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“They will not bring money/jobs or anything else, they will just destroy whatever they touch”

This is the warning Dr. Maria Rita D’Orsogna gave me yesterday, writing to extend solidarity in our fight against ENI and Sasol off our coastline.

Singlehandedly physicist, Dr. Maria D’Orsogna fought against ENI as they planned to drill onshore and at sea in Abruzzo, Italy, uprooting century-old wineries to build wells, refineries and pipelines. She traveled from town to town in Italy, educating citizens about environmental and health effects, debating oil corporations, exposing political corruption, putting pressure on decision makers to act for the common good. In California, she used social networks and blogging to coordinate letter writings, to keep raising awareness and spur action. Thanks to public uproar, spearheaded by Maria’s unwavering efforts, the city of Abruzzo banned oil drilling and for the first time ever, the Italian parliament imposed a no-drill zone of 12 miles encompassing all of Italy’s 5,000-mile coastline. Overall, she helped stop at least 40 oil leases, earning the nickname “Erin Brockovich of Italy.”

She continued, “I have met and debated ENI many times so I know them well. I just wanted to tell you to not believe anything they say; ENI does not care about the people of Italy, how can they care about South Africa? They are involved in many many scandals, so don’t give up.” She went on to list the litany of ENI’s devastation that she has been documenting on her blog for the last 10 years. Just opening each page is enough to convince any South African that this is a company unwelcome in our waters:

Eni in Angola (their drill rig sunk; Saipem was under their control at

the time)

Eni in Egypt (Their rig caught fire)

Eni in Norway:

Eni in Sicily (google Gela, they have literally destroyed that entire


Discarica in mare di rifiuti pericolosi, chiesto rinvio a giudizio per cinque dirigenti Eni

Eni in Basilicata:

Eni in Nigeria and corruption

Eni in Puglia:

As Oceans Not Oil’s fight gains traction it allows us to make these connections and strengthen ties with others who have accomplished much in the feisty belief that social opposition is the only way to bring about change. Maria’s story is a testament of how, by engaging with the community, scientists and educators can truly make a difference.

Thank you Maria and its wonderful to have you in our network.

Dr. Maria Rita D’Orsogna, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge and Associate Director, Institute for Pure and Applied Math, University of California, Los Angeles

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