Meet Otto, a protected Eurasian otter who is just one of the many animals that share Abruzzo’s last undammed river the Aventino with man. Both he and local businesses need our help to stay on and by the river and the latter are offering experiences and holidays in exchange for donations to help save their river.
Successful eco-tourism, restaurant, and food businesses alongside the Aventino have shown it is possible to secure a future that doesn’t necessitate economic migration. By working hard to preserve the Aventino Valley as an area of outstanding beauty and harness its natural resources, locals and refugees have gained work whilst local school children are employed in the summer to help foster skills and bolster their piggy bank.
In 2015 after a 3-year battle the Superior Tribunal aeque Public (Superior Court of Public Waters) ruled in favour of locals from the small comunes of Lama dei Peligni and Civitella Messer Raimondo to preserve the oasis where Otto and locals live in happy tandem and stop the planned building of a hydroelectric dam.
The judge ruled that the collective behind the dam that includes Idroelettrica Val Gleris Srl and the larger nearby comune Gessopalena should pay all legal costs in full, but these have been left unpaid, instead the collective has gone to appeal aware that if there are no funds left by locals to pay legal costs it will probably win.
This is a David and Goliath fight that pits unlimited corporate cash and bigger richer comunes to bulldoze through projects against small business owners and communes with limited monetary resources. Life in Abruzzo is working with those in the valley to help crowdfund their appeal to ensure that the valley is represented fairly at the appeal stage, can you please help, depending on what you donate you will be offered a holiday, dinner or rafting experience in return!
This tiered exchange includes rafting, 1-night and 1-week’s accommodation, dinner, and walking tours in the valley and on the coast for between 2 and 6 people. This is responsible tourism at its best that ensures all those that share the Aventino River are able to remain.
These examples below illustrate what is offered to 2 people in return for investing in the battle to preserve the Aventino Valley, check the crowdfunding page for what is available for 4 or more people who donate.
Your donations will pay for the new ‘appeal’ barrister that has been employed for when this case goes to the court of appeal on December 7th 2016 and all associated court costs. The current lower estimate of this and court fees is €12,000 and the historic €6000 in unpaid fees by the collective from the superior court.
Angelo Brigante from the Abruzzo Tourist Board said that despite hard economic conditions eco-tourism continues to grow and produce ongoing positive results with a national turnover in Italy of €11.8 billion in 2014.
Abruzzo’s rich diversity and wealth of natural habitats and eco-systems is unique in Europe and has allowed the region to excel and become the leader in the field of eco-tourism in Italy, with the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (PNALM), the favoured No. 1 ‘green’ destination for Italians.
“Green tourism provides vital oxygen to Abruzzo’s rural villages but its ongoing success is dependent on certainty, the excellence and upkeep of its resources through continued investment” believes Ecotur President, Enzo Giammarino.
The Aventino river starts at 950 masl on Monte Porrara on the eastern edge of the Majella National Park. It is 45 km long and flows through the province of Chieti across the communes of Palena, Lettopalena, Taranta Peligna, Colledimacine, Lama dei Peligni, Gessopalena, Civitella Messer Raimondo and Casoli on its way to Lake Sant’Angelo (Lake Casoli).
The Aventino valley attracts more than 5,000 tourists a year.
The famous Rio Verde that supplies the water to Abruzzo’s famous pasta companies of Fara San Martino is a tributary of the Aventino River.
Solar power is cleaner and cheaper than hydroelectric power and produces less environmental risks. Damming rivers impacts local habitats and ecosystems by damaging water quality and dangerous sediment build-up. This can lead to devastating flooding, changes in flow patterns and problems with fish migration.
Sam is a very lucky midlife mama to A who is 6 and she works as a self-employed freelance travel and food web content manager and copywriter. She is currently writing the book 'Abruzzo: Folk and Food.
She is the co-founder of the social enterprises: The Abruzzo Blogger Community and Let's Blog Abruzzo.
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