From the 19th to the 28th of April 2019, IMEDD Monaco organized in the framework of the project « Rose, The Princess of The Environment », the « Expedition of the Planet », which was an environmental, culture and heritage trip shared on Social Media from Monaco to Naples, passing through the Italian Cities of Ventimiglia, Genova, Pisa, Firenze, Rome and Naples. The whole expedition has been compensated for its CO2 emissions thanks to the tree planting project led by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
The goal of this trip was to strengthen the relationships between Monaco and Italy around the issues of environment, sustainable development and future generations in a pleasant way, through social media sharing and also to strengthen the close relationships between the two countries (Monaco and Italy) due to their common history as part of the Ancient Kingdoms of France and Italy.
The goal of the « Expedition of the Planet » was to reach the Volcano the Vesuvius which is beside Naples in Italy, a massive stratovolcano with a terrible past of explosive eruptions (mostly on the cities of Herculanum and Pompei).
IMEDD’s observations on the Vesuvius…
During the « Expedition of the Planet », IMEDD noticed that some hills of the Vesuvius were covered by burnt trees. Some of these burnt trees could maybe be related to the 20th century eruption of the volcano, considering how the trees are broken into pieces. However, it seems that some fields of trees are just burnt trees, probably due to forests fires (accidents or not; here is not the question).
The thing is that those burnt trees do not play anymore their role of trees. As they are burnt, they don’t produce oxygen and don’t capt CO2; they don’t play their role of habitat for the local biodiversity (birds, insects, small animals…) and the worst is that those burnt trees won’t assume in future their role to hold the soil in its right place, meaning that more than a risk of new volcanic eruption, we also have a risk of landslides on the population places. If ever a big storm of rain occured, the soil mostly composed of ash from the volcano, could slide, with all the burnt trees, because their burnt roots are not well enough anchored in the ground anymore.
IMEDD’s interviews on the Vesuvius…
During the « Expedition of the Planet », IMEDD had the opportunity to have interviews with several persons committed in the public environmental affairs of the region Campania and The Vesuvius, and they explained that 300 hectares of forests had burnt and that today, only 3 to 9 hectares of trees would maybe be replaced, hopefully (the projet is still in discussion). The Vesuvius Park is also part of the World Interest Utility, UNESCO heritage… meaning that some actions need to be undertaken on the volcano in a framework of sustainable development and with exemplarity.
IMEDD’s vision: union around the Vesuvius…
There are two solutions:
- the first is to consider the Vesuvius as an Italian Volcano due to its localization; leave Italy deal with its volcano and landslides risks and all consequences on economy, social and environment.
- the second is to consider that each country of the World is concerned about the Vesuvius due to its international recognition in terms of interest; that the Naples Area is a business place for Europe and the World and that Europe is concerned due to the environmental risks of this volcano and surroundings; because, if it ever happens something at the Naples Volcano, it won’t only be the Naples region that will have big problems but the whole Europe, its economy and its people.
Obviously, the second solution is the only one that has to be considered: a global environmental union for the Vesuvius. When we seriously think about all the environmental impacts that could occur in the Naples region, the South of Italy and Europe, the time is not to talk anymore about if it will happen or on the how… We all know that it will. We need to prepare, mostly by educating people to the risks and taking measures to limit the impacts of the risks, knowing that the risk of eruption is also related to a risk of tsunami in the Naples Bay and in the Mediterranean Sea.
- First, considering the Eruption/Tsunami Plan, though the Vesuvius is one of the most monitored volcano by the scientists of the world, we need to make the science knowledge and the evacuation plans more visible for people and build those plans in an international framework, due to the number of tourists from all around the world who come and visit the region. As far as IMEDD saw during its environmental trip on the Vesuvius, most of the tourists see this mountain as a tourist attraction (like if they visited a monument) and though they see a crater, they are not aware enough that they are on a volcano, or maybe, they find it unreal to be on the top of a volcano, and all this causes a big lack of awareness). The evacuation routes for the volcano or tsunami disasters must be clarified on sites too.
- Second, we need to consider the issue of the trees to stabilize the grounds. The Vesuvius must be considered as a priority because its hills are at risk of landslides and we can’t deforest for no good reason (nor building, nor new roads…). The whole place needs to be left as wild as possible to play at its best, its natural role.
Considering the tree planting, the thing is that the question is about replacing burnt trees on a volcano that could, at any time, explode and burn the new trees, meaning that we would invest in trees with a risk of destiny to be burnt in a forest fire or an eruption. If we consider that a price of 9 millions euros is announced for 3 to 9 hectares of trees, it’s an unaffordable price for 300 hectares, however trees are needed on the Vesuvius.
- Third, considering the risk of impact on the population and on businesses, we need to understand that from day to day, all the activities of tour operators, cruise boats, tourism businesses, restaurants, hotels, planes…. will be stopped in the whole region and even further, and that a big part of the region will not be accessible for a long time.
- Fourth, we also need to understand that, when an eruption occurs, the human losses happen for different reasons. Yes, the volcano, its ash, its lava, its burning stones, falling pumices and pyroclastic flows… but there are also two other killers:
- the ash that falls in the water or the water that feed mud fields and landslides. It creates lahars, big rivers of mud and stones all mixed together and they destroy everything on their path. The water also gets contaminated, the water and food supply becomes difficult and we can have local starvation (even nowdays, as a zone can remain unacessible for a moment of time).
- the gases: volcanos can release gigantic amount of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere which are two toxic gases for human beings. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a silent killer, you don’t smell the gas but it kills you. Sulfur dioxide is even worse, you burn from the inside of your body like if you drank pure acid. We have on earth some reports in Africa with hundreds of people killed during their sleep by the gases of a volcano that covered a massive region. The risks of gases are very serious to take into account for prevention (gases masks, protection clothes in special material to avoid the contact of sulfur dioxide with the skin, underground shelters with autonomous oxygen and filtration of air systems). We also have a testimony in Martinica (France), saying that a man who was in an underground jail made of stones survived the pyroclastic flow that fell on the city of Saint Pierre, though he was a bit burnt.
The story of the past shows us that if we combine all our knowledge, analysis, researches, storytelling, we can reduce the impacts of a natural disaster and save many people, with information systems, protection and also survival behaviours. We also need to understand that our World Society is just at the beginning of its work to try to face those catastrophic events and us, the people, we are not ready at all if such a terrible event occured tomorrow. This is why we, the human beings, are at high risks even though the scientists monitor the risks.
The Vesuvius needs help…
At this stage and considering the risks, IMEDD has to be honest. The issue of the Vesuvius is very big, risky and complex. However, IMEDD doesn’t see why the model of sustainable development couldn’t be applied even though the area is at risk. We can do it, however, if we want to do it, we need to do it with a very precautionary way; being very well structured and not going in all ways. The Vesuvius is not a race, it’s a living volcano with happy and shiny people on its hills! It needs to be thought and analyzed through its geological time with strongly thoughts measures, because on this type of place, we have no right to fail.
IMEDD’s plan of researches in the Naples and the Vesuvius area…
- A first research needs to be conducted with the Campania region organizations concerned by the volcano regarding the researches and projects already undertaken and the needs.
- A second research is needed to identify all the sustainable issues on which we should give priority. Beside the issue of the volcano, we have the sustainable tourism in the region and its environmental impact (waste, energy, transport, water, telecommunication).
- A third research needs to identify some solutions that could help the management of the area at risk in order to reduce the environmental impact. The idea is to optimize everything to facilitate the management of the region at global, considering the big amounts of foreign people who come in the Naples Area.
- A fourth research is needed to determine the level of awareness of the local population, of children and tourists who come to the volcano and live in the places around.
- A fifth research is needed in order to join all together the science, history, culture, heritage, the environmental and sustainable development life in the volcano region in order to make people aware about this regional issue and its impacts that happened in the past and that could occur in our future.
Those researches, that IMEDD propose to conduct, will lead to a Global Information and Communication Plan about the Somma/Vesuvius Volcano:
- the local ecosystem dedicated to the researches and the management of risks,
- the way to promote and encourage sustainable tourism,
- the solutions available in the region to limit the environmental impact,
- the level of awareness regarding the risks,
- some preconisations about what should be done to facilitate the transmission of information to the whole population, businesses and tourists.
These researches will be undertaken on the basis of the data collected by IMEDD during the « Expedition of The Earth » in April 2019 and on IMEDD’s relationships with the concerned organizations in the Campania Region. A report will be written. It would make sense as well to create an international website for people, businesses and tourists and also use Social Media. The goal will be to show and explain people how we can all commit for the Vesuvius.
IMEDD stands for the Vesuvius…
IMEDD decided to humbly compensate the loss of the burnt trees of the Vesuvius. However, it’s not possible at that stage to replant on the Vesuvius, as no public/private system exist to do it. So, IMEDD will use the Monaco Project led by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and will plant 8 trees in the name of the Vesuvius. However, those 8 trees will be planted in India, in a region as well, which is wordly supported, to avoid land erosion and landslide.
At the global scale of the earth and for the mechanism of CO2 natural captation, it doesn’t matter where we plant trees, as long as we plant.
IMEDD uses indeed the system provided by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to show people, that this system could be applied on the Vesuvius, meaning that more than public investments for tree planting, we could imagine that the population or even the concerned businesses financially help the replanting of trees on the Volcano, the Vesuvius. IMEDD sees the whole thing as a Great EU empowering project on which it would be so interesting and useful to work in collaboration with the scientists, the public organizations, the businesses, the population (local and tourists) and of course, the children.
« Making a story come true is just a question of will and commitments from a small group of people who believe in the strong power of Mother Nature ».
The 8 trees planted by IMEDD in India in the name of the Vesuvius
IMEDD presents the certificate provided by Prince Albert II of Monaco and Grow Trees, attesting that 8 trees will be planted in the name of the Vesuvius in India. Now, at the scale of the earth, The Vesuvius has 8 trees, just for him and those trees will soon produce oxygen.