June 1st, 2018

Today we received an introduction of the surrounding areas that we are studying and learned about the historical importance of the area, mostly focusing on the Alps. Going into today, I always knew about the Alps, however I never realized just how big they were. I was incredibly fascinated by the history of the Alps in regards to location, claimed land, and people. We learned that the the Alps connect Trentino to the rest of Europe and a long time ago, Italy wanted people to live in the Alps in order to create some sort of guard from the rest of Europe and claim the land as their own. We also learned that Italy is made up of 20 regions and 119 provinces. Trentino is the most special autonomous region because the taxes remain local in order to advance the land at the local level especially in regards to recreation with use of the land. It was also interesting to learn about the surrounding areas specifically in regards to nature and wilderness. It was awesome to see that people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of land conservation and sustainable energy in order to protect wildlife and people.
All in all it was a great day and I learned a lot of new material that I didn’t already know about Italy. Hannah and I also went up to the castle on the hill and walked to see the beautiful waterfalls! I am excited to see what the rest of the trip holds!

17 thoughts on “June 1st, 2018”

  1. Today a reinforcement of the current knowledge of the region of Trento was given. It was interesting to see how the region is an autonomous region within Italy, this reminded me of the region of Catalonia within Spain. Due to this autonomous identity the region can therefore enjoy the privilege of keeping 70% of taxes received within their own region and not have to send them to the central government of Italy. A consequence of this is that there is more money spent within the region itself and the province can then use these funds to institute more sustainable measures to not only protect the land but the peoples culture. It was also interesting to see that there are UNESCO world heritage sites within the region such as the Dolomites. There are also numerous other protected stretches of forests and lands to help conserve both specie populations and biodiversity within flora of the region. In the future it will be interesting to see if Trento will be able to carry out its goal of integrating humans into nature while simultaneously keeping the privileges of modern day urbanization we enjoy everyday.

  2. 6-1-18
    Today we started off the course by getting an in depth presentation on the city of Torintino, it’s creation and history of its making, and environmental policies that have been aligned with it. Some interesting facts I gained about the Alps include that they were formed over 300 million years ago due to the collision of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates and it’s highest elevation resides at Mont Blanc at 15,744 feet. The alpine region was first inhabited by humans about 10,000 years ago and about 14 million people live among it today, with over 120 million visitors every year. Italy, being one highly mountainous region at about 35% of its land cover, 42% hills and 23% plains, is 116,000 square miles making it slightly smaller than New Mexico. It’s climate is very diverse ranging from tundra above the tree line in the Alps all the way to humid subtropical in coastal areas. Italy also has 20 different regions and 119 providences and metropolitan cities with 4,700 miles of coastline. Another fact I learned about Italy is that it is a republic, meaning it is organized to a centralized state model, not federal.

  3. Today we had the pleasure of meeting Elena Guella, who gave us a very in depth analysis of the main players regarding the current environmental polices in Trentino. Elena then listed a few of these main players which are the Rural Development Programme, and the development of the Natura 2000 parks. The RDP combines smart, sustainable, and inclusive decisions to make the sustainable management of natural resources more efficient. RDP also calls for a balanced territorial development. The Natura 2000 parks calls for habitat protection, connection between ecological systems, and most notably the use of active protection.It was awesome to learn how the Alps have connected major European countries together because of the amount of water the mountain range produces.

  4. 6/1/18
    Today I had the great opportunity to visit the Castello di Stenico. It is a beautifully preserved Austrian castle from the twelfth century. While it had to “live” through both world wars, the artifacts, as well as the castle itself, remain in good condition. I find that impressive considering in the modern world, we have a general tendency to throw things, such as furniture, away rather than repair them, and we trade our electronic devices in to get something better. This tendency creates a “throw away” culture that makes me wonder what, if anything, might be around of our generation in several hundred years. I’d like to believe that the nobles that lived there appreciated all that they had, including the gorgeous view surrounding them, but I know at the time, many believed that you can never have too much wealth. I think this idea holds true to some extent in the present day, as well. The views from the castle were absolutely breathtaking. I sometimes forget, being from Southern California, that green is a color and that there are many variations of it, but I am very happy to be reminded of this fact.

  5. The beautiful greenery surrounding us and mountains are so refreshing and a nice change of pace from Los Angelos. Honestly, I do feel pretty homesick.. All that I can think about is Mt. Rainer and my home city, Seattle, Washington! Does anyone else see any parallels to Italy and Washington State?

    Today’s introduction and summary of connecting Europe, Italy, and Trentino were not only very informative but also inspiring in the possibility of innovative and sustainable projects we all can do.
    Since I am studying Political Science, learning about the political structure of Italy and Trentino’s “special powers” was one of the highlights of today’s presentation for me. I also thought that when Elena Guella said “where people put money is where people care” was sadly a great way to summarize politics everywhere.

    Another standout quote from Guella’s presentation for me was “men are not only destructive, they can also be creative!” A lot of times in conversations about modern-day sustainability I feel like people are mostly negative about the relationship humans have with the environment. It was refreshing to hear someone speak positively about the power we have to implement positive change and development.
    I am looking forward to learning more about green infrastructures and nuggets that I can take back to the US and positively contribute to conservation and local developments.

  6. With class officially beginning today, I had the opportunity to sit in on Elena’s presentation regarding the overall environmental practices of the Trento Province. Although the presentation was dense with information, I felt it to be extremely relevant and informative as I really had no prior knowledge of the area before the class began. During the break in Elena’s presentation, I asked her to go more in depth on the benefits of state funding towards sustainable farming and whether or not she believed the method was actually working as intended. She expressed to me that she believed that the government’s methods weren’t really working as they should (in theory) be, and that with the high rates of tax citizens are paying in the province, there should be more being done towards rectifying the situation of continued un-sustainable farming in the alps. She then told me that the major problem is rooted within the overall size of the farms within the alpines and their lack of ability to compete with their large-scale competitors which then contributes to the rates of abandonment that are being seen within the agricultural sector.

    After class and the quiz, Chris and I decided that instead of going to the castle with the rest of the class that we would rather take off and go on one of the many hikes in the area and, man oh man is this area gorgeous! The hike was mostly an uphill climb, but it was worth it as we came to many clearings that gave way to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. This area is seriously beautiful and in one spot we even saw the snowcapped tops of the Alps themselves! It’s safe to say that I’m completely infatuated with Trento and am thoroughly looking forwarding to exploring it for all it’s worth!

  7. Hey everyone! Italy is awesome so far and I’m learning so many new things about Italy as a country as well as Trentino as a region. I’ve visited the Alps in Austria and Switzerland as a tourist but I’ve never had the opportunity to learn about the Alps geographically and historically. One of the most interesting things I learned historically is that although the Alps have been considered treacherous by most historians and explorers, the earliest settlement of humans in the Alpine region was about 10,000 years ago. The Alps are so large that they span across eight different countries including Monaco, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Italy. The most surprising and interesting thing that I learned geographically about Italy is that it is mostly mountainous (35%); the rest of the region is hill (42%) and plain (23%). The climate here is similar to that of the east coast of the the United States; mostly humid and generally warm around this time of year. It reminds me a lot of my hometown in Virginia which helps a lot when I feel homesick! The last thing that I was surprised to learn is that Italy as a country is governmentally organized as a Republic which means that the central government is the one that makes most decisions for the nation as a whole as well as locally, meaning that it is a centralized government. I was happy to hear that we are in one of the five unique regions that has more autonomous powers that is able to dictate its own health care, education, and environmental policies. I’m glad that Trentino is able to retain most of their tax money as well to work towards a better living situation for their inhabitants and I’m very excited to learn about what they do in more detail this week. Ciao for now!

  8. Today we learned about the history and the geography of Trentino/Italy. Something that I found interesting was the fact that the Alps connects Europe to Trentino and Italy. Also, that the Alps stretch over eight different countries which are Monaco, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. Other interesting factors is how geography affected the climate. As we learned today that the climate is extremely diverse due to the elevations and the sea which ranges from tundra above the tree line in the Alps to subtropical humidity.

    On government side of the lecture I found it interesting how there were only five regions put of the 20 in Italy with more autonomous powers but they all vary from one another. The other 15 regions have a Republic style government which is organized according to the state and not federal, unlike the United States. Trentino and Alto Adige are the autonomous from the central state. The main benefit, I think, that comes out of Trentino and Alto Adige being autonomous is the fact that they have power over their health care, education, and environmental policies. All of these factors are crucial to what we are going to learn about on this trip.

  9. Today I learned a lot about the history of Trentino and the Alps. I did not know much about Italy before this trip and it was very exciting to learn about it’s history. Juri is a historian and he did a really great job breaking down the different stages of Trentino over time. I thought that it was really interesting that Trentino is almost exempt from being ran by the centralized state. I understood why they would do that though, because of the large German influence of Trentino and the special circumstances in which they inhabited the area. I thought that was very smart of the government back then to grant servants some freedom in their lives in exchange for inhabiting an area.

    We also learned from Elena Guella the difference between Nature and Wilderness. This was an interesting concept for me because I am rarely exposed to either. I live in a large city with not a lot of wilderness parks. I can understand why Italians altered the wilderness back then. At the time, conservation was not something of importance and they wanted to make the area more functional for the people living there. I also think that the idea of seminatural habitats is very interesting because, while conservation is important, this idea of making habitats better and adding biodiversity is very innovation and I am so exciting to see what other innovative things Trentino has in store!

  10. Today was a day full of information. We had two different presentations and lots of information to sort through. I learned that there are three different zones in biosphere reserves and functions. The smallest zone are buffer zones which take up 17 percent of land, these zones are used for activities compatible with ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training, and education. The second zone are the core area which takes up 31 percent, this particular areas contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variations. The third zone also the largest zone are transitions areas consisting of 52 percent, these are the parts of the reserves where the most activity is accepted, being home to economic and human development that is socio-culture and ecologically sustainable. I thought I t was interesting how there were three different zones. I was unaware of the biodiversity that was here in Italy and it is fairly intriguing. I am hoping that I learn ore about that and can share my newly found knowledge.

  11. Today we reviewed and learned some new information regarding the history of Italy. With this, Juri expanded on how the history of Italy is a complex one, however it is one worth learning. I was surprised to learn how during the 9th-14th century the center of political conflict lead the rulers to grant freedom to peasants in exchange for their settlement in the alps. This was very interesting to me as land is usually correlated with the need for a free or cheap labor source, however, in this case, it was the key to freedom.

    During Elena’s presentation, I learned how our current human behavior is affecting the alps- specifically, abandonment, concentrating, and intensification which is harming surrounding endangered species. I have lived in California for most of my life, where my idea of alps was always connected with wilderness, so to learn that the alps themselves are quite opposite from that was fascinating.

  12. Today we learned about the geographical and political history of Italy, with specific attention paid to the Trentino region of Italy. Hearing about the numerous conflicts between neighboring nations over the alpine region, I think it points to the significance that people have fostered into this region, with its numerous natural resources as well as its astounding beauty. Possible as it is that the alpine region held a higher degree of beauty before wooded areas were cut down and pastures were transformed into farming lands, I argue the conversion, which manly consists of beautiful vineyards and small farmhouses, is still beautiful in the presence of the immense mountain regions which surround the area. I was able to experience some of the scenic landscape today when Cooper and I took a hike up the hills around the small town of Premione, where a vast expanse was visible of the surrounding mountains that no picture will ever do justice.

    We also learned about some of the environmental problems which occur in the region, and the policies which are attempted to ease the degradation of the surrounding ecosystems. One of the challenges that the Trentino province faces is that with more and more people moving out of smaller mountain communities and into larger cities, either in Trento or other larger cities in Italy, it will become harder and harder to tax the population enough to provide the needed services in order to ensure the sustainable development of degraded ecosystems.

  13. 6-1-18
    Today we met with Juri and Elena Gullo, who provided us with information on the history of Italy and the environmental concerns and efforts respectively. Juri streamlined the history from the early middle ages to modern day topics in an hour, educating us on topics from the natural defenses of Italy (the Alps separating modern day italy from the rest of Europe) to the political issues between the German minorities in Alto Adige/Südtirol. I personally was interested in how Trentino (as well as several other provinces) retained an amount of autonomy, and the historical reasons for that. For Trentino the issue was a smothering of germanic culture in favor for Italian-only. This resulted in angry germans feeling like they were second-class citizens, and to rectify that the Italian government provided this area with the ability to self govern on many issues.

    Elena Gullo educated us on the environmental progress within Italy, specifically the how humans are affecting the natural areas. There is a total lack of ‘wilderness’ in contrast to ‘nature’. Wilderness, as Elena described it, is untamed and wild. It is untrammeled by man, whereas nature can be cultivated by man. A field of wildflowers that was once a forest is indeed natural, but it is no longer the wilderness as it has been shaped and molded by us. Being made aware of this distinction causes you to see it everywhere, which is something I intend to carry forward. It feels like wilderness is much more difficult to reclaim, and takes time as well as effort, it is harder to reverse the effects of humans than it is to seclude areas and allow them to be one with nature again.

  14. [Jordan’s post]. Today began our course in northern Italy. After traveling for many hours, we arrived at our hotel, in the southern portion of the Alps. What struck me to be the most interesting thing about Trento, is how different it is from southern Italy. After attending this morning lecture, I am much better able to understand some of the reasons as to why this country is divided. During both world wars, northern Italy’s involvement shifted from siding with Germany, to becoming an autonomous region of northern Italy. Because of this, German is still often spoken here, and remnants of both world wars are evident in Trento’s landscape. I was also intrigued to learn the difference between wilderness and nature, and I was surprised to learn that although Trento’s landscape may appear rugged, in reality, it has been heavily influenced by humans over the past couple thousand years. Whether it be remnants from prior wars, or plains resulting from railroad construction, there are examples everywhere of Trento’s history with human and environmental interactions.

  15. I thought today was a great introduction to this course, as we learned a lot about the history of this region and of Italy in general from Juri, and were then able to hear more about the current culture from Elena. I, personally, have a large interest in environmentalism and it was interesting to see and make comparisons between the United States and Italy in terms of sustainability efforts, as well as to learn about the ways in which the local people view and feel about this area. I also was fortunate enough to take an environmental course this past semester that went pretty in-depth into the dualism between nature and man, so I really enjoyed hearing and connecting with Elena’s presentation as she began to scratch the surface of what that means here.

    I am very much looking forward to this course and what it has to offer, especially after today’s orientation. I am excited to be delving into this new culture and to take advantage of the opportunities we are being provided with, and I look forward to learning from both the local people and my peers!

  16. After learning more about Trentino’s rich history and specific environmental features, Valerie and I took the bus to see the Buonconsiglio Castle. From there, we explored the Rio Bianca Nature Area. After interacting with the people who reside near and around the Rio Bianca Nature Area, it was evident that their lifestyle and relationship to the natural surroundings are unique. Living within the alps is a lifestyle in and of itself, but the community seemed to be as calm and sarean as their surroundings.

    While walking against the waterfall and passing homes that were perfecting placed between the forest, I thought about Elena Gallo’s differentiation of nature and wilderness. I believe that in America, we would consider a lot of habited land wilderness. Whereas, in Italy, it is always considered nature if humans live or have altered the landscape. To Elena Gallo and other Italian environmental scientists, the protected land in the Rio Bianca Nature Area is nature because it is protected by an administration and people reside in and around the area. Going to the castle and walking through the community put a lot of what we learned today into context. I cannot wait for Trento!

  17. Today we received an introduction of the surrounding areas that we are studying and learned about the historical importance of the area, mostly focusing on the Alps. Going into today, I always knew about the Alps, however I never realized just how big they were. I was incredibly fascinated by the history of the Alps in regards to location, claimed land, and people. We learned that the the Alps connect Trentino to the rest of Europe and a long time ago, Italy wanted people to live in the Alps in order to create some sort of guard from the rest of Europe and claim the land as their own. We also learned that Italy is made up of 20 regions and 119 provinces. Trentino is the most special autonomous region because the taxes remain local in order to advance the land at the local level especially in regards to recreation with use of the land. It was also interesting to learn about the surrounding areas specifically in regards to nature and wilderness. It was awesome to see that people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of land conservation and sustainable energy in order to protect wildlife and people.
    All in all it was a great day and I learned a lot of new material that I didn’t already know about Italy. Hannah and I also went up to the castle on the hill and walked to see the beautiful waterfalls! I am excited to see what the rest of the trip holds!

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