Cinzia Scaffidi est une journaliste free lance, qui écrit sur des sujets mondiaux concernant la production alimentaire et l'environnement et enseigne ces sujets à l'Université des sciences culinaires et à d'autres écoles et instituts. Elle collabore également directement avec certaines entreprises, principalement dans le cadre de la formation du personnel.

Cinzia est vice-présidente de Slow Food Italie et, jusqu'en 2015, elle a également été coordinatrice du Comité scientifique de l'événement Slow Fish qui a lieu tous les deux ans. Elle a fait partie du personnel de Slow Food de 1992 à 2015. Elle a plusieurs publications à son crédit, y compris «Regardez la mer» (Guarda che mare) en 2008 (Slow Food Publisher), écrit avec Silvio Greco, biologiste marin, et «Poisson - Comment le choisir et respecter la mer» (Pesce – come sceglierlo e rispettare il mare) publié en 2017 par Slow Food Publisher dans la série Slow Life.

À l'occasion de la récente édition de Slow Fish à Gênes, nous avons profité du moment pour poser des questions à Cinzia Scaffidi. (La traduction suit bientôt)

MM: Where did you get the passion for the sea?

CS: I was born in Sicily, although I have never lived there because my family moved to Piedmont when I was one year old. However, I spent the long summer holidays of childhood and adolescence in our Sicilian home, and there I believe I have received my "education to the sea". Then, during my work at Slow Food (I've been part of the staff from 1992 to 2015), I met Silvio Greco, and in 2008 together we wrote the book "Look at the Sea" published by Slow Food Editor. From him I learned a lot. What used to be just passion and attraction to the sea as a landscape and aesthetic element has been filled with content on the most important issues: pollution, climate warming, overfishing, the role of consumers.

MM: There are so many reports about the worrying state of the Sea, especially the Mediterranean. What are the three most important threats?

CS: It's hard to make a ranking, because all the elements that damage the sea are getting stronger and constantly amplifying each other. We could start from pollution, especially that of plastic, but without forgetting that every substance that chemical synthesis invented in the last century is present in our seas.

All the pollution of the sea comes - somehow - from the land, we must be aware of it and we must remember that even if we live away from the sea, all the actions we take from the chemical fertilisation of our fields to the lack of waste separation, from the use of non-biodegradable detergents and cosmetics to avoidable CO2 production using the car less and - if we are city administrators - promoting the development of public transport, sooner or later all these actions have consequences on the seas.

Another issue is climate change, which - again - is caused by the choices we make and behaviours we adopt on the land. The theme of higher temperatures, both in air and water, of the excess release of CO2 that produces acidifying effects in the ocean, the issue of scarce precipitation which lowers the level and reach of the rivers and thus increases salinity levels in the sea and even in the intermediate zones, where the rise of the sea level goes to salinise the freshwater areas ... all of this causes in the short term epochal squalor, overthrows the lives of entire populations, makes some coasts unmanageable. It also makes previously fine agricultural lands unsuitable for agriculture ...

And I conclude with the question of overfishing, determined by an indiscriminate use of the fish resources, which are treated as any commodity that can be chosen, wasted, bought or disposed of. We citizens are buying fish with the same attitude as we go to buy any industrial product, including food. But at sea there are no producers, the sea has rhythms that are dictated by nature. These can not adapt to those of the market. We have to learn to know, choose and cook the fish that we find in the market because that day this specimen was caught: if we instead pretend to find just what makes us comfortable, or that we think is better in a misunderstood sense of taste we better think again.

MM: Have you seen any advances for recovery after so many negotiations? We are looking forward to the upcoming Ocean Conference where we discuss how to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14.

CS: We achieve some results from time to time, but only very slowly. Some rivers are cleared of pollution, some species begin a recovery when the rules are respected. But we need much more results and much faster, because these rhythms are so slow that they risk making even positive signals useless - too little too late. There is a need for shared policies between states without distinction of continents. Recovery requires laws that focus on the respect for the environment, no matter what the production or the activity you are normating. It takes awareness of the gravity of the situation. As long as there are powerful actors in the international arena who even deny the problem of climate change, hopes can not be strengthened.

MM: June 8 is World Oceans Day during which we celebrate the beauty of the sea and its creatures everywhere, but we mobilise especially for its better protection. How do you see the link between local action and global trends?

CS: At the center of all I see research, and the immense need we have of data and knowledge. Research at sea is not funded and even less widely disseminated. Research data must be the basis for both, citizens' behaviour and policy decisions.

Today, politics is moving on the basis of data coming from the market, that is, data coming late, after disasters have taken place or are already under way. And citizens are less and less competent and aware of their role, but also of their rights, first of all, to have a healthy and clean sea, because the ocean produces half the oxygen we need to breathe.

MM: The sea nourishes us, we breathe its oxygen, the ocean is a space for work, culture and recreation. What are the next steps provided by Slow Fish and Slow Food to stop the abuse that still threatens the health and functioning of the sea and its ecosystems?

CS: The proposal we launched during the last Slow Fish Fair in Genoa has been to make that city a permanent place of reflection and initiatives for the benefit of the sea and sustainable fisheries. So, we are not only reasoning in terms of a big event every two years, but of the constant commitment to make this theme stand at the top of the thoughts of politicians and citizens and stay there.

MM: So, is there hope and is it worth doing even small things?

CS: La speranza è un obbligo, ma qui c'è qualcosa di più. C'è la consapevolezza che se davvero ci muoviamo tutti nella direzione del bene comune, allora ce la possiamo fare. E quindi sì, certo che ha senso fare anche le piccole cose, sapendo bene che ogni minimo contributo, ogni minima prevenzione darà I suoi frutti positivi. E' un lavoro gigantesco, ma non esiste nessun gigante che lo possa fare da solo. Possiamo farlo solo tutti quanti insieme, ognuno per la sua piccola parte.

MM: What is your wish for the ocean?

CS: That everyone, citizens, fishers, market operators and politicians stop considering it as a bottomless pit, a place to draw from without thinking about the future. That we all start looking at the ocean as a mother who supplies us every minute with life and nourishment. And so we have to think about the ocean with gratitude, and at the same time never cease to take care of it.

MM: Thanks Cinzia, for sharing your experiences and insights.