This week we have interviewed Mario Cipollone, team leader of Rewilding Apennines. He offers his take on the beauty and importance of Italy’s nature and the impact of choosing sustainable and nature-friendly holidays.
Mario has been working in conservation since 2012. In 2019 he became the Team Leader of Rewilding Apennines.
“Since my childhood, I've always dreamt to make my region, the Central Apennines, a wilder area. I could never imagine that a child's dream would become the mission of my life. The reason I choose this career path was because I’ve been loving nature all my life and I wanted to do whatever possible to protect it."
When asked what he loves most about this profession he said:
“Working for nature conservation means working for the life of our planet, including human beings. It is something that pays off, even though sometimes our current leading economic models make us look weird or naïve.”
The thing he enjoys the most about nature around him is resilience. “It’s almost a miracle that its beauty survived the multiple assaults of our destructive and rapacious economy. This makes me aware not to take this resilience for granted, but to do whatever possible to fight against depletion and biodiversity loss.”
Mario wants people visiting the Central Apennines to know that the natural landscape is the most valuable asset that we all own. Protecting it doesn’t impede individual wealth, but make all of us richer, thanks to a heritage of natural resources, wildlife, and healthy environments from which preservation we may all benefit.
“That’s our most precious investment! To coexist with nature means to live better with ourselves. That’s what I’d like the people to learn and see visiting the Central Apennines: a marvelous balance between nature and history which needs to be kept as unaltered as possible.”
His take on eco-friendly holidays is that choosing such experiences is important in order to make people aware of how to minimize their environmental footprint, getting familiar with and support the conservation challenge that we address daily.
About the relationship between nature conservation and tourism, he thinks that local non-mass tourism may revitalize small local communities and benefit their economy.
“Eco-tourism may give value to natural areas and wildlife turning them into a resource to protect instead of a limit for development. The local communities are getting more and more aware that tourists are more attracted by the ecological integrity of a territory instead of a luxurious resort.”
“Though the real challenge is to keep a healthy balance between tourist ambitions and nature conservation. In fact, too many tourists may pose a threat to the preservation of fragile environments and endangered species which are more sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance. Responsible eco-tourism must avoid this to happen.”