Fridays For Future members mobilise around Italy to protest climate change following the Romagna disaster

Fridays for Future members holding signs that read "this is not just rain this is a climate crisis"

EMILIA ROMAGNA–“It’s not rain, It’s a climate crisis” read the signs being held up by members of Fridays for Future which is a youth-led global climate strike movement outraged by the recent natural disasters in Italy. 

 The members of Fridays for Future are carrying more than signs as they protest the climate crisis, they also bring with them shovels and equipment to collect the debris and mud in Romagna as well as Friuli Venezia Giulia two places recently struck by floods leaving much structural damage but also more than 13 dead. 

 Their goal is to denounce the dramatic consequences of the increase in global temperatures and their link with emissions derived from fossil fuels. Aurora Piva, a student belonging to a local group from Forlì spoke to the media saying: “Even if the situation has calmed down there are still damages, dead and wounded, for the first time I felt fear in my body. This was the confirmation that the emergency is not far away. Today it hit me, tomorrow it will hit you and the day after tomorrow another person – she said – Anyone who wants to be close to us can take to the streets to demonstrate and ask the government to act immediately.” 

 She herself had to flee her apartment on the ground floor and has asked friends to shovel water and earth, "now hardened", in one of the streets of the city. 

 The protests are happening around the whole country, in Bologna young people put up banners and billboards in the rain and then went to aid in Monterenzio by shoveling up dirt and cleaning the city. 

 They also wrote a post on their Instagram which said “There are few words to describe what is happening in these times. We feel concerned for our citizens and our territories, who are experiencing this crisis without the right tools to deal with it. We wonder who will take care of them, who will bring about justice for the loss and devastation, and who will take care to prevent more. We express our Solidarity to the victims and their families - they concluded - we are close to you in pain, in discouragement, and above all in anger".

 In cities further away from the affected areas, Fridays for Future members are also protesting.  Gioia Giusti one of the leaders of the FFF and pianist, addressed a crowd in Massa saying  "Extreme phenomena of rainfall and drought are two sides of the same coin The goal is to respond to the statements of public figures who trivialize the misfortunes of these days by calling them bad weather and to ask politics to assume the responsibility to act. The problem of water "is capillary and must also be tackled locally, starting from the consumption of the soil and from the industries that exploit this increasingly rare common good for their own profit." 

 “In Massa and Camara the movement is mainly aimed at the marble industry” Giusti explained, “which corrodes the karst system and pours marble dust into the beds of rivers which are thus "asphalted", causing enormous hydrogeological damage and local biodiversity, as well as economic damage that falls on the shoulders of citizenship. For this reason, we will display a banner with the inscription “We draw water”.

Also in Trieste miles away, solidarity for the victims of the floods was demonstrated by local people. Pietro Prizzi who is the local person to contact for the FFF said “We have a banner in front of the Rai-Friuli Venezia Giulia headquarters, to reiterate that what happened in Emilia Romagna, as well as in the Marche and Campania months ago, it is an expression against the climate crisis. Time is running out and the effects are being seen here too, with fires, drought, and very dry rivers, which made it seem like summer, while we were in the middle of winter”. 

The environmentalists of Pavia Voghera have also organized a garrison under the town hall of the Lombard provincial capital Francesca Elisa Fabbro explained “we will carry out interventions to stop the overbuilding in the suburbs and soil consumption in green areas, an issue on which we have worked with the citizens' committees and associations I knew that sooner or later such a disaster would happen in Italy, but I never expected it to be so disastrous.  I am becoming increasingly angry because those who govern us have done nothing to prevent hydrogeological instability and continue to invest badly in fossil fuels. We at Fridays must also focus on concrete actions to stop this from happening.”

 The Fridays for Future movement has been studying the water problem for a while and, also thanks to the cooperation of environmental professional members, has developed several proposals for the mitigation of the extreme outcomes. Emilio Ragno, forestry doctor and Fridays Bari activist said that they have identified three main issues “ The first is the stop the soil consumption, which has made hundreds of kilometers of land impermeable. Then there is the renaturalization of the environment. After the umpteenth tragedy, there is still talk of cleaning the riverbeds, when since the post-war period, in Northern Italy, the banks of many rivers have been cemented. To slow down the water flow and allow it to recharge the aquifers – he explains – vegetation is also necessary, trees too.  Thirdly point, we must mitigate rainfall and prevent it from falling violently on the ground and being weighed down by the Earth. So when it flows into rivers, without mud, it becomes less devastating".