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Newsletter n.84

16/06/2021

1. EXPERIENCES: Pasolini’s “La forma della città” and the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience

2. NEWS FROM THE SIP FORUM: 

3. NEWS ON THE SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS:  Zero Pollution Action Plan  (ZPAP)

4. WE ARE NOT ALONE! Alysson Paulinelli – Brazil

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Pasolini’s “La forma della città” and the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR)

One of the best-known films about speculative building and soil sealing is without doubt Francesco Rosi’s “Le mani sulla città” (1963). Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1974 documentary “La forma della città” is equally revealing, and perhaps more “educational”, dealing as it does with the same subject but through a more profound analysis.

The film focuses on two Italian towns, Orte and Sabaudia, but also touches on landscape disruptions in Yazd in Iran, Al Mukalla and Sana’a in Yemen, and Bhatgaon in Nepal.

Pasolini says in the documentary: “So those houses I told you about earlier, those tower blocks, what are they disrupting? They are disrupting above all the relationship between the form of the city and nature. You know, the problem of the form of the city and the problem of protecting the nature that surrounds the city are one and the same problem“.

When he says this he is looking at the medieval town of Orte, and the buildings that disrupt its profile, calling it “development without progress”. Then he compares the form of Orte with that of Sabaudia, a new town built by the fascist government in 1934, which he describes as “enchanting“, stressing that “it is the reality of provincial, rustic, paleoindustrial Italy, that produced Sabaudia, not fascism“… an Italy that fascism could not “scar“, a proof in itself of fascism’s failure.

But what fascism could not do, the “democratic government” has succeeded in doing, and especially the so-called consumer society.

«Now, however, the opposite happens. The government is a democratic one, etcetera, etcetera, but that integration, that homogenization that fascism utterly failed to achieve, has been perfectly achieved by the power of today, that is the power of consumer society. […] The real fascism is precisely this power of the consumer society that is destroying Italy, and this has happened so quickly that we haven’t even noticed, it has happened over the past 5, 6,7, 10 years … it has been a kind of nightmare, in which we have seen Italy destroyed around us, disappear. Now, awaking perhaps from this nightmare and looking around us, we realize that there’s nothing we can do».

Why are we referring to Pasolini’s documentary?

Because it would be good if the people drawing up the PNRR – National Recovery and Resilience Plan, watched this documentary. We feel sure that, more than 1000 reports or dozens of petitions, it would make them reflect on what they have written and maybe, just maybe this is our hope, at least  some of them might feel ashamed.

La Forma della Città: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNLqSG4NkTg (Available with English subtitles)  

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Round table “Soil is Life, is Food, is Future”

It’s here! When you read this Newsletter it will be just a few days until the virtual, international round table. Those taking part will include representatives of the worlds of research, farming, the private sector, construction, trade unions, EU institutions, and local government. There will be a video from Riccardo Mei and comments from those involved in regeneration at the national level, rural communities, Fridays For Future, and the world of culture.

There will be three packed hours of shared discussions, comments, and opinions, from which there will hopefully emerge an analysis of a possible joint strategy to protect the soil which can be sent on to COP26.

Places are limited,

so we invite all those who haven’t yet done so to register as soon as possible here: https://www.lasolastrada.it/registration/

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The shared vision of justice and sustainability

A few clear words that give meaning to the GNDE action for a new Europe based on inclusion and respect for environmental limits.

“We face a climate, environmental and social crisis — and we are running out of time. But if we come together and unite behind a shared vision of justice and sustainability, we can build a better Europe for future generations.

1 – We are running out of time.

2 – We know that Europe has the tools and resources to prevent this crisis.

3 – We have been deprived of a voice for too long.

4 – We will not accept scapegoats.

5 – We must unite, mobilise, and demand a Green New Deal.

6 – We can build a democratic Europe together.

7 – We stand with Europeans across the continent.”

https://gnde.diem25.org/our-vision/

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“European Green Deal” Barometer

The “barometer” for the implementation of the Green Deal was created by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and GlobeScan. Its aim is to follow the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Green Deal and suggest whatever adjustments are necessary. It will be published annually. The first report was published on 29 April and gives rise to a series of reflections, especially on the role to be taken by single Member States.

Here are some of the key findings:

“Accounting for the relative lack of progress in Green Deal implementation in areas beyond climate and energy, respondents identified a series of key challenges that must be overcome, including:

− A lack of commitment by the Member States to the Green Deal agenda, which is seen by respondents as the biggest barrier to implementation, followed by inadequate governance mechanisms and unequal progress across the EU Member States.

− A gap between science and legislative proposals or investments on the table: When asked whether European Green Deal proposals meet well what science requires, only 62% believe this is the case for increasing the EU’s climate ambition and this figure falls as low as 49% for the ‘farm to fork’ strategy and 45% for the zero-pollution ambition. This suggests that political feasibility remains the fundamental driver for EC proposals, rather than scientific evidence about planetary boundaries.

− The lack of awareness-raising and consensus-building around the European Green Deal: less than half of the respondents felt that they were familiar with the European Green Deal as a whole. Even more concerning is the fact that government stakeholders and regulators are the least familiar with it – with less than four in ten saying they are familiar with the European Green Deal.

− The need to see through the implementation of the European Green Deal beyond the mandate of the current Com-mission, with seven out of 10 respondents believing that the Green Deal implementation will not be finished by 2024.”

Charveriat C. and Holme C. (2021). European Green Deal Barometer 2021. Institute for European Environmental Policy and GlobeScan, Brussels and Paris.

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World Location Day

“Think global, act local” is one of the slogans launched years ago to indicate that we are all connected to each other. Covid19 is perhaps the clearest example of what this slogan means.

Localization is about bringing the economy home–back to a human scale. It is the process of building economic structures that allow the goods and services a community needs to be produced locally and regionally whenever possible. Localizing economies can strengthen community cohesion and lead to greater human health and material wellbeing, all while reducing pollution and the degradation of the natural world. It is not about isolationism or putting an end to international trade. It is simply about rebuilding human-scale economic structures by producing what we need closer to home.

Perhaps it will be possible to understand the concept better and more concretely from the World Location Day, which will be held again this year from 15th to 20th June.

In 2020, people from 172 countries tuned into World Localization Day, which included contributions from Noam Chomsky, Russell Brand, Vandana Shiva and many others.

World Localization Day is an unmissable opportunity to understand, discover, and learn ways of life and solutions to organize a life based on the principles of connection and diversity.

More info: https://worldlocalizationday.org/

Video: https://worldlocalizationday.org/localization/

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Zero Pollution Action Plan (ZPAP)

We have a European plan to tackle pollution of the air, water and soil! Good intentions are laid out over 22 pages. If we were not in a highly critical situation, we would be filled with joy to see this action plan that the European Commission has sent to the Parliament and the Council. In summary: we know there is a problem and we have decided to tackle it at the European level.

The zero pollution targets for 2030

Under  EU  law,  Green  Deal  ambitions  and  in  synergy  with  other  initiatives,  by  2030  the  EU should reduce:

1. by more than 55% the health impacts (premature deaths) of air pollution;

2. by 30% the share of people chronically disturbed by transport noise;

3. by 25% the EU ecosystems where air pollution threatens biodiversity;

4. by 50% nutrient losses, the use and risk of chemical pesticides, the use of the more hazardous ones, and the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture;

5. by 50% plastic litter at sea and by 30% microplastics released into the environment;

6. significantly total waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste.

And for the soil:

Furthermore,  the  proposed ‘’Mission  in  the  area  of  Soil  Health  and  Food’, together with the agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP AGRI), will promote the wide-spread uptake of  practices  for  pesticide  and  nutrient  reduction  by  promoting  innovations  and exchange  of knowledge. 

It  will  aim  to  ensuring  that,  by  2030,  75%  of  soils  are  healthy,  also  thanks  to  a specific objective on reducing soil pollution and enhancing restoration. As  part  of  the  upcoming EU  soil  strategy,   the  Commission  will  develop  measures  to significantly increase efforts to identify, investigate, assess and remediate contaminated sites, so that  by  2050  soil  pollution  will  no  longer  pose  a  health or  environmental  risk.  New  soil contamination  should  be  prevented  as  much  as  possible,  but  when  it  occurs  despite  preventive and  other  measures,  the  risks  should  be  immediately  addressed.  An  estimated  2.8  million  sites are  potentially  contaminated  across  the  EU,  of  which 390000  are  expected  to  require remediation.  

By  2018,  only  some  65500  sites  were  reported  to  have  been  remediated.  It  is crucial that all Member States have a register for (potentially) contaminated sites, step up efforts to  remediate  such  sites  and  develop  clear  criteria  to  prioritise  decontamination.  The  upcoming proposal  for  legally  binding EU  nature  restoration  targets will  consider  addressing  the restoration  of  degraded  soil  ecosystems.  The  Commission  will  also  develop  an  EU  priority watch list for soil contaminants as well as guidance, e.g. for a passport for the safe, sustainable and  circular  use  of  excavated  soils based  on  Member  State  experiences  where  they  exist.  To better  understand  the  issue  of  diffuse  soil  pollution  in  the  EU, the  Commission  will  work towards  integrating  a zero  pollution  module in  the  future LUCAS  [Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey] soil  survey.  The availability  and  awareness  of  public  and  private  funding  options  for  identifying,  investigating and remediating contaminated soils will be promoted and facilitated.