Being An Environmentalist and Preservationist Can Get You Killed
Angelo Vassallo was Mayor of the pretty little Italian town of Pollica, which Eric Reguly of the Globe and Mail calls "a cultural and environmental treasure." He said no to illegal construction that Reguly says " spreads like a cancer over so many seaside Italian towns". He said no to smokers who littered. He made the town part of the Slow City Movement.
On Monday, he was killed in a Mafia-style execution.
He was killed for having said one 'no' to many," Raffaele Marino, a former anti-Mafia magistrate, said in interview with the Italian national daily La Repubblica. "He said it to people who don't take no for an answer. It was 'no' to the Camorra, I have no doubts."
The Telegraph writes:
Mr Vassallo, a father of two, was regarded as a 'green' mayor for his efforts in helping preserve a national park and for fighting against illegal building close to beaches and other local beauty spots.
Carlos Petrini, founder of the Slow Food and Slow Cities movement, praised the Mayor for fighting against illegal construction.
TreeHugger has previously written about Slow Cities, and noted that their charter includes:
1- implement an environmental policy designed to maintain and develop the characteristics of their surrounding area and urban fabric, placing the onus on recovery and reuse techniques.
2- implement an infrastructural policy which is functional for the improvement, not the occupation, of the land.
Pollica appears to be no different than anywhere else: a battle between real estate development forces against preservationists and environmentalists. They just use more bullets.