Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waste prevention: launch of the first European guideline

by Alessandro Ferrua and Silvia Musso

The waste prevention is among the priorities for a sustainable development and it is time to take action, with the purpose to face the problem of the waste overproduction and to change old habits. How? In many Countries there are many experiences and good practices addressed to waste reuse and reduction.

Some of them are shown into the guideline for waste prevention, Quantitative benchmarks for waste prevention, published by ACR+ (Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management), an international network of members who share the common aim of promoting the sustainable consumption of resources and management of waste through prevention at source, reuse and recycling, formed by local and regional authorities and by national networks of local authorities that represent about 1,100 municipalities.

The first European guide on waste prevention is a good tool for local and regional authorities, especially considering that by 2012 the Members States have to acknowledge the New European Directive 2008/98 that, into the waste hierarchy puts the prevention at the first place.
The book has been edited, in its Italian version, by AICA (International Association for Environmental Communication), with the support of Gruppo Hera, SMAT Torino and ERICA soc. coop.

This guide belongs to the contributions that together AICA and ACR+ want to give to improve the information exchange about the waste management.

«It isRoberto Cavallo, president of AICA, stresses – the third works translated in Italian that follows the first, about the management of WEEE and the second about organic waste. As the previous volumes also this guide, is enriched by several Italian good practices, both to better contextualized the guide’s topics, and to underline that in many case also Italy can show good examples of virtuous waste management systems».

The guide can vaunt, in its Italian version, the contributions of two famous experts: Edo Ronchi, President of SUSDEF (Sustainable Development Foundation) and Paul Connet Executive Director of AEHSP (American Environmental Health Studies Project) who wrote respectively the preface and afterword to the book.

The guide will be officially launched on Friday morning, July 2nd at the water treatment facility of SMAT in the municipality of Castiglione Torinese, few kilometers far from Turin. After the SMAT managing director’s greetings, will speak, the Environmental Assessor of Province of Turin, Roberto Ronco, the national waste management expert Mario Santi and AICA president, Roberto Cavallo.

Moreover also the businesses will have their own space thanks to the participation of Filippo Brandolini, Herambiente president and of Marco Acri of SMAT, who will speak how their companies behave towards the conference’s main topic.
Following the visit to the facility and the aperitif.

The guide will be sold during the conference at the launching cost of 25 Euros. For ones who desire to buy a copy, it will be possible to book it also in the next months. The guidelines will be printed just on demand booking them to the following e-mail address: This is also a small contribution aimed to prevent the resources overconsumption and the waste production.

For the occasion it will be also possible to watch the AICA’s exhibition “Communicating Public Water”, that collects some of the best Italian campaigns to raise citizens’ awareness to the use of public water, a water that is secure, free and that doesn’t produce any waste.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quiet: there thinks BP!

by Paolo Ghiga

Imagine a modern and super efficient Office of a oil multinational, composed of the Gotha expert planning, design, problem solving and marketing, men and women able to handle extreme critical situations, from face to ordinary mortals. The adrenaline is on the agenda. Quiet, we are in good hands!

Well, now imagine a similar Office: we are in the British Petroleum HeadQuarters during a meeting of the Group Executive of BP, when at one point a cup of coffee is accidentally spilled onto the table. Panic takes over instantly people, which, in turn, announce, having given birth to the idea to resolve the situation but invariably the solution doesn’t bring any no benefit, indeed. Spend the hours and nothing changes.

Also the intervention of centrifuges to separate the crude oil produced by the company of actor Kevin Costner do not resolve the problem. Eventually the scenario is a desk devastated within the same Office, emptied, managers have disappeared.

This viral video parody that currently is depopulating networking (about 8 million hits so far) represents an alternative key to interpret the international news events. In this case the irony serves to warm funeral tones for well over what happened in the Gulf of Mexico to the platform BP Deepwater Horizon April lst: the led educational and moral question are filtered through an approach more immersive, through the ironic exasperation of the context.

The fashion of the moment, Word of mouth and video sharing, is funny and don't miss the tour of virtual community quickly unheard-of: the curiosity and less formal context push us to visit that link. That's it.

To quote Jean de Santeul: "Castigat ridendo mores" (Correct the costumes laughing at them). Today to demystify and to desecrate become important ingredients in crafting effective communicative recipes: observe the inability of these "experts" underneath an ironic lens is fun but we should not depart from the problem of an anthropocentric vision still too present in modern humankind.

While environmental communication is also in this way (welcome, if supplemented by communication and traditional information can provide feedback awareness), on the other hand is not underestimate the risk of an approach too superficial and secondment of subjects.

A parody unintended, in the light of the facts, but equally effective as real, it could be the signpost to a careful use of gasoline for there is no loss of fuel: sin that the message arrives at a BP petrol station ...

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 World Cup South Africa: true model of eco sustainability?

by Valeria Rocca

Time of World Cup and South Africa is the protagonist. The largest football event of the season 2010 has started and while the fans support their teams at the rhythm of vuvuzela, there is who questions whether the great event over that memorable (is the first time that is hosted by an African country) will also eco.

By analysing the estimates made by the experts, the World Cup in South Africa are likely to have an impact change devastating with a high risk of emissions of carbon levels eight times higher than in the last World Cup in Germany.

In order to prevent this terrible forecast, South Africa has formulated a plan of action called the "Green goal Action Plan 2010". In collaboration with the UNEP (United Nations environment programme), with the GEF (Global environment facility) and with the DEA (South African Department of project) were presented three large projects aimed to the development of renewable energies, the development of responsible tourism and the reduction of emissions of carbon.

In the area of renewable energy the cities that host the games of the World Cup (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Bloemfontein) are equipped with a public street-lamps, traffic lights and billboards fed to solar energy to decrease production of coal-fired plants.

About the development of responsible tourism the organizers have distributed a "passport" of 32 pages in which there are some tips and information on green responsible tourism. The brochure is also available from the site A report among the fans arrived in South Africa has shown, however, the lack of knowledge of the project: in fact only a quarter of fans is aware of the project "green goal".

Last, but not least, they worked to maintain control the emission of carbon. By involving some National teams, included Italy, is born the project "carbon footprint" to neutralize the co2 derived from long-haul flights. According to the UNEP thanks to the cooperation of these 11 teams estimated reduction around 6,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. In addition they have encouraged the use of public transport, Taxis ecological and of bicycle paths for the supporter.

Numerous initiatives in support of a fair and responsible model, also from the World.
In Italy the retail Coop has launched a T-shirt of the fair line, in limited edition, with the slogan "Africa for a sustainable world". Who will buy the shirt will contribute to a balanced development and will support the rights of African workers.

In short on the paper it seems that this World Cup intends to give aid to South Africa to become an example of Ecosustainability.

The hope is that the benefits are real for all and that is not again another media campaign that shows to the world a South Africa that doesn’t exist.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Skyscrapers in waiting list

by Eleonora Anello

Can the skyscrapers been regarded as a symbol of modernity today? In a society that has discovered the right quantities, that adopts sober lifestyle in the respecting of the environment, tall buildings over 170 meters can represent it? These are the questions raised by the Committee of Turin “Non Grattiamo il cielo” (Not scratch the sky), created to fill the lack of a wide-ranging and constructive discussion with citizens affected by major planning changes. The decisions imposed from above, concern the construction of two skyscrapers, one of the Intesa San Paolo bank and the other of the Piedmont Region, intended to change the skyline of the historic Savoy city, overwhelmingly silhouetted on those mountains that in 2006 hosted the Olympic Games.

Do the citizens of Turin need a new symbol to identify with? Truly will enjoy the city new found fame? With all the brownfield sites in outlying areas, why building in downtown? How much energy does a skyscraper consume? Are these investments necessary for the city? These are the concerns communicated on the site by protesters that aspiring to involve citizens in the fight against the building of “unsustainable environmental emblems” -citing Luca Mercalli, president of the Italian Meteorological Society and AICA (International Association Environmental Communication) Scientific Committee member - relying mainly highly engaging activities through the web, without forgetting the presence on the territory that seeks to involve residents of affected areas to urban changes. One of the latest networking initiatives involved sending photographs depicting the landscape of Turin as it appears today from their window.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at the Torre di Abele Library of Turin, the Committee turned to the government through the dissemination of an appeal initiated primarily by Italia Nostra (National association for the preservation of historic, artistic and natural heritage) asking to hear the voices of citizens and their economic, urban, landscape concerns. The press release starts from the consideration that the urban landscape, integrated into its natural surroundings and mountains, is a fundamental element of the collective heritage of Turin and it is necessary to support it as a cultural and social need, precise identification element for residents. The two towers are a strong element of striking discrepancy in terms of environmental sustainability in recent times the city tries to pursue. The Committed proposed not only a pause for reflection in order to rethink the project, but a lower impact alternatives aimed to reduce construction costs, management and consumption, and the opportunity was good also to boost petition on and on Facebook.

Siamo vicini ai tuoi sogni” (We are close to your dreams), says the latest Intesa San Paolo commercial campaign, but if the shadow of the skyscraper will befall on its hometown will alienate some of the dreams of those who believe that their city needs care and investment behind the times, choices and sustainable technologies, renewable energy. Publishing the work “Lucia Forte sfida Renzo Piano” (from the Italian romance “I Promessi Sposi”) by Marco Pece alias udronotto, that represents the skyscraper under construction in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II built with LEGO bricks, we hope that the simplicity, the immediacy and the humorism of its message can continue to have a purely informational function that would bring other people to debate on these important changes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The waste collection at resort

by Eleonora Anello

Proper environmental communication strategy is a basic ingredients for the success of all campaigns to strengthen the waste collection. But the communicative aspects play a more important role when working in turistic areas such as the coastal ones, where there are large fluctuations in population and one of the main target consists of less receptive people (they stop for a short time and are on vacation), perhaps foreign or otherwise accustomed to different methods of sorting. In these cases a special attention, is necessary even exploiting marine communication channels such as resorts, hotels and residences.

Achieving excellent and affordable results is possible as proved by ERICA soc. coop. environment and Alderman of the City of Pietra Ligure (SV) who are organizing a conference Wednesday, June 23, entitled "The collection in touristic seaside areas. Good national experiences in comparison" to be held at the Multipurpose Hall of the town center, Via Nino Bixio.
After the Mayor’s greetings, Luigi De Vincenzi, from 9 to 13 experts and public administrators, who have already successfully experienced the introduction of virtuosos separate collection systems in their territories characterised by significant changes in population according to the touristic seasons, will discuss about strategies.

Renata Briano, the environment commissioner of the Liguria Region, and Paul Marson, the environment commissioner of the Province of Savona will take the word. Roberto Cavallo, President of ERICA and European expert, will illustrate an introductory report on the recent acknowledgment in Italy of the European Directive 98/2008/CE on the integrated waste management system.

Then the programme continues with a round table. Protagonists will be the mayors of four towns located in seaside touristic areas of different Italian regions whose own waste management systems are particularly good: Anacapri (in Campania region 72% collection), San Vito Lo Capo (in Sicily, 54% collection), Senigallia (in Marche, 60% collection) and Pietra Ligure (in Liguria 60.5%).

Following interventions: Antonio Springs (Certiquality) on waste management within the Environmental Management Systems; Attilio Tornavacca (Exp) strategies for reducing waste and optimal management of differentiated and Massimo Michelini (Federambiente) on the experience collection of small islands.
After a general discussion with the public, Luca Piatto of CONAI will conclude the meeting.

At the end, to all participants will be offered an aperitif.
For information, subscriptions and credits you can e-mail

Friday, June 18, 2010

I go on eco-holiday: camping and ecological solutions for a respectful holiday

by Annalisa Audino

It is time of holiday: since some months catalogues and brochures describe dreamed destinations inducing everyone to pack the suitcases. In reality the economic crisis that has gotten depressed on Europe has modified a lot the habits of Italian people, especially if they have children. Probably, to say the truth, a part of people won't go on holidays, but they will be satisfied of a daily trip or of the simple peace that you can find when you can be at home. A part of population instead, being able to afford holidays, has had to abdicate hotel and offers total relax because of the excessive expenses, even rediscovering the camping and surely provoking an unexpected boom of bookings.
The curious thing however it is the new formality of fruition of the camping, that become a sort of adventurous luxury lived under the tents. There are naturally two schools of thought: a very more intransigent and respectful one about the surrounding nature and another one more indulgent and less careful, probably more voted to economic game.

«And it’s important not to confuse the luxury with the quality - explains Catherine Granier de Cassagnac, member of the first school of thought - one absolutely is not ecological, the other one is. There are even people who would want the air conditioning in the tents: that’s impossible! If you go on holiday in a place you must respect the place and so if you built something, this must be consistent with the landscape, or rather with the types of plants, bushes, flowers, paths or sand».

On You Tube some examples of this new frontier of the camping are found: wooden bases that mend from the damp of the ground and on which to extend deprived ropes of pickets, fixed toilet, blocks kitchen and furnishings and comforting services as in the hotel. Also in Italy it is initiated this echo-chic fashion: among the others, a firm in Siena is launching in this new holiday bio-diversity for the tours Belgian operator of the Selecamp, that equips campings all around Europe.

Surely the attention to the environment, also as it regards the construction of careful campings to the environmental demands, is becoming not only a fashion, but also a necessity. «To dismantle an old trailer or to unswathe a mobil-home, builds once with the materials of - Jean Guy Amat explains, deputy president of the Chamber of Commerce of Béziers, center of the tourism of the French southwest - cost, according to the dimensions, from 500 to 1,500 euro. Eliminating completely the plastics together with all of that is not biodegradable and using only wood, glass, zinc, steel and iron, it will be more convenient to build and/or to demolish, but above all the environment will respect him».

And also in holiday we are not exempt from our duties of civil citizens and intents to safeguard the world. They are more rather always the proposals of particular agencies (Viaggiemiraggi, Coopi, Osservatorio Balcani, Viaggisolidali) for those people that, with an eye to the budget and one to the environment and the cultural respect, want a perfect holiday under all the points of view. The offers vary from the stays in the South of the world entertained by ONG to the community tourism of knowledge or to theme as the anthropological photo and the ecoturism. Sticking to the offers equitable you contribute to the development of the local economy, you live in narrow contact with the community of the place and limiting the damages of the tourism of mass. For the one who has great abilities of adaptation it is recommended the community tourism: a holiday devoted to experiment the uses and the customs of the visited community and where it can happen to sleep on the ground or to take water from wells, the all respecting the Paper of Lanzarote, the code for a sustainable tourism and the world Code of ethics of the tourism, compiled by members of the World Organization of Tourism.

If by now you have booked a traditional trip, don’t worry: the sustainable tourism is also made of small gestures and small adroitness inserted in a traditional holiday. Fundamental rules? You travel in point of feet, tasting the differences, making some unforeseen event of the interesting variations to the trip and leaving the things as you find them. This is a good way to start!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dumping art

by Anna de Polo

Imagine entering a space where nothing is what it seems and imagination reigns supreme; imagine you are transported into a dimension where objects live a second life and are ennobled through the magic gesture of an artist. If you're curious to discover what it is visit the exhibition “Dumping Art 2010, dalla discarica al riciclo: arte a tutela dell’ambiente”(Dumping Art 2010, from landfill to recycling: environmental art), being held in Genoa until June 30 at the display space Artelier, located in the Palazzo Ducale’s main courtyard.

In Artelier, in an exhibition route rather short but in a pleasant environment, are exposed the clothes made with discarded materials by Caterina Crepax and the works of Maria Teresa Illuminato, founder of Saveart, an art movement born in Milan in 2004 to give a new body to the artistic creativity sensible to environmental protection.Looking at the clothes of Crepax, of a dreamy and refined taste, one is tempted to touch them to understand what they are made of, but even so it is difficult to guess without the help of illustrative plates. Stamps, plastic nets of oranges, bottle caps and video tapes abandon their original identity and functionality to be reborn as unusual fabrics thanks to the genius of the artist. You are affected by the elegance of the installations and the poverty of the materials, contrast that highlights the power of imagination and art in an age of consumerism as this, where nothing is ever enough and where objects, the "stuff", are never beautiful enough, strong enough, enough technology to meet our induced needs.

«The artistic event becomes an opportunity for reflection and a method for educating to respect the environment -explains Elisabetta Lodoli, curator of the exhibition with Elena Boschiero- We have tested this especially in last year edition, attended by schools from all over Liguria, who used the visit to the exhibition as an opportunity to study and discuss environmental issues». In the display are also provided educational workshops for children on the theme of recycling, waste and environment, organized by association RICREA.

Another merit of the exhibition is to stimulate imagination and help you discover that the objects that surround us every day may suggest new ideas, if only we observe them with an eye a bit more "creative". Here then, with a little manual ability and a lot of imagination, we too can become an artist of creative recycling and reuse. Many have already thought it, both in Italy and abroad, where there are lots of blogs publishing posts to suggest the readers concrete ideas of reuse and recycling (see for example Recyclart and IoRicreo). These sites are located within the ambit of the upcycle, born in Anglo, which consists into creating new products using objects and materials intended to the garbage can. The fundamental aim is to promote a sustainable and alternative lifestyle that goes against consumerism of our society. In Italy the users of these products are still a niche, but growing, as evidenced by the numerous events and trade fairs held on the theme of recycling and environmental sustainability, such as "EcoFatto", "ReMade in Italy", "Fa’ la cosa giusta” and the initiative "M'illumino di meno".

Whether it's art or a bit weird crafts, the idea is basically the same: to discover that the waste is a resource, if interpreted with imagination and intelligence. If you can see beyond the object and imagine a second life for it, useful because functional or simply because beautiful, then that magical space where nothing is what it seems can become reality. And Nature would thanks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Observing biodiversity

by Silvia Musso

Thanks to United Nations that declared 2010 the Intenational Year of Biodiversity, this topici s having more and more echo.
Everywhere in the world, different institutions and associations are dedicating to biodiversity events, festivals, conferences. In this rich scenery some projects are particularly interesting because they will last and won’t end with the end of 2010, when the focus on biodiversity pass the baton to other important issues.

We are talking about the creation of on line portals that focus on biodiversity, a way not only to understand how the natural richness is fundamental for our planet, but also to see and observe animal and vegetal species. The GMBA Mountain Portal, has been recently inaugurated. It is a web site that, throughout an interactive map, shows and explain the varieties of animals and plants living on the different mountain regions. The GMBA Mountain Portal allows you to explore GBIFs biodiversity archive data for mountain regions. You can select search areas from region to globe, or mountain life zones by range of elevation or thermal belts. Mountain areas are defined by ruggedness of terrain, using WORLDCLIM digital elevation data. An introductive demo video shows the archive’s functioning. As you can imagine to watch the portal it is necessary a minimal knowledge of alpine environments’ typical fauna and flora. Species are in fact researchable with the scientific Latin name or throughout a specific taxonomy.

Another project that follows this direction, but that is more intercative and more comunicative because able to involve a wider and more heterogeneous public, for age and training, is the iSpot. iSpot has been developed by the Open University as part of OPAL (Open Air Laboratories), a project running throughout England to encourage a new generation of nature-lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment, supported by the Big Lottery Fund.
It is just one year old (it was launched for the first time on June 2009, so: happy birthday!) but its results are really good as stressed by statistics: more than 50,000 unique visitors to the site, 3,000 registered users, 7,000 observations posted on the site, 8,500 identifications given feedback from users of the site has been very positive, and it is clear that iSpot is achieving its aim of helping people to learn about wildlife identification and develop their own skills, also thanks to the expertise and generosity of people who collaborate with the iSpot responding to the observations that are being made.
An example is given by the strange discovery of a 6-years-old girl, Katie Dobbins. October, 9th, Katie finds a strange moth, inside her house in Upper Bucklebury, Berkshire. Immediately Katie’s father posted a photo on the iSpot website. In this way some experts were able to identify the animal. It is the Pryeria sinica, a moth native to parts of Russia, China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. In 2001 it was found in gardens in two areas of the eastern USA, where it has maintained a population. It is assumed that it has arrived in Europe as an importation with plants.
Katie’s was fundamental to study if understand if this insect can be dangerous for the new ecosystem where it lives or if it was just an isolated case.
Jonathan Silvertown, professor of Ecology at Open University and creator of the iSpot claims: «This illustrates very well how iSpot enables everyone, even young children, to become involved in natural history and to contribute to scientific knowledge of biodiversity».

Monday, June 14, 2010

When the library becomes environmental

by Paolo Ghiga

A library dedicated to the Earth and the environment in which you can consult and borrow books and publications on the topics of environmental culture, biodiversity, water, soil and constituent part of the environment. This business of fledgling Environmental Library of the “Amici della Terra Toscana” (Friends of the Earth Tuscany), inaugurated on Saturday 27 March last, in Florence, in via Giano della Bella 22.

Friends of the Earth represent in Italy the Friends of the Earth International, environmentalist network among the most important in the world, present since 40 years and in 66 countries, with over 1.5 million subscribers and over 5,000 local groups organized.
Friends of the Earth, composed by five associations and 79 clubs nationwide, are autonomous and self financed. They are recognized by the Ministry of the Environment and promote sustainable development since 1977 at every level, pursuing the protection of the environment and cultural diversity, biological and ethnic, starting from Democrats. They focus on climate change, the people who inhabit the tropical forests and their natural habitat, the nuclear safety and sustainable agriculture, in a commitment to 360°. They also provide services to public bodies and private companies through environmental education projects, organize excursions and trips.

The creation of library has been the fruit of the work of five years, leading research and cataloguing of what turned out to be a unique collection in Italy dedicated just to one field, an ambitious and highly communicative project, able to provide answers to the thirst for eco-sustainable knowledge.

On the site, under the heading "library", you can consult the catalogue and the online-booking and request of titles are possible writing to the e-mail address, or calling +39 0552280450. The consultation of the catalogue is easy, thanks to the attention shown in design dedicated, like browsing the entire site, attentive to the contents and with a graphic sober and in line with the Association's educational intentions.

This decision opens a strongly innovative front: a service and a place of training and dissemination dedicated entirely to the environment and addressed to professionals, but also to newbies who for the first time approach environmental and natural issues. In the wake of this initiative we hope that by the time also other ATD fora organise a service with this goal. Currently, the library is open to the public two days a week, by appointment only: on Monday, with time 14: 00 p.m. and Thursday from 10: 30 p.m. For friends of nature of Florence and around it is an indispensable appointment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Operation beach clean

by Eleonora Anello

Restyling of image for Rosolina Mare (Italy) due to environmental communication campaign to introduce for the summer 2010, the collection of waste even on beaches. “La raccolta differenziata non va in vacanza”, (The collection does not go on holiday), strongly qualifying project of the Rosolina coast promoted by the City of Rosolina, the Consortium of waste disposal, the company Ecogest Polesine and the Province of Rovigo, in practice requires the installation of "ecopoints" mini ecological islands for proper disposal of waste, located on the beach and easily identifiable by means of flags, which will be managed directly from the bathhouses, actively involved in the initiative both in terms of customer awareness that the injection in the bins located on the waterfront. «The many tourists who flock to our beaches, are and own the real crux of our communicative action -says Giovanni Giribuola, president of Ecogest, the company that handles waste disposal- Rosolina-citizens, as throughout the province of Rovigo, already differentiated waste in their homes. The new summer 2010 is the adoption of correct behaviour on the beach even by those who do not habitually live in our town».

«The good habits do not have to miss a holiday -states Federico Avanzi, Environmental Assessor of the Venetian city- in mid-June will start the second phase of our communicative action that providing more information for tour operators, owners of second homes and all tourists in general. The material will be distributed in four languages to give clear guidance on the correct disposal of waste varies from country to country. Always for tourists, there are educational games especially for children and, in general the presence of massive summer events taking place across the Po Delta, through information stands, a short-video and animation».

If in Rosolina lifeguards have to take care of beaches, for the abandoned coasts, also this year, Legambiente organized "Clean Up the Med”. As usual, the last weekend of May saw hundreds of volunteers involved with the task of liberating the waste entire coastlines, riverbanks and lake shores of the whole Mediterranean area, one of the 25 most important corners of biodiversity of the planet. In Italy among butts, cans and plastic bags, 50 tons of waste were collected. With the support of Unipol Financial Group, Legambiente through its local clubs, has distributed 20,000 reusable canvas shopping bag, available from Coop Italia and about 100,000 cigarette butts ashtray provided by Bic.

From a preventive action to a remedial action such as that promoted by Legambiente that with a concrete gesture is directed at government to invest more energy to control and defend the territory from abuse and lawlessness by allocating more resources to the separate waste collection and promotion of sustainable tourism. Which campaign will raise people to respect the sea? The age-old dilemma is always the same: to prevent or to treat?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A beach of crosses for the victims of oil

by Annalisa Audino

More than one month that occured the dreadful accident on the occasion of Earth Day to liners Deepwater Horizon of Transocean Ltd, caused by the company British Petroleum and deployed in the Gulf of Mexico: a slick extended far beyond the 160 km in front for 70 amplitude widening slowly the islands of Candles, environmental paradise off the Louisiana, and not only.
The concern for the consequences of the disaster is growing gradually and, in addition to the deaths of animals, the human victims and marine pollution and air, neighbouring the coasts are paying seriously the consequences of enlargement blot.

In tragedy, the advantage is that the world population is constantly informed, through television news and bulletins, on the activities of containment, for now useless: If oil will be prodded the Louisiana swamps, clean it will be virtually impossible, causing an incalculable disaster for nature reserves that humanity must absolutely discover. What is certain is that if the Deepwater Horizon was exploded in the Niger Delta, rather than off the coast of Louisiana, political and economic powers would be much less worried: «Incidents such this one in our country – told the Guardian writer of Ogoni Ben Ikari-ethnicity - occur every day, the difference is that no one speaks ».

In any case, even the civilian population remains helpless to watch: two cooperatives of Louisiana shrimp fishermen have begun a class action against oil platform managers and requested damages for at least 5 billion dollars.

At Grand Isle there was instead a symbolic Memorial Day to remember not the military victims, but the victims of this epochal environmental disaster. A hundred white crosses were raised on the beach, marked by the names of species killed by oil and by the same tasks that those beaches will no longer host: dolphins, trout, oysters as walks, lots of volleyball, and much more. «We want to send a clear message – said Patrick Shay, 43 years old and owner of a local restaurant – explaining that prevented us from fully live and use our world and our resources. Disappeared entirely. We have been abandoned».

Meanwhile, every hour, 33 thousand gallons of oil spill in the ocean, polluting further beaches and waters of the Gulf, as well as blocking inexorably all activities on the coast.

«If the British Petroleum not will give us the money to compensate our losses – says Jim King, 63 years old, historical owner of a campground and a kayak rental for the zone – there will be addressed in the streets: tourism, the real estate market, fisheries, everything was inexorably arrested and we don't know if anything would return to work. We are not financially motivated, we are well aware that the ecological damage is even more serious, but are jeopardising our existence ocn their financial calculations».

Also the State of Florida has banned fisheries and is suffering a significant damage to local tourist market, since all areas affected live thanks to millions of people every year they go on holiday on those beaches.

And who has not been directly affected, but knows the danger that hovers over the platforms, begins to worry: even if in Italy not discussed much, a dozen oil platforms are in use, a few miles from our shores. For now the Ministry of economic development has provided urgent controls and suspended all new permissions to drilling in Italian waters. The interests of oil giants are many especially in southern Italy: in Sicily for example the interest of Shell for possible new oilfield off the Egadi Islands (where it could be the biggest Italian field) joins the regasification terminal that should be built in the industrial area of Syracuse. However, in the archipelago is the marine reserve of the Egadi Islands, one of the largest in Europe, with a unique natural heritage.

Deepwater Horizon is going to teach us something?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Premio AICA between biodiversity and green suggestions

by Silvia Musso

The 7th edition of AICA Prize has been held during the last evening of Cinemambiente (Environmentl Film Festival), yesterday 6th June, in Turin. In front of a wide and heterogeneous public, Gaetano Capizzi, director of Cinemambiente, invited Roberto Cavallo, president of AICA, to introduce the Prize and its winners.
Also this year, the categories were three. For “Communicating with citizens, improves the environment”, dedicated to the issue of biodiversity, the Terra Madre Movement, founded by Carlin Petrini, was awarded. Big mediatic event, Terra Madre is able to communicate the value of biodiversity at all levels: scientific, environmental and cultural.
Eric Vassallo of Piedmont Slow Food, taking the Prize, claimed: Terra Madre is an effective movement, not just an event linked to a precise period of the year. Farmers and people who belong to this network, daily dedicate themselves to the cure of their cultivations and biodiversity to give next generations an entire environmental heritage.

The Prize for the category “Communicating the Kyoto Protocol” was given to Andy Hobsbawm, founder with Naresh Ramchandani of the “Do the Green Thing” community, aimed to spread useful suggestions to raise awareness not only among citizens, but also governments and businesses to make green choices. Hobsbawm participeted to the awarding ceremony in videoconference. Glad for the Prize, he stressed that the diffusion of green messages must be creative and must use different channels and languages. Environmental communication must be sexi to attract as many people as possible in order that living in a sustainable way wouldn’t seen as an obligation, but becomes a deep desire.
The skype connection, tool that with the distances drops up the CO2 emissions, that had success during the last edition, has been repeated again.

The third Prize to Career, dedicated to Beppe Comin, an Italian expert of environmental communication in Italy, was won by Enzo Bianchi. The prior of the Monastic Communinity of Bose, whose books and articles are together an expression of love for environment and an advise to respect the Earth's products, was unable to participate for a previous committment. Anyway he gave his availability to organise another encounter, that will be a wonderful occasion to reflect on the relation between religion and the respect for the environment.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

One million signatures for the public water

by Annalisa Audino

The water is all. Seems to be the message to everyone who participated actively to collect signatures in order to hold the referendum to decide if the water must pass under a privatized management or can remain a public good. The campaign, organised by the Italian Forum for movements of water, has been pursued by many activists who conjured real demonstrations, in addition to be present in all cities with banquet facilities and information stand. The aim is to repeal the Ronchi Decree of November 2009 and rules approved by the Prodi government who were in the same direction, i.e. towards the total privatization of the water service.

«The referendum campaign that began on 25 April-explained Paolo Carsetti of the Secretariat of the Forum- scored an unexpected success. Definitely much has been done in all these years by the various committees throughout the territory who have managed to create sensitivity and attention in public opinion around this theme».

Among all the initiatives organized, some very extravagant, Carsetti believes that there hasn’t been a particularly effective one: «In my opinion there wasn’t a particular initiative that allowed us to achieve success: it is the issue for the emotive campaign that has success on people and our personal success comes from our transversality since we have no political party reference».

There are so many initiatives which have led to the collection of signatures. In particular, the Forum has taken advantage of some of the most important events and their showcase media to get into the homes of people: after attending the peace march Perugia-Assisi of mid-May, members have opened their Giro d'Italia, positioned along the cycling stages of the competition. But not only. The Committee of Udine went top of Monte Zoncolan and at 1,800 meters citizens have set up banners and banquets, reaching, in less than one month, 7,500 signatures only for the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. In the province of Cesena also bars participated: for one day they decided to give away to each signatory a glass of slush better Emilia Romagna to reach, in less than 4 weeks, 35,000 signatures.

In Campania 30,000 signatures were collected: a result that local politics surely noticed. And that is why the council approved, for the first time in Italy, a resolution establishing the "guaranteed minimum" for water consumption: for 40,000 Neapolitan families who live on the boundaries of misery, already by future bills, a free supply of 250 litres of water per day, amounting to 41.32 euros per year will be operational. The first of the class was Liguria, in particular the province of Savona. Not only the province has cycled at the 24 hour mountain bike in Finale Ligure, but after only four weeks the signatures collected were already 20,000 obtaining, keeping on the nice biking theme, pink shirt as a prize for having distinct in its commitment to the cause.

«A constructive form of mutual aid -said Carsetti- concluded that no cost-effective way was low and has mobilized the consciences of citizens. Sincerely we believed to do much more difficulty in collecting the signatures needed to be able to offer the referendum and instead we actually doubling the initial goa,l reaching the one million signatures». In the program there are still many initiatives. Saturday 5 June Chioggia (Venice), «During the wedding of Cristina and Alessandro – said the members of the Forum - a banquet will be set up to collect signatures of all participants to some of which will then be asked to wear t-shirts campaign "sell" water ». On the weekend between 12 and 13 June and also during the following weekend, the Forum will launch "H2ora": days of music, art and culture organized by territorial committees.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

“Cycle” rhymes with “eco”… Tourism

by Anna de Polo

If you have not yet decided how to spend the holidays, why not consider a cycling holiday? Doing some exercise outdoors, enjoying the scenery and discovering the pleasure of moving slowly can be a fun and healthy solution, which is becoming increasingly popular and affordable for everyone, even the least trained. There are lots of opportunities to use the two wheels for those who is not exactly an athlete and hasn’t spent the winter doing spinning: the solution is called "PEDELEC” (Pedal Electric Cycle) and is a bicycle with assisted pedal that allow to tackle hills and long distances with less effort, but without giving up exercise. To navigate the sea of proposals and opportunities, from mid-April the French nonprofit association Extraenergy placed online the internet platform "Tourisme & velos à assistance electrique” (Tourism and electric bicycles), an interface between designers, producers and customers/users which aims to centralize in Europe all existing offers and provide the public a better view of the market.

The cycle tourism, already widespread in some European countries like Holland and Germany, in recent years is gaining ground in Italy, where, however, a consistent policy on cycle throughout the territory is lacking, as explained in an interview with Autoambiente Antonio Dalla Venezia, President of Fiab (Italian Federation of Friends of the Bicycle). "We continue to request the creation of the National Service of the bicycle at the Ministry of Environment, a structure that is able to coordinate, encourage and promote initiatives in a uniform manner throughout the territory. This is an option adopted with success abroad that could perform many purposes, from promoting educational campaigns to promote cycling to the dissemination of local best practice, from the support to local authorities in the implementation of regional plans for bike paths wing to their integration into the national grid”.

The proposes of Fiab, emerged in the twenty-first National Assembly of the Association, held in Palermo April 16 to 18, rang from the project La Ciclopista del Sole (The bicycle path of the Sun), a bike trail that crosses the boot from the Brenner to Sicily, to the guide Albergabici which, together with the website Bicitalia, provides all the useful information for who travels in Italy by cycling. Another interesting and suggestive initiative is the recovery of old disused railway lines, to be converted into cycle paths (greenways). A good example comes from Liguria, where they were completed the first 24 kilometres of the first Italian greenway on the sea, a cycle track that connects San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo, on a path of small villages and natural sites of great beauty. For those wishing to rent a bicycle, even electric, there are six points of rent along the track ( Some European countries are already far ahead in the recovery of disused railway lines: in Spain in the '90s they started the program Vias Verdes, which led to the conversion of 1700 kilometres of disused railways into greenways. Even in Holland, where the traditional culture of cycling is very rooted, hundreds of kilometres of bicycle paths, many of them on old railway lines, have been developed. For those interested in exploring Europe by bicycle there are a lot of offers for next summer: group tours with a guide (you can sleep in the cabin) from Amsterdam to Bruges, Belgium, between mills, dams and canals ( or routes along the banks of the Danube in Austria, while the luggage travel on their own between the various hotels where you spends the evening (

In short, cycle tourism loves communicating through the web and seems really for those interested of the new trend of 2010 there will be spoiled for choice!