When Cosimo Di Biasi, 66, decides it's the right day to fish, he begins at 5 p.m. He drives 4 miles to the port of Torre Santa Sabina, boards Nonno Ugo, his 21-foot fiberglass boat, and navigates south for a half-hour to reach a marine reserve in Puglia, in southern Italy.
Historic Exploitation<p>Alessandro Ciccolella, the director of Consorzio di Gestione Torre Guaceto, the management entity of the natural reserve, says that before they took over in 2001, this stretch of coast was a no-man's-land. Organized crime had a stronghold in the area, using the shores of Torre Guaceto as a port for tobacco and drug smuggling.</p><p>"Ciccolella would tell us that one day Torre Guaceto would be a reserve. But we didn't believe him, and we didn't care," Di Biasi says.</p><p>Fishers would detonate homemade bombs underwater, harvesting the dead fish that floated to the surface. In the process, though, they were killing marine life, destroying the reef, and risking their lives. Plus most of the kill went to the seafloor, while clouds of dust filled the waters. According to Ciccolella, fishers thought they were plowing the sea for good.</p><p>The area was so worn out that in 2001 the Consorzio, formed by World Wildlife Fund and the nearby cities of Brindisi and Carovigno, decided to close the waters of the reserve for five years to let it recover from the past exploitation.</p><p>"They took away a piece of the sea from us. We used to keep our boats there, and the tower was the place where we cooked and hung out," De Biasi says. "From one day to the other, we couldn't fish anymore."</p><p>Friction arose between the fishers and the management of the reserve escalating to slashed tires and broken car windows. The local fishers kept fishing illegally at night, to make a point, even if they still had the rest of the sea to fish. The coast guard occasionally caught them, confiscated their boats, and gave hefty fines.</p><p>"We needed to know what was underwater and let it recover," Ciccolella says, explaining the fishing ban. "We were able to do it because the area was not too big, and it was easier to reason with fewer people. But the benefits of a small reserve are way larger than you can think of."</p>
Restoring Abundance<p>Paolo Guidetti, a professor of Ecology at Nice University in France, played a crucial role in developing the reserve's sustainable fishing model. He says it wasn't easy to start a dialogue with the fishers, but it turned out to be crucial to the reserve's success. In 2005, after five years of the fishing ban, the fishers were allowed in for a fishing trial.</p><p>"We met God's abundance," Di Biasi says. Catches were fivefold compared to the outside area, and fish were bigger and of higher value.</p><p>The Consorzio teamed up with Guidetti and Marcello Longo, president of <a href="https://www.slowfood.com/" target="_blank">Slow Food</a><a href="https://www.slowfood.com/" target="_blank"> </a><a href="https://www.slowfood.com/" target="_blank">Puglia</a>, a local chapter of an international movement that fights the disappearance of local food cultures around the world. They organized meetings with the bewildered fishers to create a protocol to start fishing again while preserving the biodiversity of the area.</p><p>"The fishers themselves proposed to fish just once a week," Guidetti says with excitement. Fishers would also use shorter nets—0.75 miles long instead of 2.5 miles—and larger mesh size to free smaller and juvenile fish.</p>
Expanding Protections<p>The biggest problem for a Marine Protected Area seems to be control and management. Many projects similar to Torre Guaceto fail because of the absence of precise control of the territory. Now, after years of struggling, Torre Guaceto can count on the rigorous vigilance of the Italian Coast Guard and of the fishers. But even with such control, some illegal fishing still happens at night.</p><p>Today an unlikely event is happening: Fishers are the ones asking for the protection for the sea. "We requested the director to enlarge the marine reserve," Di Biasi says. The request is now under examination by the Ministry of Environment. In the meantime, 10 other fishers from nearby towns have already started fishing with shorter nets and wider mesh sizes, hoping the reserve will be extended to include their coastlines soon.</p><p>Now Di Biasi goes to elementary schools to explain the importance of sustainable fishing. He also goes to fishing communities in other Mediterranean countries to tell incredulous fishers that it is possible to make more money while preserving the sea.</p><p>"We hope they will follow our example and create a marine reserve," Di Biasi says. "It took us time to learn this, but now we hope that others will do [it] too."</p>
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In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.
By Douglas Broom
Rifugio Guide del Cervino is a bar and restaurant atop the Plateau Rosa, a glacial ridge in the Italian Alps. Or at least, it was. Climate change is moving it inexorably toward Switzerland as the glacier on which it sits steadily melts.
Mobile Border<p>The Rifugio has 40 guest beds and is a <a href="http://www.cerviniaicons.com/food/2018/06/rifugio-guide-del-cervino/" target="_blank">popular destination for climbers attempting the Breithorn</a> (4,164 meters, or 13,661 feet), neighbor to the Matterhorn on the Swiss border. But that's as close to Switzerland as Trucco wants his restaurant to get.</p><p>For now, COVID-19 restrictions mean the Rifugio is closed. <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52701621" target="_blank">Italy is starting to lift its coronavirus lockdown</a>, but with bars among the businesses allowed to open, some people say <a href="https://www.skiresorts.net/skiing-social-distancing/" target="_blank">social distancing in ski resorts</a> may prove hard to implement.</p><p>In 2009, <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16854-climate-changes-europes-borders-and-the-worlds/" target="_blank">Italy and Switzerland agreed their border should be mobile</a>, shifting to accommodate changes caused by glacial melting. Movements are monitored using GPS sensors allowing the <a href="https://glacierhub.org/2020/04/30/as-the-climate-shifts-a-border-moves/" target="_blank">border to be redrawn</a> as the ice moves.</p>
Sea Levels<p>Climate change is affecting other borders around the world. In the southern U.S., <a href="http://mississippiriverdelta.org/our-coastal-crisis/land-loss/" target="_blank">rising sea levels</a> and the canalization of the Mississippi river are the culprits. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has seen more than half a million hectares of its coastal territory disappear under the waves.</p><p>As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert put it in<a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/01/louisianas-disappearing-coast" target="_blank"> a recent article for the New Yorker</a>: "If Delaware or Rhode Island had lost that much territory, the U.S. would have only forty-nine states. Every hour and a half, Louisiana sheds another football field's worth of land."</p><p>Shrinking glaciers are one of the most visible demonstrations of the effects of global warming. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the amount of ice lost since 1980 is equivalent to <a href="https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-glacier-mass-balance" target="_blank">removing a 24-meter (79-foot) slice off the top of each glacier</a>.</p><p><a href="http://climateandlife.columbia.edu/2017/05/08/the-glaciers-are-going-why-this-matters/" target="_blank">More than one-sixth of the world's population</a>, particularly in China, India and other Asian countries, depend on glaciers for drinking and irrigation water, according to scientists at Columbia University.</p><p>Global temperatures are estimated to have risen by at least 1°C (33.8 degrees F) <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/" target="_blank">above pre-industrial levels</a>, and experts warn urgent action is needed to curb emissions. A rise above 1.5°C (34.7 degrees F) will cause <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature23878" target="_blank">glaciers in Asia</a>, for example, to shrink by two-thirds by the end of the century.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Climate activists from across the globe on Tuesday welcomed an ambitious new plan for Milan that will, according to the Guardian, transform 22 miles of street space currently reserved for cars "with a rapid, experimental citywide expansion of cycling and walking space to protect residents as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted."
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The entire country of Italy has gone into lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
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Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.
Why has Venice flooded?<p>Experts say that Venice is both sinking into the mud it was built on and is at threat from rising sea levels due to <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">climate change</a>.</p><p>The flooding has renewed calls for the Mose flood barrier project for the city.</p>
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Italy has stepped into the forefront of environmental education by adding the climate crisis and sustainable development as a mandatory part of the curriculum, the country's education minister announced Tuesday, as The New York Times reported.
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Venice is the Mediterranean World Heritage Site currently most at risk from flooding due to sea level rise, according to a recent study, and the city even has elevated sidewalks ready in case of high tides, but Monday's waters rose higher than the emergency sidewalks.
Ten people were killed and 11 injured in a flash flood that filled a gorge in Italy's Pollino National Park following heavy rains on Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The victims were from two groups of hikers in the Raganello Gorge, which filled with up to 2.5 meters (approximately 8.2 feet) of water, mud and rocks that pushed some bodies as far as 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) downstream, BBC News reported.
The European Commission confirmed in a statement Thursday that it would pursue legal action against six European countries for exceeding air pollution limits set for 2005 and 2010, Air Quality News reported.
The commission is referring France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Hungary and Romania to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which could fine them millions of euros if they do not act quickly enough to solve the problem, The Guardian reported.