Pave Paradise — Melendugno’s Past and Present

While in Melendungo, Italy I watched parts of Nausicaä, an animated Miyazaki movie, with the girls of the Danish-Italian family I lived with. For a long time I thought Nausicaä was a really hip Danish film, made worse by the fact that I kept coming into the room when it was half way over. (It’s Japanese.)


The orto (orchard) where I lived, worked, picked vegetables and wild plants, and turned fallen logs into firewood


The Nausicaä lover

The movie tells of a post-apocalyptic world of bioweapons and military states. Although it speaks more to the Vietnam War, it can very much be a metaphor for war and climate change today. In part of the movie I missed — thank you Wikipedia — Nausicaä discovers that she can grow not-toxic plants in clean water and soil, but humankind tainted almost the entirety of their world, ground and all.


Almost three years later, that movie watching experience is horribly ironic because in that same town, Melendugno, the start of a 500+ mile pipeline is being constructed. From Italy to Istanbul most citizens oppose the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (#noTAP). In Salento, the region of Italy that includes Melendugno and Lecce — both of which Nik and I visited — thousand-year-old olive trees, supporting generations of families on land I would consider sacred, are being cut down and dug out for the pipeline. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.



The countryside before barricades, equipment, and police

The family I lived with gave up their farm and moved to Lecce (the closest big city) for personal and economic reasons. But the entire region of Puglia (including Salento and Lecce) is affected by this assault on multi-generational farms, the local agricultural economy, and the olive oil industry. We’re all affected by climate change, especially when we (as one planet) choose to invest farther in fossil fuels.

People around Europe are protesting. Here’s what you can do:

Follow #notap on Twitter.

Sign the petition against the pipeline no matter where you live.

Learn more information. If you live in Europe, find out if your bank funds the pipeline.

I can only speak to what I’ve learned from thousands of miles away. But I’m so mad that from #noDAPL to #noTAP, people around the world speak up and speak out against the destruction of the environment, history, and livelihoods and governments do not listen.


Love and light,


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