For the man in the street, distinguishing between sustainable development projects and works with a high environmental impact is becoming increasingly difficult. The information available is often inadequate, and the most important information is often missing. Communication may not be the whole story, but it has a vital role to play.
Amapola partner Sergio Vazzoler talked about this and other aspects of environmental conflicts with ARPAT, the Tuscany Regional Agency for Protection of the Environment, whose website hosts a special section on news and analysis.
The NIMBY syndrome is spreading fast throughout Italy and completing a project or infrastructure now seems to be impossible.
Here is an extract from the interview with Vazzoler:
“Attention often focus on the form of consensus, but the decisive factor is how the first steps in a project for a new plant or infrastructure evolve. It is this during this initial stage that the seeds of conflict are sown, because the public decision-maker is often uncertain or unclear in setting the administrative and permitting procedure, and the political desire to implement local development projects may be timid and contradictory. This is matched by communication: the tendency is to be vague, hypothetical and not invest immediately in a detailed communication plan uniting public and private in the rules of engagement.
As a result, excessive room is left for manipulation and mystification, which are often dictated by vested interests rather than by the merits of the project. And it all becomes an uphill struggle. Ideally, those responsible for decisions should learn to listen and to empower citizens. On this point, we would all do well to remember what Aldo Moro said in 1978, shortly before he was kidnapped, that Italy’s season of rights would turn out to be short-lived unless a sense of duty was fostered in the country.”
Read the full interview in Arpat News here