Chania, Crete.
The event aims to inform a wide range of people about the pressing environmental issues in Crete and how environmental laws and policies can be better implemented with a focus on agri-food, tourism, transport and energy sectors. The event is FREE to attend, but registration is essential.
The event is open to everyone including professionals, organizations and businesses. Representatives of the European Commission and Parliament, international speakers, political leaders and local government (Ministries, Regions, Municipalities), chambers, scientific and research institutions etc. are expected to take part.
The focus being, practical approaches and inspiring examples for enacting environmental law in ways that people from all walks of life can get involved in.
See the program in detail and register.


 Saturday 11th May: The handmade bamboo bikes arrive at the beautiful ESA off- grid, natural materials eco-building in the Natura 2000 location of Drapanos, Apokoronas. An invitation only, roundtable discussion will explore the outcomes and issues arising from the opening conference and prepare a report on 'policy into action' for the EC. Issues arising during this day will be taken out to the communities across Crete during the Bamboo Bike Ride for people to give their comments.

Bamboo Bicycle Ride Crete 2019 START DAY!

Monday 13th May: The bamboo bikes and riders stop at key locations across Crete over 5 days to engage with children, young entrepreneurs, community groups and businesses.
Anyone can register to ride a bike on all or part of the route with the bamboo riders! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
We welcome applications from suitably fit and healthy local bike riders who want to join Thomas, Spyros, Argyris and Abel and be part of this event for increasing environmental action awareness on Crete. Guests can join the ride for some or all the days. Exact times and locations will be updated here and published on the Bamboo Bicycle Ride - Crete 2019 Facebook event page.

Monday: Sitia – Elounda, 76km with a climb to 1444m
Tuesday: Elounda – Heraklion, 67km with a climb to 1853m
Wednesday: Heraklion – Bali, 53km with a climb to 750m
Thursday: Bali – Rethymnon, 32km with a climb of 277m
Friday: Rethymnon – Drapanos – Almyrida, 46km with a climb of 444m
Times and distances are estimated from Google maps and subject to change.


Bamboo Bicycle Ride Crete 2019 END CELEBRATIONS!
Friday 17th May: join us to welcome the Bamboo Bikes and riders back home to Almyrida.
We will celebrate 'sustainable development' in Crete and the need for co-operation for 'Taking the Initiative' to ensure that Environmental laws are properly enacted.
Location to be confirmed.

If you would like to be part of our 'Event Team', or you would like to join the 'Ride Team' supporting our Bamboo Bike Riders please Contact Us and tell us which dates you can join us as a 'Cretan Bamboo Bike Rider' for environmental action.


Host your event at ESA     

Powered only by Cretan sunshine, ESA is a beautiful building rooted in the earth amongst ancient rocks and olive trees, surrounded by nature. Its construction is a leading example of sustainability in practice. ESA is an experiential and creative place where people feel enlivened, uplifted and creative. Great living and great learning happen at ESA. A perfect setting for:

Leading sustainable enterprise

Our passion is contributing towards co-created sustainable enterprise for positive impact on communities and the natural environment on a global scale. Leadership and entrepreneur issues of adaptation, resilience, authenticity, sustainable-self, values connected sense-making and the continued emancipation of women (WISE) to take up more leadership roles in the world are at the core of the ESA sustainability experience.

Make sense of sustainability

Crete is the sustainable destination of the past and of the future.

Home of the Minoans, one of the earliest civilisations on earth, nestled between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Crete is rich with mythology, gastronomy, music, art and agriculture. You can have your own authentic experience of a sustainable lifestyle and feel first-hand the strong connection between nature and community.