Hungry For Power, Sicily’s Mafia Tries to Go Green

My piece on Italy’s Green Mafia is up at Time.

Since the time of Phoenician sailors and Greek settlers, Sicily’s Most coveted resources have been the sun and the wind. These days, drive nearly any stretch of the Mediterranean island and you’ll likely come across wind farms, looming like giants from behind the mountains. In some parts of Sicily, solar-power plants alternate with farmers’ fields; in some cases the two are even combined in photovoltaic-covered greenhouses. Italy is now the third-largest producer of wind power in Europe and its production of solar energy is booming, driven by generous government subsidies — with much of that growth in the sunny, windy south.

No surprise, then, that along with environmentally minded entrepreneurs, Sicily is attracting an organization that cares only about the other kind of green: the mafia. “The mafia goes where the money is” says Domenico Fontana, head of the Sicilian branch of Legambiante, the country’s largest environmental group. [Renewable energy] is one of the richest sectors of the economy. It’s obvious that the mafia wants to be there.”

Read the rest.