Newsletter n. 80


  1. EXPERIENCES: Centro Planta in Palermo


3. NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS:  Roadmap for the new strategy for the soil

4. WE ARE NOT ALONE! –  Living in the soil (FAO)


Centro Planta in Palermo

If you bring together university professors of environmental studies and professional plant growers and ask them to look at the land and landscapes of Sicily, you get … PLANTA – Mediterranean Centre for Research, Documentation and Training, formally established in December 2019.

Planta is a centre for study, research, training and documentation located in Palermo and focused on the environment, biodiversity, protected areas, parks, urban green spaces, gardens and the landscape, as well as natural treasures such as ancient trees, herbaria, vegetable gardens and botanical gardens.

“The aims of the Association are to carry out, encourage and disseminate studies connected with native and exotic flora, both wild and cultivated, natural and cultural biodiversity, natural and planted forests, protected areas, parks and urban green spaces as well as the study of archeological sites, gardens and the landscape, in order to develop multidisciplinary approaches to their protection, conservation, recovery, restoration and appreciation.”

Planta wishes to contact other similar national and international organizations in order to create connections between them, building networks in Italy and beyond. Particular attention will be paid to scholars and researchers from both Mediterranean and tropical countries. Planta will also set up high-school and professional training courses in the fields of conservation and biodiversity (both on- and off-site), of cultural and environmental goods and botanic museology.

We would like to wish Planta well in their work and thank the founders for setting up this great initiative.


Further info: direzione@centroplantapalermo.org


Associazione di Promozione sociale e culturale 5 agosto 1991, Buscate (Milan)

We return with renewed enthusiasm to the task of presenting to readers the Associations that belong to the Gruppo Suolo Europa.

Buscate (in the province of Milan) is home to the Associazione di Promozione sociale e culturale 5 agosto 1991, which was set up in 2010 to preserve the memory of the historic battle against the landfill that the Lombardy Region wanted to set up at the quarry known as Cava San Antonio in Buscate, a fight that began on 5 August 1991 and ended in victory three years later. The Association, together with the Ecoistituto del Veneto, has contributed to the publication of ‘Quelli delle cause vinte‘ [Those who won the battles] (Michele Boato ed. Libri di Gaia). From the outset the Association has concerned itself not only with the (still unresolved) matters relating to the environmental restoration of the Cava San Antonio – now called the Cava Campana – but also with many other environmental problems locally and in the Altomilanese (the area to the north-west of Milan) more generally. In particular we should mention the Quarries Plan of the Metropolitan City of Milan, the ACCAM Incinerator in Busto Arsizio (Va), a pleasant place about 2 km from the centre of Buscate, the pollution of the Ticino river and the Naviglio Grande, and the Cava di Casorezzo. In addition, in 2020 the Association proudly rescued from felling a 130-year-old Deodar Cedar, getting it declared an ancient tree and ensuring its adoption.

Another of the Association’s areas of interest and initiatives has been connected with the safeguarding of the town’s architectural and artistic heritage (Villa Rosales-Abbiate) and most recently the history of the “biblical” emigration that affected the Altomilanese at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, with the publication of two books about emigration to the USA (Mi a vo via – translated into English with the title I’am going away) and Argentina (La Mérica di frascuni).

The Association has had links to the SIP Forum for several years, supporting the proposal for the Parco dell’Altomilanese and the draft law on ending soil consumption. At the local level, in 2013 the Association made submissions to the local Territorial Governance Plan based on the idea of “zero consumption” of the soil.

Contact: Associazione 5 agosto 1991 -Via Madonna del Carmine,11 – 20010 Buscate (Mi)

Email: cinqueagosto91@yahoo.it

Mob. 340 902 1566 – 3357461614


Let’s tax speculation!

GNDE –Civil Society   https://report.gndforeurope.com/

In this section we usually put forward ideas from civil society that can be fitted into the context of the scheme proposed by the Green New Deal for Europe.

This time however we are going to talk about an MEP: Pierre Larrouturou.

Unknown to most people, he is the EU’s budget rapporteur. In light of this he has tried to draw attention to the need to act swiftly against financial speculation.

Faced with the inertia of the parliamentary bodies, Pierre decided to carry out a hunger strike inside the European Parliament itself. His aim? To persuade his “colleagues” and the European institutions to prioritize discussion of the proposal to tax speculation. Here are his words: “There’s something obscene about hearing that there are not enough funds for health, the climate, employment, when a small tax on speculation could raise 50 billion euros a year”.

His proposal is simple: introduce a tax on financial transactions. Those buying shares on the financial markets are not taxed, while VAT is levied on food and drinks. It can be concluded from this that stocks and shares are more essential to life than food.

Since the media ignored Larrouturou’s 18-day hunger strike, with which he attempted to draw attention to the issue, we thought it a good idea to at least let readers of the Newsletter know about it.



European climate pact

On 16 December 2020, the anniversary of the presentation of the Green Deal, the European Climate Pact was published, and almost totally ignored by the media. Being curious by nature, we asked ourselves what the difference is between Pact and Deal and came to the conclusion that they are in effect synonyms: both mean a reciprocal commitment based on a convention or an agreement between two or more people or parties.

So why a new pact now, and who is it between?

This is not a political document, but a “call to arms”.

In Europe, as elsewhere, public attention and pressure to safeguard the planet have fallen as a result of Covid-19. But it is essential to keep interest levels high. The Pact is asking for precisely this: spreading awareness and supporting action to combat climate change.

In short:

“We need to work together to tackle climate change and environmental degradation and to grasp the opportunities arising from decisive action and sustainable lifestyles.

Continua a leggere “European climate pact”

No profits from the pandemic!

In our November newsletter we drew attention to the need not to allow the privatization of drugs that have been developed with the help of public funding. As we have always maintained, it is a matter of common sense as well as civic values: the drug companies receive public funding for their research, then charge the same public bodies for the drugs, and then increase their profits on the financial markets through royalties and profits from shares.

We were not aware at the time that a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is in preparation to take patents away from the multinationals that produce them and put them in the public domain. This is excellent news, but we note that unfortunately the mainstream media are not discussing it, even though this is a step that western societies must take.

As well as thanking the promoters of the ECI, we invite all our readers to sign the initiative and urge their friends and families to do the same. The initiative can be signed conveniently online https://noprofitonpandemic.eu/ (in all EU languages).