AKU introduces a new entry to its group of "friends": the association Gente di Montagna

Gente di Montagna (Mountain people) is an association founded in 2002 by a group of people who brought in significant experiences from the cultural, educational, medical, athletic and technical fields. They committed to promoting the culture and traditions of the Alpine valleys and to improving the environment of the Highlands. The Association develops initiatives, projects and events close to the mountains, representing a "bridge" between the different voices of the alpine areas. In that way it is possible to count on a big and diversified team able to react with different viewpoints and approaches to the complexities of the mountains.
The third edition of Brescia Winter Film, which launched the partnership with AKU, hosted independent productions from the U.S., Argentina, Ethiopia, Germany and Italy: an opportunity to reflect and discover new ways of telling stories and of seeing the mountains as a place to live and work.
Three questions to Davide Torri, president of the Association.

What was the origin of Gente di Montagna? What was the spark that gave birth to the association?
GDM was established almost ten years ago, driven by the mutual respect of some people who met in the mountains, and who then became the initial core of the Association. Mountain was intended primarily as a place of life and emotion. These people, each one in his own way and with his own specificity, shared, and still do, an idea about the highlands around which they aimed to plan and develop initiatives that might even be quite different from each other. The main idea is that the mountain has the ability to offer a balanced and sustainable life to, as they say today, young people and families. Today even more than yesterday.

What, according to your experience, is the way forward to guarantee the social and economic conditions necessary to live in the Highlands for future generations?
"Think small”, this is what we were told a few years ago by one of the protagonists of our research / survey dedicated to the return to the mountains by then a few brave people which we named "STAYING, COMING BACK, A NEW LIFE FOR THE MOUNTAINS”. Today in Italy, these numbers have increased, but they are still distributed mainly in the Western and Central Alps, regions that are still in an unstable social and economic equilibrium. Especially those who do not think small tend to fall, those who forget that the planet earth offers significant time and changes but at a slow pace. When thinking about the Mountain, it is important to think in terms of scale: the more you go up, the farther you move from the city, the more you have to think small, applying more than anywhere else the principles of degrowth and sustainability, low consumption of resources and soil and of solidarity and neighbourhood.

What are the future goals of the Association?
We were born to "build bridges" to allow people who love the mountains and its values to feel strong and not alone. Today we continue to bring these small flags planted even in the less well-known areas closer together. During the last two years, our commitment has been to re-introduce ("Si sale, si vede. Si ridiscende, non si vede più; ma si è visto” transl.: You go up, you see it. You come down again, you don’t see it anymore; but you know it is there from Mount Analogue by René Daumal) the higher to the lower regions, the valleys to the summits, the cities to the mountains, mountaineers to citizens because only the mutual understanding and sharing of common characteristics can lead to a pact for a liveable future. For the Mountain and the City.


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