Fall…in love

Every year since many a friend of mine is organising a three-days super-alcoholic trekking in Val Grande, a largest wilderness area by Lake Maggiore in Piedmont, Italy.

This is a chance to find old and new friends, and to dip into the forests, the streams, the sharp rocks into our own soul..

Sometimes the chosen weekend was rainy, other times we found snow, and sometimes the weather, the colours and the atmosphere can be superb. The last edition everything was super!!!

I used to be every day or very often in the forest, and I loved it. I love Fall in beech forests, the red leaves and the silver stems.. Now I am not spending so much time out there, compared to the time I spend in front of a computer that’s nothing. And I believe I not only miss it, but Really miss some substance that view can generate.. I would volunteer if anybody wants to study what it is so special for our brain to be with trees, and water streams and colours..otherwise, I will do all I can to make that much more present in my next life..

Ready for globalisation of.. inequality and injustice?

The large majority of global population across different economies live in highly inequal, individualistic and nondemocratic societies, far away from reaching, if they ever will, even the basic rights that our grandparents and ancestors have fought for the last centuries, and we’re taking for granted. Most of these people dont know anything else than inequality. They cannot react because either they don’t have any access to information nor any decision power, or they are brutally forced into this condition or they are brainwashed by the so-called “soda” dream. Even educated and wealthy people from these societies are not reacting to the shame of it and are so used to inequality that they just seek for their own wealth. If globalization will mean the averaging of these conditions across all societies, the life we know will never survive.

People in this green heaven called Europe are scared about human beings migration. They don’t understand that the real danger is goods migration, i.e. globalization. Goods produced violating human rights and earth carrying capacity are reaching our houses every day and every where spreading inequality, injustice and tyranny, every second we accept and buy them.

The idea of sustainable development is clashing against the wall of inequality trap. Democratic processes have an overhead cost that is not convenient.

We won’t be able to stop it or defend our little Eden here, if we don’t endorse and pursue sustainable production and consumption!

A crystal ball for coffee farmers in Jimma, Ethiopia (?)

In August 2017, my trip to Jimma was the third since 2015. I have been working for two projects aiming to understand the potential effects of climate changes on local ecosystems and livelihood. In Jimma mountain areas, farmers produce coffee (Arabica coffee) in the traditional, organic way in the forest, and so doing they protect the forest. My role in the project was a mix of storytelling facilitation and quantitative analysis. In facts, through a series of workshops I engaged local farmers and officers into exploring possible alternative responses to the challenges they could face in the next decades, and create “scenario stories” around alternative future outcomes.

Maize fields

the Didessa river, affluent of the Blue Nile, and the riparian forest

Coffee naturally growing as forest understory

This  could look easy for an expert, but it isn’t at all for people used to think about their land and resources by a different perspective…first of all not from the sky as in a projected map! Developing the stories had already been a difficult task, and the starting point was making the workshop participants imaging stories about their children’s future rather than theirs!

In the final workshop, I even wanted to show the participants the land use maps I simulated after translating their stories , and discuss with them about potential costs and benefits of each alternative. But how could I make the results of my analyses understandable for the local beneficiaries?

Women group

Men group

To compare the present reality with imaginary futures, I knew that the usual land maps would not be the best option, since they simplify the reality and often represent it with colours that are not so meaningful, while people better understand the landscapes they are used to see everyday around them.. so I needed to use pictures, from the farmers villages areas, edit them and… create the future landscapes!

Well, results could be better with a bit of extra time, but indeed it seems working!!


Once upon a time…

After many months of silence, I felt the need to write again. I did it, recalling one of the latest strange and exciting thing happened to me. Just one page, a title, and I sent it to a radio program called Pascal, where stories from the audience are read by the nice voice of Matteo Caccia. Last Friday while walking back home from a very depressing and frustrating working week, I received the phone call from the program editor assistant. They liked my story and they would read it the following week, and invited me for a phone interview!!!

My story was about an incredible coincidence, showing how close is the world and how easily we can connect with people!While on a plan from Addis Abeba to Jimma, I met a guy from Jimma, we started to talk and we discovered that we had a common friend in Italy!!!!! and more, that he was going to Italy after 3 weeks, same as me!!!, and he was going to visit his friend in Ispra!! And then, he invited me and my colleague for a “coffee ceremony”  at his place, with his family and friends. That was one of the greatest times I have had during my traveling in Africa, and it confirmed my love for the Ethiopian people and their country! After a month we were all having dinner at my place in Ispra. So, here it is  the full story !!

Then I thought that I have so many stories to tell! I’ve been so lucky to have the chance of doing different jobs and lives, and of experiencing so many wonderful and peculiar conditions,  I almost forget how unusual they are for most people.

I wanna start another chapter on this blog, a collection of stories about the many adventures I have lived. And I will start first from the spin-offs, or actually the mainstream stories, of the exceptional event of Jimma.

What was I doing in Ethiopia and why?






Kupanda kilima


Jumapili jana mimi, Flavio na Abdhul tumepanda kilima cha “Sasso del ferro”, karibu na Laveno. Abdhul anatoka Unguja, kisiwa moja katika Zanzibar. Abdhul amepanda kilima mara la kwanza. Anajua Unguja na Pemba tu, na Dar es Salaam na Mombasa kidogo. Katika Unguja kilima hamna. Amefika UItalia baadaye ya vitu vingi vibaya…
Saturday I climbed Sasso del ferro with Flavio and Abdhul. He’s from Unguja, in Zanzibar archipelagos, the island where people where waiting (=Unguja) ..people where waiting to be embarked on boats to reach south est Asia as slaves. Nowadays slavery has been abolished on the paper, but it is still a reality in many places.

It was the first time for Abdhul to climb a mountain. Abdhul comes from Unguja, a flat coral island, and only knows Pemba, the other Zanzibar island, and very little Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, from where he reached Italy. He came by plane, not by boat through the Mediterranean Sea. But he had already lived the hell before departing. He hasn’t gone to school, he lost his parents, he had to buy his life in a way nobody would like to…side by side the rich lodges for tourists, many Italians, visiting the popular island.

He came here through Norway. He wants to stay in Italy because “baadaye ya miwaka tano, labda kumi,..baadaye”..after some years, maybe 5 or 10, but later, he could go back to his island and work there with dignity, speaking Italian with tourists, hosting them in a guest house.
He is one of the guy you can meet around the street, with his phone. The only contact with his home. Despite the horror he has lived at his place he’s still very attached to it. In Italy it is very rare to find someone speaking Kiswahili. At first he was lost. He doesn’t know any English or French, though he comes from a tourist island. That was not for him. He wasn’t asked to speak.
He didn’t escape from a war, or from famine or religious persecution. He flew something that is the normality for millions people in the world, sad to say. The poverty trap, the new slavery eating your dignity: you have to do anything for survival. He’s here for a better life. The same as me going and working in Tanzania, traveling across the country and enjoying the mountains, the plans, the lakes and the wildlife.
His story is one of the many different or similar stories of people arriving here. Many others have died on the same routes. Many haven’t found the NGOs at their arrival, but for decades they’ve come in the hands of our southern criminal organisations.
It is very difficult to judge the current situation and Italian response. In Italy you can only be “communist or fascist”..too emotional or not at all. But the reality is complicated, as usual. Some people are trying to do their job in a good way, respecting the regulations and human rights. Other people are just taking advantage of the situation as in any other business..and not all the people arriving here from anywhere in the world since decades would deserve to stay and get help… But nobody takes the responsibility to say “this is good and this is bad”, ” we accept people coming for a better life, x amount very year, regularly, etc..”, and when someone does it, he’s called a fascist. But there are two separate issues here, the human traffic and the Italian politics.

We’re 60 millions, we shouldn’t worry about 150,000 people more each year. . If there is enough job for 60 millions, then there is for the others. If we are able to make 60 millions civil citizens, healthy and educated , respecting the rules and the people rights, then it’s not a problem to extend it to another handful of people. So if conditions aren’t good for 60 millions, it is not because of those few people arriving by boat. The migration fad is just for distracting us from the real issues.  And from our responsabilities. Stopping the human traffic is a human right and police matter. Making Italy a stronger country for 60 millions and so able to integrate newcomers without much effort is another matter, it is political and it is about competence.

Changes and challenges

Global warming and climate change doesn’t only mean “it’s gonna be hotter”. Increase of greenhouse gases emissions and global average temperature rise are producing and will produce several effects, including ice sheets loss, ocean and air circulation changes, extreme events such as floods, draught and snowfalls, which could be translated in less food security, less coffee in the morning, more people losing their houses and migrating, changes in diseases, changes in tourism attractivity, etc.. These may lead positive or negative consequences at local scale, but globally they are likely to create big troubles.

Mt Rosa and the near lakes are an example of big changes occurred on earth, the lakes basin being created by the glaciers hundreds thousands years ago. Changes have always happened on planet earth and always will. What put us at risk now is the rapidity of changes and our overall vulnerability, given we depend on very limited resources. Some people and some places are more vulnerable than others, but I think it’s clear to everybody that we don’t live in a vacuum and we’re all connected. We are at risk, not the planet. If hurricanes were god’s, then Trump wouldn’t dare saying “America first”. However, it can still be the second. As we have been using our capacity to modify the environment to the point of challenging our species survival, we can, and have to, use this capacity to reduce the risks and be prepared to them.
This is not just a matter of attending a march, but could involve a thorough mindset shift. Our society has mistaken wealth with possession and civilisation with productivity.
Economy is only the means of living, while ecology is the rationale of living. Someone could say that economy makes our life better. Yes and no. Is that true across the world population? Will it be across generations?
Climate change has become a big umbrella under which other challenges have gone in the background and are striving to get attention. But climate change is also under another big umbrella that many philosophers have addressed since long time. The rationale of life, the ethics of life. While this would take great effort and time to be tackled at planet level, yet we can’t miss this opportunity, and heal only the symptoms or proximate causes.  (inspired by MtRosa view from a plane, I swear I’ll stop flying!!)

“Il futuro non nasce da solo”


Rubo questa bella frase dal sito della Fondazione Feltrinelli, nel giorno dell’inaugurazione del loro nuovo spazio culturale, pubblico, aperto, innovativo, costruttivo, ispirante, (anche se ancora non ci sono andata).. e remunerativo. SI! Non si tratta del solito circolo di cooperativa dove pagano i lavoratori con rimborsi dei biglietti del tram e si creano illusioni che non portano a niente..per quanto siano spazi per i giovani etc..
Ecco qui un investitore che fa qualcosa con un chiaro intento culturale/commerciale, ma anche di ritorno commerciale/culturale. Certo, facile quando ti chiami Feltrinelli. Ma poteva anche farci dei loft per festini con sesso e droga..
Non è che fare soldi , generarli, richiamarli, sia sbagliato. La moneta di scambio è alla base della nostra società sedentaria e credo ci vorrà motlo tempo per approdare ad altro. E’ sbagliato quando per genare denaro si fa del male ad altri, se ne calpestano i diritti. Qui sembra si vada ancora oltre, a creare benefici e sviluppo. C’è questa nuova tendenza in alcuni imprenditori. Ed è un bene.

Se si pensasse che gli imprenditori sono solo i cattivi, e i veri lavoratori solo i buoni, mi preoccuperei.  Se si pensasse che i soldi vanno investiti in lavoro concreto e non sviluppo di idee, che poteva dare un aumento ai suoi impiegati per esempio invece di spendere tutto in ristrutturazione. Mi preoccuperei ancora di più. Perché un giorno qualcuno potrebbe mettere in dubbio l’esistenza e il supporto di lavori che non producono niente, di tangibile, se non conoscenza, informazioni e idee. Insomma, quello che faccio io, e tanti come me.

Non c’entra niente questo con Feltrinelli? bò non so, mi è venuto così.