Abridged and reworked version by GSV of Luigi Casanova’s report on the peaceful demonstration held on Sunday, 19 July. Luigi Casanova is Honorary President of MW Italy.
On July 19, more than a hundred members of local committees, environmental NGOs, Italian Alpine Club (CAI), as well as private citizens gathered in Cortina – despite the heavy restrictions imposed by the Questura (police headquarters) of Belluno – to demonstrate against the devastating effects of the so called “infrastructure improvements” in view of the World Alpine Ski Championships in 2021. The demonstration took place in “static” form, a restriction aimed at preventing citizens to see with their own eyes how the area is being destroyed.
Today the Tofane slopes are studded with “construction sites”, many of which are unnecessary: no demolition of old useless infrastructures, just extensive land use and devastation. To this aim European legislation on the Natura 2000 protected areas network, the Birds and Habitats Directives, the European Landscape Convention, the Alpine Convention – in 5 out of 9 of its Protocols (Soil conservation, Forests, Nature protection and landscape conservation, Transport, Tourism) – have been violated. Besides, also art. 9 (landscape protection) and art. 118 (institutions should promote participatory processes) of the Italian Constitutional Charter have been contravened.
Restrictions imposed by the Belluno Police Headquarters against the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully sets a dangerous precedent that deprives citizens of fundamental democratic rights.
The presence of so many active citizens, under the heading “Not in my name”, is an invitation to engage in the protection of the natural environment on behalf of younger generations and voiceless future ones. Mountains teach us respect. They are our common good. Preserving and protecting the environment and preventing further land use is a duty we owe to future generations.
Now NGOs will continue collecting proofs of non-compliance with the above EU legislation, which they will then submit to the European Union as well as to Sports Federations. What is happening in Cortina clearly shows what Alpine environmentalism, supported by extensive documentation, has always claimed: the Alps are unsuitable for hosting major international sports events.
Links to further articles (in Italian) and pictures of “infrastructure improvements” in view of Cortina 2021 World Alpine Ski Championships and Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics:
Full version of Luigi Casanova’s report: