Devastating climate change, but there is also a cultural problem

Devastating climate change, but there is also a cultural problem
Devastating climate change, but there is also a cultural problem

“Impressive numbers, in the last 72 hours rainfall has been recorded which in the annual average is relative to 6 months. And the effects are devastating ”Michele Orifici, vice president of the Italian Society of Environmental Geology (SIGEA), told Fanpage.it about what is happening in Sicily at the moment. Undoubtedly, the fault lies with climate change, but there is also a cultural problem on which politics itself should act with targeted initiatives.

From North to South, the bad weather that has hit Italy in recent days has exposed a fragile territory. The landslides in Liguria, the increasingly frequent tornadoes, the roads that turn into rivers in Syracuse and today in Catania have highlighted the criticalities of a country in a state of neglect on which the effects of climate change clearly seem to weigh . But not only.
What risks our country runs and the necessary interventions we talked about with the vice president of the Italian Society of Environmental Geology (SIGEA), Michele Orifici:

“Impressive numbers, in the last 72 hours rainfall has been recorded which in the annual average are relative to 6 months. These are very high numbers, concentrated in such a short period of time it is clear that the effects are devastating”.

Are they the effects of climate change?

Absolutely. They are the effects of climate change. Rains are increasingly concentrated in very short intervals of time, then for a long time it does not rain, but on the contrary in Sicily in particular we come out of a long period of drought with very high temperatures, among other things the fires have devastated most of the territories of this region. Now these heavy rains are causing a lot of damage.

What impact can this situation have in the future?

We will go more and more in this direction. The data relating to climate change speak for themselves: we will increasingly go towards higher temperatures, long periods of drought, followed by these torrential rains which unfortunately also lead to the death of people, as happened today.

What are the major risks for Italy?

Italy is a country that from the hydrogeological point of view is among the most exposed of all. In recent decades, and we continue to record, we have recorded excessive land consumption: areas that are heavily urbanized and that give less and less permeable surface to rainwater in order to be absorbed by the ground. So the waters tend to drain more and more superficially. This also has consequences on the water reserves because the aquifers do not recharge with the right balance and over time and in long periods of drought we go to ‘suffer’ from this point of view.

Also a cultural problem?

This is also a cultural problem which over time has been underestimated and which has led us to a critical situation. Because the problem is no longer just that of a manhole that is not cleaned. But it is something bigger. First of all, people need to become aware of this situation. Because people still keep dying. Now it can happen that a person is in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes and not always there are people who go to cross a ford and a tragedy can happen. In these cases it is a lack of awareness. So we must enter into a self-defense perspective. Be aware that we are in a phase of climate change with immediate and devastating effects. So when it rains with this intensity we must avoid assuming attitudes that can be dangerous.

What should politics do?

Politics must take initiatives that have an impact on people’s cultural change: therefore, work with a view to prevention and civil protection. As far as structural interventions are concerned, there is much talk of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and of funds linked to hydrogeological instability. Targeted actions must be taken to try to restore a devastated territory; therefore we need executive projects, something that the municipalities often fail to have because the budgets do not allow it. So to put the administrations in the conditions of being able to do it, perhaps with the revolving funds also to create a project that goes from the perspective of environmental protection and naturalistic engineering, and to evaluate what are the effects of a territory that is modified. The techniques that are used must serve to mitigate the danger and risk that looms in a specific area.

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