Marco Nereo Rotelli and Francesco di Castri at Easter Island.
We would like to remember in this space, the figure of Francesco di Castri, died on July 2005, an expert of environment's problems connected to the risk of globalizations.
Particulary interesting are his researches about the planning of a cultural ecoturism and therefore compatibile with the natural environment, exposed to the risks of a society even more globalized and subjected to problems linked to impoverishment of its ethnic contents as well as rurals and ecologics.
Remembering the role of Francesco di Castri is equal to wanted to remember all those who are working for a better world and for an aware development of the natural territory.
Born in Noale (Venice) on August 4th 1930. After the diploma in classical studies and the studies at University of Milano and Montreal he won in 1958 a doctorate in Animal Sciences at the University of Santiago del Chile. Starting from this date, Chile becomes his Country, because he will be linked at the hispanic world for the rest of his life.
From 1961 to 1969 he taught Ecological Sciences at the university of Santiago and founded an Ecological Institute at the Austral University of Valdivia. At the beginning hi research it is focused mainly on fauna of th earth , expecially on a sort of a primitive insect with no wings (Collembola) and the pseudo-scorpions (whose wife Valeria, died in 2002, was interested in).
He began to study also the funcion of the mediterranean environment ecosystem and partecipates to the study of ecology of subartic zones. Because of that studies he will receive an honoris causa degree in Helsinki and Kuopio in Finland.
It was during this period that Di Castri first became associated with UNESCO. He directed the first UNESCO Latin American Regional Course on Soil Biology in Santiago in 1965.
In 1971 he was appointed by UNESCO as the Secretary of the International Coordinating Council for the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB).
Di castri's achievement was to make real the objectives of UNESCO and to develop the basis within the natural and socail sciences for the rational use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the global relationship between man and the environment.
To borrow a remark from his fellow countryman Professor Valerio Giacomini ôa challenge that borders on the limits of the possibleö.
In 1981 Di Castri was centrally involved in planning and organizing a scientific conference aimed taking stock of what had been achieved over the first ten years of MAB, and what was implicit was the role of Di Castri in promoting a certain type of international cooperation that recognizes the universality of science but also the diversity of cultures and the geopolitical realities of the day.
In the early 1980s Francesco Di Castri undertook for the French Government a review of the state of ecology in France, and in 1984 he become Director of Research within the French Centre National de le Recherche Scientifique.
For several years he worked closely with scientists, educators and comunities of Countries (such as Argentina, Canada and Chile) in order to find local answers to global problems.
His convinction was that scientists and ambientalists have to influences the choices of the ones that with their actions have a huge impact on the planet.
An example of his work in collaboration with the natives of the Easter Island it is focused on the research of new methods of communications and new possibilities for the future.
The Di Castri's career was brilliant mainly thanks to his roles of Professor at the University of Chile and the one of Director of the National Institute of Research of France.
He was also a prolific and creative writer with more than 40 books published and 700 journal articles, but also co-author and editor.
Throughout his career, Di Castri was centrally involved in bringing together scientists from different disciplines, of both the natural and social sciences, to conduct problem oriented research on resources management and man-environment interactions.
Francesco Di Castri was a four language polyglot, esteemed by those in government and those in science, in North and South, East and West. He mixed passion for the cinema, football and linguistics, similary to his near contemporary Umberto Eco. He was an exceptional motivator of those around him, a man of imagination and foresight, of courage and rigour. He left his mark. He will be missed and remembered by many.