11 Jan, 2023
The Puglia region in southeastern Italy produced 12% of the world’s olive oil. But since 2013, a bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, has killed more than 20 million olive trees in what is considered one of the world's worst phytosanitary emergencies. Rising temperatures due to Climate Change have created an ideal habitat for the bacterium, which was never reported in Europe before, preparing the ground for an epidemic that is leading the region to rapid desertification. In less than a decade, this epidemic has destroyed the landscape and caused massive economic and environmental damage: many people have lost their livelihoods and a huge green lung has been wiped out. Behind the visible losses, however, lie deeper wounds: about 60 million olive trees are deeply rooted in local culture as symbols of ancient traditions. By uprooting the centuries-old culture of a people, Xylella deprived them of their own identity. This work aims to explore how a plant disease can affect the maternal relationship between people and their environment, in order to make us aware that in the near future we could lose not only the roots of some olive trees but also the roots that connect us to our past, to our history.
Filippo Ferraro (b.1990) is an Italian documentary photographer. After a law degree, he decided to devote himself entirely to photography. His research is mainly focused on the relationship between humans and the environment in the global era of climate change, with particular attention to the related issue of collective cultural identity. His work has received recognition in various awards, including the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, the Lugano Award, the Phodar Biennial, and has been exhibited and screened in Hamburg, Sofia, and Tbilisi among others. In 2022 his work "Lost Roots" was nominated to participate in the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Award. He is currently based in Trieste - Italy.