The Elter family lives in a small village that is part of the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Italian Alps. The family produces local organic foods and manages a very small bed & breakfast hotel, which is fully dependent on tourism and in particular on the famous ice climbing opportunities in the region.
The family is not only witnessing glacial melting, but also significant temperature changes. The father Giorgio, a forest engineer, has been observing the temperature increase and explaining that the regional herbs and plants exclusive to elevations of >1500m do not bloom any more, or bloom much too early due to increasing temperatures. As the local seeds and crops that are used by the family are very sensitive to the temperature increases, the family has experienced a decrease in production, as well as higher production costs, quantifiable as a loss of between 20 and 30% of revenue. Their hotel business, which is dependent on ice climbing, is also at risk, because any alteration in temperature makes ice climbing dangerous and obliviates this tourist magnet.
Science proves that the climate impacts in the region will get worse if no further measures are taken. The father, Giorgio, explains what his livelihood means to him and why his family are initiating this legal action: “We cannot live and work in a territory where environmental protection is valued due to the presence of the Gran Paradiso National Park, whilst remaining silent to the impacts of climate change, which are putting the future of our children in danger.
The melting of glaciers, which are our important reserve of fresh water and our only income during the winter season, doesn’t just affect us; together with the temperature increases, it is also causing significant damage to agricultural activities downstream. These concrete examples of how climate change is affecting our daily lives make us worry for the future of our children.
For us, this legal action is very important to raise awareness among our decision makers and supranational institutions on the need to take more radical actions and measures to stop these impacts before they become irreversible and it is too late for all of us.”
Please contact Legambiente to reach out to the family.