Just in the last few weeks, parts of the Romagna bioregion in Northcentral Italy recieved 3/4 of the total average annual rainfall in a few 48-hour periods. 23 rivers that cross the Appenine Mountains to the Adriatic sea,
one of the most productive agricultural regions in Europe, broke their banks to flood major cities, farms and orchards in the lower parts of the region. You may have seen a little soundbite on this in your local paper or news program, things like this BBC spot or this article by The Guardian, but obviously as we all know tragedies seem so ubiquitous these days the news cycle quickly turns over. Thousands are homeless, our governor estimates damage to homes and crops will reach “billions” and many people and livestock lost their lives. This photo shows just some of the multiple mudslides on our property, some of them where whole parts of the mountainside slid away:
This is part of a worsening climate disaster. The Guardian article calls this “the worst flooding in 100 years.” It’s true, this road that’s connected our rural community San Giovanni in Scquarzarolo to the village of Cusercoli since before WWI just washed away. Long term damage to infrastructure, especially in the upper parts of the bioregion, will not subside with the floodwaters. Should we focus on how extraordinary this is like the news or should we consider the possibility that events like this will increasingly become ordinary? While most headlines will focus for a short time on the swollen rivers and rain today, our rural municipality is one of the hardest hit by major mudslides which will leave lasting damage in an area already impacted by depopulation and industrialization of agriculture. Helicopters lift people from their homes and leave animals and crops behind, burning more fossil fuel which caused the climate emergency to begin with. Local government is overwhelmed and purely in reactive mode to head off further damage and liability. The question is: will we wait for the government to come fix these roads and reconnect us to each other or will we take this opportunity to build new community infrastructure from the ground up? Will we build up like before or build out together, as farmers, beekeepers, retirees, immigrants, and rural people to weave a more resilient bioregion together?
Many people have asked what they can do to help. We have already started cleaning up. We don’t want to ask for money for our farm because we believe in supporting the greater good in situations like this one. Our road connects several families and farms to the village, just like many others in our area, and our first step is to ask for your support to rebuild this road. We are still assessing what it will take to design, plan, and rebuild. One of the farms above the slide with us has a large excavator and an experienced driver willing to help. The local municipality has told us they may come to look at the road at some point, but have so many emergencies and financial pressures they don’t know how long that will take, luckily a few months.
So we are asking for your donations to help us pay for professionals, engineers, materials, and fuel to help us rebuild this road in the rural community. Anything beyond our immediate need will go to other roads in our bioregion. Help us link back local communities that feed and sustain Romagna by clicking on the donate button and sharing today. We have another parallel campaign in euros for those readers in Europe, but unfortunately the fees and taxes on that money is higher so we are appealing to foreign donors using a US account.