The only oil that goes with a Croatian bikini is olive!

German translation of the following here, and the Croatian translation found here, and now in Japanese here.

*** VICTORY! 22 January 2016 The new Croatian government announced a cessation of any further plans to drill for hydrocarbons in the Adriatic.

On the morning of 29 July it was announced that Marathon Oil had returned 7 of the 10 concessions for drilling for hydrocarbons in the Adriatic had been returned to the Croatian government.

In the interest of full disclosure, since writing this post in December 2014, and it subsequently going viral (nearly 125K reads in the original English version alone), I have been invited to join, and now serve the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance as their Chief Strategy Officer.

Every link in the following post is VERY PURPOSEFULLY chosen toward education and action, I AM ASKING YOU MOST SINCERELY TO ACT on all three efforts embedded within this post (read on, don’t get caught up with the girl she’ll still be here when you finish)!

17 March 2015 UPDATE: http://www.croatia-split.com/blog/what-s-happening/adriatic-drilling-casa-replies-to-oil-agency-boss-barbara-doric.html

17 February 2015 UPDATE – the Croatian government is being sued for its illegal activities around drilling in the Adriatic. (I don’t agree with all that the HCSP stands for but…)

“This decision reacted by the Croatian Pure Party of Rights (HCSP).
Press Release signed by the President of HCSP, Josip Miljak in its entirety:
“A criminal decision of the Croatian government to announce an international tender for a fictitious oil and gas exploration in the Croatian economic zone is a crime which, if not prevented, Croatia could cost you dearly. If you sign contracts with foreign companies, a group of experts has already prepared two lawsuits, one Court for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, ie. The UN Security Council and other State Attorney’s Office.”

If you care about the seas and oceans and clean water for all, renewable energy, the environment, cultural heritage, vacationing at the beach, water sports, sailing, boating, eating seafood, Croatia’s (or Italy’s) Adriatic and a quality of life based upon harmony with our planet in the face of greed and violation then this end-of-the-year post (originally written on 30 December 2014) is for you! No apologies, it’s a long one. I ask you to share it widely on all social media platforms. (Efforts are underway to translate it into multiple languages – hyperlinks will be offered in this paragraph as completed.)  Many thanks for an amazing year to all my readers. Sretana Nova godina, Happy New Year.

——————–

I think about consequences – all the time (including how many people I might piss off as a result of writing this, and how).  I am not (though perfectly capable to be) a corporate consultant of scenario planning. I see inter-dependencies in ways that most people rushing through their lives never consider. What stimulates me must be for a greater good, and my heart and head must find a perfect balance for me to say – YES!  A lot of things ignite my passions and expertise but for me to engage it always comes down to integrity and authenticity.  This post is about the Venn Diagram offered by the convergence of the Croatian economy, its environment and how the manipulation of European Union regulations could have a devastating and far reaching effect. This is about shortsightedness, immediate gratification for individuals and how their greed, if one thing goes horribly wrong, will destroy one of the greatest treasure troves of untouched historic, ecological and economic value in the world and the livelihoods of a people who have depended upon the Adriatic for tens of thousands of years.  This blog post is about finding a way, with all of your help (please, PLEASE SIGN THIS Change.org PETITION as well as THIS Avaaz petition and then SHARE BOTH with friends), to turn back and make things as the Croatian tourist board says, “The Mediterranean as it once was”, and keep it that way for all of us but make it better economically for Croatians.

The Travel Channel references Croatian Bikinis (a Croatian bikini, btw, way is nude) and cliff diving, and if only once everyone wants to enjoy the freedom of laying on perfect golden sand and swimming in the sea waters ranging in colour from cobalt to aquamarine naked – and Anthony Bourdain is talking about the food and how beautiful it is here, well, expect those numbers to grow. It would be an understatement to say that the impact of tourism is huge and should be amongst the greatest market segments to be cultivated in Croatia.  And yet, the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing here (not unique to Croatia) or they would have blocked this effort. Don’t Croatian ministers actually strategise in their cabinet meetings?

I am in Croatia because I am trying to determine if I can make this my permanent home. (Now back in the United States unhappily let me say I actually found a home in Croatia.) Save for the fact that I am here in the dead of winter, I was drawn here largely because of the Adriatic – just as some 11.5 million people who came in the summer of 2012. Put that into perspective, a narrow band of Dalmatia hosting nearly 4 times the population of the entire country within a three month (between June and August).

(Emphasis in the following is my own.)

The first page of Lonely Planet’s guide to Croatian music festivals reads:

Sonus Music Festival

http://www.sonus-festival.com/ Pag Island Croatia August 2015

“Croatia’s music festival scene is flourishing, with exciting new events popping up each summer. A lovely natural setting is pretty much guaranteed, with idyllic beaches, lakes, meadows and forest clearings hosting crowds of delighted festival-goers.”

Rough Guides best of the Croatian coast landing page reads:

When it comes to beaches in Croatia, the best advice is to head south: it’s on the Dalmatian coast where the most seductive sandy shores, pebbly coves and sun-fried rocks are to be found. Indeed all of the beaches that made our list are in Dalmatia, except for one (the bewitchingly sandy island of Susak in the Kvarner Gulf). A sizeable collection of swoon-inducing destinations has been left off this list, largely for simple reasons of accessibility: islands like Korčula, Vis and Šolta boast any number of heavenly bays […].”

Croatia has been named the #1 world travel destination on the rise according to Fodor’s. The value of tourism to Croatia’s economy (like so many things here) is subject to wide ranges of statistics – the EU says 15%, while locals estimate that it makes up as much as 40% of the entire Croatian annual budget.  Croatia’s Minister of Tourism,  Darko Lorencin, said that the first six months of 2014 totaled € 2.12 billion, which was 2.2% more than the same period last year.  Estimates put 69% of the Croatian economy coming from the services industries – things like renting sailboats, bar and restaurant trade (offering seafood from the beautifully clean waters) and yes, those taking care of all those sheets and towels. If you take words of The World Bank’s front page on Croatia’s economy as sacred, then:

DSCN9906

Drvenik Channel, the Croatian Adriatic, view from my balcony 30 December 2014 to where I have been swimming for the last two months.

Croatia remains an ecological treasure in Europe, with 47% of its land and 39% of its sea designated as specially protected areas and areas of conservation. Croatia boasts 19 National and Nature Parks, with some- such as the Plitvice Lakes National Park – designated as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. Croatia’s natural beauty draws in millions of tourists each year, with tourism revenues representing around 15% of the country’s GDP. Preservation of the environment is high on the development agenda and has been a requirement for European Union membership.”

BP over Adriatic

This map, provided by Richard West, shows the scope of the BP Gulf Oil Spill, aka Deepwater Horizon spill, as overlaid against the Adriatic; it wouldn’t ‘just be’ Croatia impacted but also Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania.

So, after two months of swimming in these pristine waters the fight for keeping the Adriatic clean is now VERY PERSONAL to me! WTF!? Why, oh WHY!?, would anyone think that drilling for gas and oil in these waters is a good idea? Even if there isn’t an environmental catastrophe on the scale of the (British Petroleum) Gulf Oil Spill (I wish someone would overlay the map at left against a similar one showing the whole of the Adriatic to see what might happen) from one of the ten platforms currently licensed to operate in Croatian waters, the impact on the developing film industry (Game of Thrones et al), tourism, fishing – Eurostat figures for 2013 put the export value € 115.2 million, archaeology (at the bottom of the sea) and culture, and yes, the preservation of these rare dolphins, let alone the livelihood of more than 50% of the Croatian population from even the smallest accident could be catastrophic. To which point I was just (8 Feb) introduced to the technical expertise and wisdom of Croatia’s internationally, and highly, educated Nenad Duplančić.  If you are Croat read this from Dignitea Hvar in your language, if you are from any place else I BEG YOU to use a translation tool to grasp the importance of his commentary on the proposed drilling in the Adriatic.  For the rest of you new drilling platforms have been banned in the United States since 1969 so you start to understand why (to maintain corporate earnings and salaries) multinational oil companies are looking at impoverished countries to exploit and destroy (unemployment here in Croatia is above 23%).

Barbara Doric

Barbara Dorić – perhaps someone should be checking her bank accounts?

As I see it the Ministers of the Croatian government who should be fighting this with every fiber of their collective being include: Ministry of Culture, Ministarstvo culture, Mrs. Andrea Zlatar, Ministry of Economy, Ministarstvo gospodarstva, Mr. Ivan Vrdoljak, (who SHOULD BE looking at wave, wind and solar technologies and ditching petrochemical energy altogether because as Duplančić points out this industry is near it’s logical end), Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, Ministarstvo zaštite okoliša i prirode, Mr. Mihael Zmajlović, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Ministarstvo pomorstva, prometa i infrastrukture , MPPI RH, Mr. Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministarstvo poljoprivrede, Mr. Tihomir Jakovina and, of course, the Ministry of Tourism, Ministarstvo turizma or MINT, Mr. Darko Lorencin. So ask yourselves why a company blocked from exploration on the Italian side of the Adriatic should be given reign to do so by the head of the Croatian Hydrocarbon Agency, Barbara Doric? (Who, quite frankly, should be stripped of her citizenship and exiled to a very dirty beach for her role in promoting this debacle.)  Croatians are hardly indifferent to the beauty and life provided by their location – when so often you hear them express “who could buy this?” with a broad sweep of their arms across the vista offered by their Rivas and the Adriatic. Could it be that the Italians actually understand all that is at stake better than the Croatians?  

Saudi Arabia is manipulating the oil markets to keep the price of crude artificially low to discourage the further development and expansion of renewable energy, and with croatia nudethe established dangers of hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas it should be clear to everyone that petrochemicals are the very last thing that should be anywhere near a Croatian bikini.

This isn’t my country, yet I am supremely indignant about this and I hope all of you reading this are too.  Haven’t we seen enough destruction and war over the greed and insatiable consumption that comes with oil and gas? Climate change scientists indicate that a rise of sea levels will wipe out coastal communities around the world, hello? has anyone looked to see how much of Croatia’s population lives at very nearly sea level? In Europe climate change is expected to magnify regional differences in natural resources and assets. Negative impacts will include increased risk of inland flash floods and more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion (due to storminess and sea level rise) and is projected to worsen conditions (high temperatures and drought) in a region already vulnerable to climate variability, and to reduce water availability, hydro-power potential, summer tourism and, in general, crop productivity.

oil croatia

Photo source: Croatia Week online magazine

It needs to stop – now. 16 February is the deadline for open comments to the Croatian government, the form required for submission is found here.  It has painstakingly been translated into English to the right of the original Croatian so, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU LIVE, non Croatians who care about our seas can also submit comment. Please do! As you can imagine this fight is going to get expensive from a legal perspective, please “help with the heavy lifting” by making a contribution to the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance.

Croatians have a real chance to set a world standard for clean energy working in tandem with the rest of their economy but it takes all kinds of people, everywhere, to put their ‘big boy and big girl pants on’ and say NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER, and cap those wells and dismantle those ten platforms.  Join me?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

AllThatINeedbizcardartfront

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29 thoughts on “The only oil that goes with a Croatian bikini is olive!

  1. Pingback: Bio-diversity, conservation, stewardship and Croatia’s future | teresafritschi

  2. nenad

    I live in Umag region Istra in Croatia.
    Istra have beautiful nude beach and I donn’t wannt oil industry near at my coast!!!!!

    Reply
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  4. Krunoslav Detlbach

    It’s sad what our government does to Croatia.. It has such a great potential but yet it’s so supressed. I grew up in Croatia and I love my country. I spend every summer for the past 15 years on Krk and I couldn’t stand to just stand aside and watch then destroy our waters … I support you in every way … It is my country after all, but the seas are OF EVERY MAN AND WOMAN OF THE WORLD.

    Reply
    1. @TeresaFritschi Post author

      Dobar dan Krunoslav – I agree the seas belong to everyone, and I can’t wrap my head around how a handful of Croatians (in government) can line their own pockets at the expense of more lucrative efforts that could make Croatia a global leader in innovation and clean energy. PLEASE get as many people both in Croatia and around the world to sign the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance petitions, contribute to their fundraising efforts (this is going to get expensive), and BEFORE SUNDAY submit your comments to the Ministry in using the form (hyperlinked) in my post. Call the media people you know, share this with others. GET LOUD! Hvala lipa. Kind regards, Teresa

      Reply
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  6. Aleksander

    Dobar dan, Teresa ! I was devastated by the prospect of drilling in the most beautiful sea on the planet – and thrilled that a foreigner from around the globe went to such lengths in order to try to stop it. You have my greatest respect – fully deserved ! Amazing what you have done so far !!!
    I am from neighbouring country to Croatia, Slovenia. There are the most charming of beaches in Croatia, the book about the islands of Cres and Lošinj featured a photo with caption “for each swimmer his/hers own bay” – but you have to be adventurous enough, as the coast in Croatia is rough and twisty – which gives it appeal over most of the others. I shudder if I only think what an oil spillage would do to this coast …! I just got to your great site today via Facebook and immediately shared to most of my friends – within an hour, three have signed the petition, and I expect more will follow suit after they return from work etc.
    I have a suggestion – as there are TWO petitions, croatian one and change.org one, could you please mark the links to them with bold capital letters PETITION 1 and PETITION 2 – the people do not read each and every line I have learned today for sure.
    Otherwise, thank you so much for your efforts and if you really plan to move to Croatia, I wouldn’t mind offering you a glass of beverage of choice for your endeavour should we ever meet in person. Keep up the good work ! Hvala lepa (slovenian), hvala lipa ( croatian slang ) !

    Reply
    1. @TeresaFritschi Post author

      Dear Aleksander –
      I cry about EVERYTHING (see other blog posts for validation of this point) but your words this morning (as we head into the final days of public comment, and well scripted falsehoods spewed forth by Barbara Doric and the corruption behind her) just spilled salty and filled with humility from my eyes. The Adriatic is worthy of all of our efforts (as are all of the oceans and seas and waterways) I am just a messenger for her – but thank you. And yes, with hope all the necessary paperwork will be reconciled within a month and I will be back in (either) Slovenia or Croatia (perhaps on a rotating basis for a little while at least). I would be delighted to accept your lovely offer of meeting and sharing a “beverage of choice”. I am very found of ridiculously cold Gin Martini’s, shaken with a splash of St. Germain liquor served in an iced stem with a lemon twist. I am updating my blog post now – and cannot thank you enough for making the suggestion! Dobro jutro. Bog.
      Teresa

      Reply
  7. Veso

    I do not think stopping shit is possible at all. It was done before, Bakar, Labin, just two I remember.
    Problem is in them, people who live in those regions.
    They call them selves Croats, Slovenians, Serbs, Bosnjaks, CrnoGorac, and others, trying to divide and curb their territories, culture, behavior, etc, etc…..but altogether, they are the same. They look for “the answer of life” from someone else but themselves. They praise their politicians, war was the best example, just to realize few years latter – politicians are all the same, crooks. Somebody promise them something, they believe “this is the answer, this it” and bite in it. They expect easy way out. Yugo Adriatic should produce the most revenue than any other region in the world. Hawaii, piuff, haha, what a joke. Adriatic is a rough diamond, Adriatic is golden mine of tourism. Yet, people who live there do not like tourists, tourist ask things, they are demanding. Attitude “you can’t buy my labor” or “you can’t pay me as little, as how little I can work” is their main enemy. Sad, sad nation, never learned that only hard, persistent work will bring them prosperity. They are their main enemy.
    My father was in special services in old Yugo. One day they intercepted message from US Envoy, who just came 4 months ago, to his superiors in Pentagon. Short version “Yugos are great people, very friendly, very happy, but need strong hand and whipping to make them work.” Tito was informed about this. US Envoy was deported from Yugoslavia few days latter.

    Reply
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  9. Silvia Siminiati

    Thank you, Teresa for this article!!!! My name is Silvia and I am coming from the island of Vis. This time whole Croatia and hopefully the world should stand up and fight for this beautiful piece of our planet. I am an artist living in Prague. My friends and I made a new product and put it on http://www.indiegogo.com. Part of all funding will go to support this fight. Please check Molo forca, Silver surfer campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com and at facebook/molo forca

    I am also writing an article about the same subject in Check languange considering that Check tourist are one of the first tourists on Adriatic coast and they should also be informed what Croatian government is planing to do. Thank you so much for reacting, hope we stay in touch, Silvia Siminiati

    Reply
  10. @TeresaFritschi Post author

    Dear Silvia – thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to write. Please have all of your friends click on the link for the Change.org petition and sign it, then circulate widely. Although Czech Republic is not bordering the Adriatic I would also suggest that since so many of you do visit and make Croatia your holiday destination that you ask your Ambassador (yes diplomatic channels) to get involved – as the Slovenes and Italians have over the SEA. Surely a Green Zone Europe is far more advantageous than one dependent upon the Russians for natural gas, or the Croatians for oil (which might not even be there). Of course there is crazy money involved and with that always corruption and bribery. I have not had the privilege of spending time on Vis as yet – perhaps your family there will welcome me to stay with them for a short time this year so I can write of their experiences and concerns for the future? I would be SO GRATEFUL if you could find time to translate my words into Czech so that we have the “Croatian bikini” – might you consider making the time to do such over the next two weeks?
    Kindest regards,
    Teresa

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Das einzige Öl, das mit einem kroatischen Bikini zusammen passt, ist das Olivenöl | teresafritschi

  12. Dan Iliescu

    I’m not Croatian, but Romanian, and Croatia is my “to go” place, namely the Dalmatian coast(Split, Trogir).
    Regarding this matter, although Romania is a EU member, since we are not bordering the Adriatic is difficult to do much, but I’ll do my best to make the problem known, although we have here quite a bunch of problems with Russia reminding us everyday about their intents to invade the area, since Romania and Poland are holding the entry ways in EU from the East. Yes, no joke: each day, more and more measures are taken in preparation for open war.
    In regard of the current EU problems with Russia going berserk, the picture is rather grey-ish towards pitch black: Hungary decided to go along with Russian interests, therefore control over a section of the oil/gas pipe built in cooperation with Romania, that transits Hungarian territory, in order to provide oil and gas for Central Europe as an alternative to Russian products, was given away by Hungary to Gazprom(Russia) for a hefty sum of money. Gazprom blocked any transit of such from Romania, reinforcing dependency of the Central EU for Russian gas and oil.
    Add to that that Germany and France are leaning in a weird way towards appeasing Putin, and things gain a very unhappy twist.
    Alternatives to the existing export line, which is blocked as depicted above, by Hungary, would be a new pipe line(quite a hefty cost for that, especially when you don’t have money), on a South route, going through Bulgaria and Serbia. Both openly Russian friendly, again.
    On the other hand, drilling in the Adriatic wouldn’t solve the EU problems regarding dependency of Russian resources. Part of the problem is that many nuclear plants were closed (thank Germany for that, since they led the way a few years ago). Also, Norway can provide enough to solve the EU needs, but, again, Germany moves rather slowly in expanding the lines towards Central EU, since Germany is the hub for imports from Norway.
    EU has, at this moment, alternatives. More than one(Romania, Norway and nuclear plants). All valid. All it takes is for EU to wake up and proceed towards clearing the pathways, in order to make those alternatives, reality. There is no need to f**k up the Adriatic. Absolutely no need whatsoever. That would solve too little, if any, while damaging too much, thus making such unfeasible. Even from a cynic point of view, it can be seen as a “bad business” that it is.

    Reply
    1. @TeresaFritschi Post author

      Dear Dan,
      I am VERY grateful for your perspective as well as the scope of your knowledge related to the geo-political issues at hand. I read somewhere recently that even before the Homeland Wars Russia made its intentions known to Serbia that the goal was a clear path straight to the Adriatic so your words serve to confirm such. I would be most grateful (as you are a clearly highly proficient linguist) if you would consider translating my post into Romanian – or any other language you feel confident in. Friends have undertaken the German (just posted) and recently finished the Croatian (which is being gone over one more time). I feel as you do, the only way the drilling in the Adriatic will be be blocked is from international outrage and the Croatians violations of various international treaties (which they have done repeatedly and with reckless abandon). Thank you EVER SO MUCH for taking the time to write. Hvala lipa. Teresa

      Reply
  13. Dan Iliescu

    Thanks, Teresa!
    Yes, I can translate it Romanian. Only problem is that ain’t gonna be of much use, since for Romanians, especially in the given circumstances, such matters would be of no interest at the present time(sorry for bluntness).
    But, I can try to help with some advice that might be of good use.
    In the given overall context, both UK and US might have interest in the area, especially since Greece is leaning towards Moscow and Cyprus does the same, while Turkey is not so much of a dependable NATO member(returning more and more to being rather Islamic, than secular, modern state). That increases the importance of Croatia(together with Italy) in the area. Control over Eastern Mediterranean is “shaky”, thus making the center of it important. That singles out Italy and, naturally, Croatia, as gateways from continental Europe to the Center Mediterranean area.
    Also, it is pretty obvious to me that the investors that invested in Croatia’s tourism in the last decade or so, are not very hasty in taking measures against drilling plans, although I’m pretty certain they knew about such way before the public and they certainly have the financial leverage to move things around, there. This can mean that they are either part of the problem, either they are silenced by something bigger, either they know it wouldn’t be such a problem. The third is possible, if these future drilling are just a scam to increase the “wall street value” of some companies, make some easy bucks from selling shares, then get out, without doing, practically anything. Or any other “wall street financial game/scam”. Enumerating all possible variants exceeds the inherited limitations of this environment.
    Therefore, within the previously shown context, my best bet would be as follows: Croatian people to express their disagreement regarding such, while anyone that has ties within US and UK doing their best to attract attention regarding the issue, there. For that, a citizen of US/UK would be the best. For eventual arguments regarding reducing energy dependency of Russian imports, see the previous comment I made, where I tried to shown that there are other solutions, already proven and viable.
    Neither US nor UK want to lose an ally in the area, therefore, if Croatians are playing their cards smart, they can establish themselves as good allies, while getting the help they need to stop these future and useless drilling in the Adriatic.
    As I see it, as gloomy as it might seem, it can be a good opportunity for Croatia, as a nation, to shift towards a good direction for their future. It’s up to them, truth be said. In the grand scheme of things, I see this as a moment for Croatia to choose their future path.
    Hope what is written above to be of good use. Whatever the outcome, I’ll do my best to bring the issue into attention, and Croatia will remain a special place for me.

    Reply
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