Italian Men, Making Waves

Dear Blog Readers,

I am taking a break from my usual Mamma-journalist tales to tell you about EcoOonda.  (Onda means wave and Eco refers to ecological).  There have been some posts where I have been pretty harsh on the poor old Italian Mammoni (Mama-Boys), so finally I am going to make it up to Italian men, telling you about some who are making a difference and making some waves.

My talented AP video-journalist colleague, Paolo Santalucia, has thrown himself passionately into a project called EcoOonda in an effort to save his beloved Amalfi Coast.

This summer—from July 10th to 15th— Paolo and his two friends Luca and Marco will be swimming 45 kilometers along the Amalfi Coast from Positano to Vico Equense.  Their goal is to raise awareness about pollution ruining the coastline and prompt efforts to save the Mediterranean from environmental damage.  You are invited to join them on their swim.

The Stretch of the Amalfi Coast that 3 swimmers will cover in 4 days for EcoOonda

Here’s a little more information about the three swimmers:

Luca Castellano, one of the three swimmers who will swim the Amalfi Coast for the EcoOonda project.

Luca Castellano is 34-years-old and is an author.  His first book: “La Fine Degli Affanni” (roughly translated “The End of the Anguish”) was published in 2010, a second book, coming out soon, is set in Vico Equense (a small town on the Amalfi coast and center of the EcoOonda project) and is inspired by the myth of the mermaids.  Luca is training for the swim in Berlin where he lives.

 

 

 

Paolo Santalucia (here coaching his waterpolo team) is one of the three swimmers involved in the EcoOnda project.

Paolo Santalucia is 36-years-old and a video-journalist for The Associated Press based in Rome. When he is not on one of his globe-trotting assignments for AP Television, Paolo is busy coaching his water-polo team, Juventus Pallanuoto. Paolo grew up in Vico Equense.  He remembers when his 80-year-old grandmother came to visit he would take her on the back of his Vespa and putt-putt down to the sea.  She didn’t know how to swim and would ask her grandson to teach her.  Paolo says in the end, she preferred to lie on the beach and sunbathe while he took off but then would get concerned when he disappeared for an hour swimming 2-3 kilometers.

Paolo Santalucia (13) and Marco Cuomo (10), two of the swimmers that will swim the Amalfi Coast in July as part of the EcoOonda project.

Marco Cuomo (31) is a pharmacist in Vico Equense and father of Achille, age 4.  He is a fan of apnea and all it takes is 4 minutes below water for him to get a couple of fish for the two women in his life, his wife and his mother.  He is an ardent swimmer and swims to save the beaches of his beloved Amalfi coast where decades ago his grandfather wooed his grandmother.

Marco, Luca and Paolo are not the only ones involved, there will also be dozens of volunteers, elementary school students and friends joining the big swim for a few miles and pushing the three EcoOonda swimmers towards their final destination in Vico Equense.

WHY? Because the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi coast are breathtaking marine areas, under massive risk of pollution.

Tube pouring polluted substance into the sea in the Gulf of Naples. Credit: Marevivo

The Amalfi Coast’s protected marine park with high biological diversity borders a 30 kilometer stretch of coast where swimming is forbidden due to pollution. If we don’t act now to protect the sea, to build new water purification plants and to create and reinforce marine parks our children either will not be able to see life in our seas anymore or our seas will be to dirty to swim.

THEIR GOALS:

  •  Create a Blue Mile in Vico Equense, a stretch of sea, 200 meters wide from the shore and 2 kilometers long, where motorboats are forbidden (only swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers will enjoy it)
  • Establish an independent observatory on sea pollution in the Gulf of Naples
  • Creation of an underwater museum for snorkelers and divers.

Create a bottom-up movement to put pressure on local and national politicians to build a purification plant.

What you can do:

Publicize the project on your blogs

Come Watch the EcoOonda Swimmers and swim with them on the Amalfi coast.

Volunteer to help with the project – so far they have involved doctors, entertainers/teachers for children who will be attending courses on the environment,

Spread the word and join the literary competition called “Grandpa, tell me about the Sea” – Short non-fiction essay in which someone under twenty should interview someone over fifty about the sea that he or she remembers before human environmental exploitation and damages.  Send by June 20 to nonnomare@gmail.com

The submission must include an attachment of photos of the two individuals involved and a phone number.

Prizes include:  First place: A sailing course; Second place: a diving or apnea course; Third place: a one-year swim class: Fourth place: a trip for two in a boat around the Punta Campanella Marina park; Firth place: a guided tour of the Naples Acquarium and the Marina Park of Punta Campanella.

And a final word from Paolo:

“We hope that all the many Mozzarella Eco-Mamme that read your blog will bring their kids whatever their ages and join us on our swim to save our coast.”

So, blog readers, plan a trip to the Amalfi Coast in July and join Paolo and the other swimmers in their eco-friendly wave, I promise you it will be worth it.  Viva EcoOonda!

Check out their video below:

Post in: Italiano

Trisha Thomas
Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

12 Comments

  1. Nicki
    2012/05/21

    I’m in Positano…I’ve shared the video …it’ll be fun to join in this event, let’s just hope the jellyfish have gone by then!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/21

      Hi Nicki — thanks for sharing the video and spreading the word. Oh dear, the jellyfish are out and about. That’s not good. I will ask Paolo about that tomorrow in the office. I got a nasty jelly-fish bite on my arm swimming in Sardegna a few years ago and it looked like I had been attacked my a tiger and it hurt too. I hate jellyfish!! Interestingly, I’ve been told they increase when there is pollution, so that is not a good sign for the Amalfi coast.

      Reply
  2. AdriBarr
    2012/05/21

    Hi Trisha,

    Wow! Cool post! I had no idea this was going on, and am pleased to learn of it. There is so much work to be done, and this sounds like a terrific way to involve people. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/21

      Hi Adri– I am amazed at the passion, energy and enthusiasm these guys are throwing into this project. It is admirable and I wish them massive success, they deserve it.

      Reply
  3. Gwen Thomas
    2012/05/21

    Right on! You should be swimming with them! They need a few more Eco-Mammes!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/21

      I would definitely go swim with them if I were around. I will be on vacation in the US during their swim. However, it is a pity to miss a chance to go to the spectacular Amalfi coast and take a part in such a postive project.

      Reply
  4. Lega
    2012/05/21

    Luca is sooooooo handsome!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/21

      Indeed! I have never met Luca, but he certainly looks like the true Italian stallion in the photo. I have met Paolo though — work with him every day– and the photo does not do him justice, he is also very handsome. I have to laugh when we go out on stories together, women just drop at his feet drooling and he loves it, absolutely eats it up.
      Once again Lega, you have given me a new idea for a post– Italian men and flirting. Italian men are hopeless flirts at all ages. I remember taking a summer vacation in Sardinia with my husband’s 80-something grandmother who would go down to the beach everyday in her bathing-suit and big hat and sit under the umbrella and wait for the elderly men to wander over and flirt with her. Sometimes it seems like a national past-time!

      Reply
  5. Francesca Muir
    2012/05/22

    Great post – have shared it on FB. Much the same is happening in Greece – the waters becoming so polluted that fish breeds are either dying out or developing horrific deformities. Bravo to Luca and Paolo and good luck with their endeavours, and to you Eco-Mamma – Brava!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/22

      Thank you Francesca!

      Reply
  6. Nicki
    2012/05/22

    There has recently been a lot of jellyfish around but they do tend to drift in and out with the tides. Positano has just been re-awarded the Bandiera Blu (for clean water) but funnily enough the award always gets presented when the sea is not very clean..My daughter takes great pleasure in hunting the jellyfish down and doesn’t seem to mind the stings, although she has had a few nasty ones.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2012/05/22

      Nicki –you really know a lot about the area. You must take your daughter down and see the EcoOonda swimmers in July and participate in the event since you are there. I think it is so special and important and wish I could be there.

      Reply

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