We are more than aware of what the climate is doing to our planet, and we caused it, but the consequences are not only climate itself.
Regardless from what Italy’s current strongest political belief is, this country must take a decisive leap forward to benefit the local economy, population and environment. This was the final message at the end of the book launch “Greenhouse Effect, War Effect” in Milan, with the author and diplomat Grammenos Mastrojeni accompanied by Lia Quartapelle, member of the center-left political party PD (Democratic Party).
“Now more than ever are we observing how the climate is affecting our lifestyle,” begins the author. “Our identity within the European Union (EU) is being tackled, yet this is only a good thing.” The climatic changes are affecting the lifestyle and availability of the primary resources and living decisions in Africa. For many communities,” explains Mastrojeni, “it does not matter whether one is poor or not: their surrounding environment forces them to find ways to move away at any cost. […] Often families have to choose between sending their children to school or paying the costs of environmental damages to their agriculture.”
Mastrojeni’s book, co-written with the climate physicist Antonello Pasini, explained that a climate crisis would bring to war. This statement is observed by looking at the state of the Sahel. The Sahel is a non-geographically defined strip crossing the Sahara from each side of Africa that has been greatly affected by further desertification. This phenomenon has led within this area to an unprecedented rise in migration towards countries like Italy, but also to further impoverishment, terrorism developing, arms trade and local wars. “We’re talking about an unstable climate that struck an already fragile community.”
Another fundamental example was provided by looking at the Himalayas. If glaciers melt, not only will they release further carbon as a result of the melting permafrost, but they will damage over 800 thousand people living in countries further south as in India, where annually, due to a common but disastrous monsoon, many people die and several communities are forced to move to safer areas.
Immigration in Italy
Speaking with Lia Quartapelle, the most important point was Italy’s immigration crisis. As understood, immigration is a massive issue in our country and we must not forget that, as Mastrojeni rightly pointed out, frequently these refugees do not wish to come to our country. Once here though, they can highly contribute to our economy. “Immediate action is required alongside a circular economy to collaborate with endangered locations as those in Africa”, Quartapelle stated.
We have illustrated Italy’s greatest results within the EU to improve environmental standards with statistics presented by GreenItaly 2018. However, this event in Milan highlighted a bigger concern. Fighting climate change is not just about making greener decisions which — let’s not forget — are essential, but we need to look at the bigger picture. We are more than aware of what the climate is doing to our planet, and we caused it, but the consequences are not only climate itself. Peace and justice are two focus elements of our society that will be affected as well. We are slightly observing it in Italy, as we listen to the news and see how refugees are tackled. General accusations are made against them, but do we question why they are in our country in the first place? “Cooperation and correct politics” stated Mastrojeni, are key points to move forward for Italy. Steps that citizens themselves can pressure but not argue themselves.
“Companies,” explained the author, “will feel the need to challenge themselves, as our industry moves to greener options, thus bringing to a profitable competition.”
Sustainability = Justice = Peace
Sustainability then is not only about environmental options such as eating less meat, recycling, using bamboo-made toothbrushes or even taking the bicycle instead of the car. If we all got in these small habits, we would observe the positive results for our planet. But we need to tackle those political and economic decisions like investing abroad, especially in Africa, which is geographically closer than what some politicians like to think (or ignore, choose as you please). We cannot just welcome these refugees, we must allow them to invest in their own countries and provide advancements to fight against climate change.
We are talking about equality, by supporting another group of people to become independent and deal with their own necessities. Mastrojeni’s book correctly states that sustainability = justice = peace. “We cannot ignore the issues that are within another territory because sooner or later they will come to us, as we’ve seen with climate refugees.”
Italy should take the aforementioned step forward to expand collaboration with African countries and other climate-affected locations, embrace sustainable options within our nation, and allow their politicians to understand that climate is not an optional argument anymore, rather a daily need. We need to deal with this concern now by collaborating with refugees and understand how the state can help on a practical level.
This interesting book truly opens debates that are not generally discussed, — not even in the field of climate science or climate change — and it’s the case to read it to start seeing and thinking about the bitter truth.