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The AWorld app, because there’s no planet B

By ecology, technology

Chosen by the UN for the #ACTNOW campaign – to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. AWorld, an app to guide users in adopting more sustainable lifestyles through everyday actions.

Cristina: Today we came to Torino to meet Alessandro Armillotta, he and his team have developed an app to measure our environmental impact and it’s been recognized officially by the UN for the #ACTNOW campaign. So how did that happen?

Alessandro Armillotta: So, at first we felt the need to take action, we understood that the climate crisis is hitting us everywhere. And with this urgency, we went straight to New York to show what we had in mind. We were developing this app, we felt there was strong need for it when knocking on the doors for who makes the sustainability guidelines, which is the UN. We met them at the 2019 Climate Week, I went networking and spoke to everyone, luckily enough I met someone at the communications office at the Secretariat. Our idea and our vision was so strong and we were so passionate about this that they felt that there was a chance of collaborating on this project, so they opened the doors to us and officially invited us to support their #ACTNOW Campaign, the campaign fo individual action on climate change and sustainability. And, together, we built this app which is AWorld in support of ACT NOW.

Cristina: That can be really encouraging for young people who have great ideas and they don’t know how to scale them. How do you measure the impact of daily actions?

Alessandro Armillotta: Well, first we wanted to change and shake things up, we decided not to calculate your carbon footprint, so in a negative way, we decided to calculate your savings. So suggesting easier actions that give you savings in terms of CO2, water and energy. Then we actually worked closely with the UN office UNFCCC and calculate on average how much your savings are on a daily basis by doing one of these actions. So let’s make an example, I’ll suggest to you Cristina – why not take a 5 minute shower instead of a 10 minute shower? Well, the app will tell you that by taking a 5 minute shower, you’ll be saving up to 47 litres of water on a daily basis. It’s important to show you these 47 litres of water, because if you can measure it, you can actually improve it.

Cristina: I’m with you on that, in fact my showers are 3 minutes long!

Alessandro Armillotta: Perfect!

Cristina: So in a few months you’ve had an impact already, what have your results been so far and what are your goals?

Alessandro Armillotta: We actually launched at the end of September [2020], up to today we are 40,000 very happy users. And active! We received a ton of feedback, we actually reached, all together, over a million logged habits around the world. So the app is open and free to everyone and I strongly encourage you to use it.

Cristina: Great job and good luck on this!

Alessandro Armillotta: Thank you!

Jeffrey Sachs and Mission 4.7

By sdg 4, technology

Jeffrey Sachs is a guiding star of sustainable development, which is why I wanted to feature him in my weekly segment Occhio al futuro. He’s an esteemed academic and a dynamic promoter of a necessary transition, he’s President of the United Nation’s SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network).

We interviewed him to talk about Mission 4.7 which he launched with the Vatican, Unesco and the Ban-Ki Moon Foundation.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part I

Cristina: Today we’re featuring a mission that might not be spectacular like the one on the moon but it could have the same importance. It’s Mission 4.7 – named after goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda and it’s seventh target: to ensure, by 2030, that all students in the world receive education for sustainable development and global citizenship. It was launched by Pope Francis, which is why we’re on the roof of a church that already produces sola energy, and by Ban-Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General who ratified both the 2030 Agenda and negotiated the Paris Agreement in 2015, also by UNESCO and other organizations. The mission is led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Pelé of sustainability. He was one of the key advisors for the drafting of the 2030 Agenda and is Director of the SDSN – the UN network dedicated to solutions for sustainable development. Professor Sachs, thank you so much for being with us. What was the genesis of this mission?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: We can see everywhere that young people are empowered with the knowledge of our challenges, they really take up the cause and it’s been inspiring to watch young people around the world make the call for sustainable development. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to achieve climate safety. So the basic motivation is to help empower young people.

Cristina: How influential have the Pope and Ban-Ki Moon been in launching this mission?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: Pope Francis’ global pact on education, Ban-Ki Moon’s tremendous efforts on global citizenship come together in this inspiration and they are guiding Mission 4.7.

Cristina: In the spectrum of the whole Agenda, how significant is goal 4 and target 7?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: We cannot achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals if we don’t know what we’re doing! If we don’t understand our situation, our reality, our potential to build a sustainable development future. I believe that SDG 4, which is the goal for universal access to quality education, is at the center of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and I believe that target 4.7, which is education about sustainable development itself, and about our ability to cooperate together across cultures and across nations, with global citizenship, is absolutely at the core of achieving the 17 SDGs.

Cristina: Thank you very much, I look forward to talking to you again next week.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: Thank you so much.

Cristina: To accomplish this mission requires both thinking and caring. Follow us to understand how to do your part! Occhio al futuro

On air 23/1/21

Part II

Cristina: Our journey to discover Mission 4.7 continues – guaranteeing education on sustainable development and global citizenship for all, by 2030. Professor Sachs, welcome back and thank you very much for being with us. What are the key ingredients of a curriculum that really, fully honors Mission 4.7?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: Prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability are the three pillars of sustainable development. They are, therefor, the pillars of Mission 4.7, we’re aiming to design the kind of future we want, this is the phrase that was used when the Sustainable Development Goals were first adopted: the future we want. So, the curriculum should be empowering, to help young people, to see how we can build a better future, to make our societies more fair, to make our energy systems and industry the way that we treat the rest of nature sustainable, and this involves technical skill, it involves an ethical outlook as well.

Cristina: How can anyone, from teachers to students, members of civil society, governments, participate in this mission?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: I get, everyday, messages from teachers or students. From teachers saying “we’re introducing the SDGs into our local school curriculum, can you help?” and really the answer is yes. Here are some websites to look at, here are some materials, here is a network that you can be part of. Students who are saying “we want to make a youth club” or “our school doesn’t yet teach the sustainable development goals, what can we do?” or “how can I learn?”. SDSN has an SDG Academy of online, free, globally accessible materials in all aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals so that it’s possible to just go online and gain access to really world-class educators and professors and so-forth, who have prepared materials that are freely available. This is an open source, global, interconnected effort. We want all people to be involved, one of the things that we will certainly do is provide a clearing house of information, access and opportunity for networking. For 8 billion people and the still rising global population to be able to manage the needs for healthy diets, safe air, clean environment, cutting pollution, accessing these basic needs for everybody, we’er going to need the new technologies. One key transformations that is vital, in fact, is universal access to digital technologies, so that every person can have access to telemedicine if they need it, to educational materials online, access to government documents, licenses, their rights, their transfers and so forth. I’m very happy to say that Italy has been leading in this effort as well, getting the topics of climate change and environmental sustainability and other aspects of sustainable development into the basic school curriculum. We’re finding that governments al over the world want help on that, want the practicalities of new tools, new curricula, online methods of learning.

Cristina: Thank you. We all have something to learn and to give back to society. Occhio al futuro

On air 6/2/21

Part III

Cristina: We presented Mission 4.7 which brings together heads of government, academics, businesses, and civil society, to accelerate education on sustainable development, worldwide. Today, Professor Sachs is with us again to explain how we can reach this ambitious and necessary goal by 2030.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: We need cooperation at all levels, in communities, within our countries, with our neighboring countries, because neighbors are very important in sharing rivers, in sharing the air, in sharing the fisheries and the coastlines. We need cooperation between regions of the world, between Asia and Europe, Africa, North and South America. All parts of the world need to cooperate. This doesn’t come easily, because there are so many triggers of distrust, even hatred, in our world. There are demagogic politicians who aim to win or keep power or increase their power by professing hate rather than cooperation. But we need cooperation. It is feasible. The beauty of the Sustainable Development Goals is that all 193 governments of the world have agreed to them, same with the Paris Climate Agreement, all 193 UN member states have agreed to them. They are our globally agreed goals. That is a basis in addition to the very reality of them for moving forward in a cooperative way. This is why when governments get together around the world, in periodic meetings about these goals, it’s essential that all come ready to say, here’s how we are cooperating and contributing to what we’ve all agreed to do.

Cristina: How are the efforts being coordinated?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: The Sustainable Development Solutions Network is working together with the rest of the partners, there’s a secretariat which is coordinating with governments and with leading educators around the world to help build a curricula, to help governments and local communities to adopt a curricula and adapt them for local needs, local language, local culture, local priorities in sustainable development. We’re aiming to make a lot of progress in 2021. There are some important global summits that UNESCO will host where governments are to come together to say “this is what we’re going to do”. We’re trying as much as we can to work with governments at the national level, that’s ministers and ministries of education, and with local communities and education experts around the world. And a network of universities of more than 1,000 universities in the SDSN, to bring these ideas to bear as quickly as possible. Time is a real factor here. Mission 4.7 addresses a target that says “by 2030”, that’s just a blink of an eye away. We have to move very, very fast.

Cristina: What is your advice to all Italian stakeholders to make Mission 4.7 a success?

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs: In Italy we have tremendous engagement of government, of universities, of civil society and of the business sector. So many businesses are stepping forward and saying “we want to be part of the Sustainable Development Goals, we want Italy to help lead”. Italy is a place where there is nationwide energy and action for sustainable development and this is what I would urge Italians in all sectors of society to build upon.

Cristina: Institution have the obligation, today, to educate citizens of all ages for the disruptive changes ahead.  Occhio al futuro

On air 13/2/21

Visiting a recycling plant

By ecology, sdg 12

One of my first pieces for my TV gig Occhio allo Spreco was shot in a plastic recycling plant. I am fascinated now as I was then by the potential of circular economy. I took advantage of this “throwback” to dig up fresh data. What I found is encouraging on one hand, discouraging on the other, because this pandemic is also putting waste management systems in crisis. And circular systems clash with linear ones.
According to a study by Corepla, the Italian consortium for the collection and disposal of plastic waste, with the Fondazione per lo sviluppo sostenibile, the lockdown in March and April 2020 led to an 8% increase in plastic packaging for food, compared to the same period in 2019.
However, this coincided with the export freeze of 16 thousand tons of waste, due to the limitations imposed by Covid-19. Furthermore, construction activities have slowed down, reducing the amount of non-recyclable plastics used in cement factories, which in turn has saturated the capacity of the national recycling plants. Add the fact that three is less demand for recycled materials. The result is that the share of waste-to-energy waste has increased, but the incinerators are also overloaded, so about + 42,000 tons of waste ended up in landfills compared to last year. And these are partial numbers, because they refer to the first part of the year. And what about the immense volume of disposable masks, considered hazardous waste.
Looking at the pre-Covid trend, in 2019 the collection of differentiated plastics increased by 13% compared to 2018, with an average of about 23 kg / person, which puts Italy among the countries that recycle the most in Europe. However, according to the WWF, Italy is also the first producer in Europe of plastic products and the second for the volume of waste. It is up to us consumers to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic products and packaging. Now.

Cristina: Follow me. Now let’s get into the heart of the plant. Here you see garbage bags that have already been sorted.

Fabio Masotina: Most of the packaging consists of plastic bottles, shopping bags, cans and tinplate – our can of tuna. The first step consists in opening the bag, by a machine that tears them apart.

Cristina: As you can see, all the materials from our packaging are separated here thanks to modern technologies. The cans are identified by a magnet and this activates a compressed air device that pushes them into a dedicated container. The plastics remaining on the belt are separated by a vacuum which lifts the lighter bags. The trays and bottles are divided into various colors by an optical reader. See, what you separate at home arrives here. Fabio what do the bottles and the trays become?

Fabio Masotina: Tables, chairs, sweaters, furnishings and various gadgets.

Cristina: Do you see how many things can be made from plastic materials? Thank you Fabio! I’m Cristina, back to you in the studio!

On air November 8,2008

Recycled Design with Paolo Ulian

By ecology, sdg 12

Creative recycling is in theme with the demands of our times. I dug up an old story with designer Paolo Ulian because his solutions are clever, they look good and are easy to make. Have fun!

Cristina: This pen was designed to be disposable, but today, we try not to throw everything away. When the ink runs out, let’s see what it can become.

Paolo Ulian: We take the clear barrel and insert a nylon cable, one by one. You can string up to four, five barrels and then attach a very simple decorative bead. We take this little crimp, which is a small clamp, stretch the nylon and tighten it with pliers. At this point we have a jointed arm. We take the cap, any color we choose, close it and then the arm can be slipped into the base of a lamp.

Cristina: And with a bottle like this Paolo, what do you do?

Paolo Ulian: We crush it as if we were going to dispose of it, then I go attach the bottle by screwing it in, so that I can use it as a coat rack.

Cristina: Very beautiful. And when they’re not crushed, they fit together.

Paolo Ulian: They fit together to make this screen, simply by mounting them like this. And then with a little imagination and creativity and the same system, you can also build a very simple lamp.

Cristina: And this is a swimming cap, which in Paolo’s hands becomes…

Paolo Ulian: By thinking about the environment and having some good ideas, you can do many things that help us live better.

Cristina: Long live your ingenuity and occhio allo spreco!

On air May 16, 2009

Covid-19: A Conversation with Frank Snowden

By ecology, features

Yale Professor Emeritus Frank Snowden has a deep understanding of the topic which he illustrates in great depth in his last book Society and Pandemics and more concisely in the compelling conversation that I moderated, organized by the NYU Club of Italy in collaboration with the Yale Club of Italy.
“Epidemics are not random events,” explained Professor Snowden “they give warnings.” How do we activate preparedness at all levels of society? And how is Covid-19 shaping our times?

Frank Snowden attended Harvard University, and obtained his doctorate at Oxford. He taught for forty-five years at London and Yale Universities, and is now Andrew Downey Orrick Professor Emeritus of History and History of Medicine. His major publications relating to epidemic diseases are: Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present; The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962; and Naples in the Time of Cholera, 1884-1911. His current research includes a study on the origins of Covid-19, and the lack of preparedness to face it.

Understanding Sustainability – For what it’s earth Series

By ecology

I was honored to be interviewed by Haaziq Kazi, a young brilliant 14 year old from Pune, India, who I met on stage at the international food summit Seeds&Chips in Milan in 2019 where he presented the prototype of a ship he designed to clean plastic from our oceans. His mission is to raise awareness on what we can do to protect our environment and his new project with the Ervis Foundation is to widen the conversation and connect like-minded people in the #forwhatitsearth series. We can only be humbled by the calling of such an inspired and dedicated teenager. Thank you Ervis Foundation and Haaziq for building bridges and motivating people to take action.

Biova – beer from circular economy

By ecology

Inspired by the Egyptians and motivated to do good, Franco Dipietro and his collaborators hit a home run: they use unsold bread – and in Italy there is really a lot, every day – to brew a delicious beer. To go from an idea to reality, you need an entrepreneurial approach, accurate knowledge of the laws and an organized supply chain. They did it. We can’t wait to find Biova throughout Italy and to appreciate 20 different flavors.

Cristina: By volunteering to recover leftover food for the needy, a group of young people experienced the problem of waste firsthand, bread in particular, which, every day, in Italy, amounts to 1,300 tons. Hence the idea of ​​transforming it. We came to Turin to tell their story. Franco, what do you do with the bread?

Franco Dipietro: We recover the unsold bread at the end of the day and turn it into beer, 150kg of bread become 2,500 liters of craft beer. This is our way of giving new value to something that would otherwise be waste.

Cristina: How do you collect it?

Franco Dipietro: We’ve developed our own protocol: we recover it at the end of the day before it legally becomes waste. We take it to centers built specifically to treat it, where we dry it, grind it and turn it into a new ingredient. In this case, to replace barley malt to make new beer. Not only are we recovering something unsold, we’re saving on the use of a raw material, up to 30% and even up to 50% with new recipes that we’re developing.

Cristina: Do you think you can produce all over Italy?

Franco Dipietro: It is a possible supply chain, we’ve studied a model that allows us to replicate it throughout Italy. We always try to have our centers near existing breweries, so only our recipes travel. This way we can limit emissions and related costs.

Cristina: Do you always ferment locally?

Franco Dipietro: Exactly, in the past few years breweries have increased throughout Italy, and they also work for third parties. So we can go “cook” the bread in various places.

Cristina: So each region will have its own flavor…

Franco Dipietro: It’s very interesting because clearly the bread gives a characteristic taste to the beer, therefore according to the regionality of the bread, the taste of the beer changes. This is also a lot of fun to try.

Cristina: This was a lifestyle change for you.

Franco Dipietro: Absolutely, we realized that bread is a very difficult problem to manage. It costs very little and the surplus is too abundant to be redistributed. In Italy, almost two whole soccer fields of bread are wasted every day, so reducing food waste is definitely a way to guarantee a more sustainable future.

Cristina: This circular economy project fulfills SDGs 12 and 13. Let’s celebrate this beautiful solution to reduce food waste with a nice toast! Occhio al futuro

On air June 20, 2020

Gamindo – How to donate by gaming

By technology

How can you turn time into money? Nicolò Santin and a group of young Italians found a winning formula for using games as fundraising tools. By designing video games for companies, who want to support non-profit organizations as a CSR activity and by letting the gamers choose where to donate, the creators of Gamindo implemented a positive cycle.
Gamindo launched its app in February 2020 with 5,000 users and now there are more than 15,000, who can choose from 12 games to support 22 non-profit organizations.

Cristina: Playing, today we’ll make donations to nonprofit organizations without spending a euro from our pockets, thanks to a new video game platform, which converts time into money. Hello Nicolò, how many and what kind of games have you developed?

Nicolò Santin: Over 10 games of logic, memory, running and adventure. We’re focusing a lot on educational games also in relation to Covid and the SDGs.

Cristina: How do donations work?

Nicolò Santin: Donations are possible thanks to the companies on the platform. They commission the games and thanks to the budgets they set aside, people can make donations by assigning the “gems” they receive while they play.

Cristina: It also guarantees you economic sustainability because you’re still a startup, right?

Nicolò Santin: Absolutely. The development of the game guarantees us economic sustainability but the platform’s mission is to allow anyone to donate by playing. It has a social and an environmental impact too.

Cristina: It’s an excellent CSR tool for companies. How many and what kind of associations are you supporting?

Nicolò Santin: We have already supported over 20 NGOs, from Buzzi Hospital to EMERGENCY and Plant for the Planet, with whom we planted over 100 trees on Earth Day, and it was possible thanks to the users and to their matches, who chose who to donate their gems to. This all means a lot to us. We donated 1,000 euros to the Buzzi Children’s Hospital in Milan and Antonella will tell us more.

Antonella: It was a pleasure to collaborate and thanks to Oggy’s video game our OBM Onlus improved hospitality for the families.

Cristina: What is the average age of your players?

Nicolò Santin: 25-30 years old.

Cristina: So old?

Nicolò Santin: Yes, people believe that gamers are teenagers, locked in their rooms, while actually the average age of gamers in Italy is 34.

Cristina: Thanks Nicolò. In recent weeks, the WHO launched the #PlayApartTogether initiative. Video games are estimated to be the favorite entertainment for 2.3 billion people worldwide and this story proves that there can be an important social and therapeutic value as well. This platform fulfills SDGs 8, 9, 11, and 13. Occhio al futuro

On air May 30, 2020

Life Based Value – caregiving as a master’s degree

By technology

Starting from her life experience when she became a mother, Riccarda Zezza created Life Based Value, a platform that transfers the soft skills developed while taking care of others, to the professional field.

Cristina: We all take care of young and/or old people and we know how many skills are needed to do it well. Today we’re meeting a woman who, thanks to her life experience, created a method to transfer soft skills to her profession. Riccarda how was your idea born and how does it work?

Riccarda Zezza: When I became a mother, I was a manager in a large company and I discovered that this was a problem in the professional world, yet the same company had enrolled me in training programs to develop a series of soft skills that maternity was already training. For example, think about time management, crisis management and empathy. I’ve seen a great paradox, even wasteful, because companies spend a lot of money to train their employees for a series of skills that life trains us for, naturally. This happened 7-8 years ago. From there I began to do research with Andrea Vitullo who is an executive coach and we discovered that when we become parents we develop skills that are needed in the professional world. Today, seven years later, we sell this learning method to companies through a digital platform, so our client companies make this method available to new parents, mothers and fathers, but also to caregivers of their parents. Taking care of someone improves these skills and people can scale those talents and adapt them to their jobs.

Cristina: This initiative fulfills 8 SDGs: 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 16 and 17. What is your dream now?

Riccarda Zezza: Today we’re in 23 countries and our users tell us that they have acquired the energy and skills – what they need is the space to bring them into the world, in society. My dream is to demonstrate as quickly as possible that economically and socially caregiving has value, it is a need that the human species has and it ecompasses all those energies and resources that today we’re looking for in the wrong places.

Cristina: Thanks Riccarda. Knowing how to observe and reflect, evaluate objectives and make decisions, improve, adapt and play, makes everything easier. Occhio al futuro!

On air March 21, 2020

Alisea – circular design

By ecology, sdg 10, sdg 12, sdg 15, sdg 17, sdg 8, sdg 9, technology

Susanna Martucci Fortuna, founder of Alisea, turned a crisis into an opportunity. She created an all-Italian supply chain of advanced engineers, designers and craftsmen to give new life to industrial waste.

Cristina: Today we’re meeting a woman who turned a crisis into an opportunity. She was losing her company, and grappling with what to do, she remembered a conversation about recycling and questioned how she could give new life to industrial waste, which abounds in her district of Vicenza. She took her idea to the experts and created an all-Italian supply chain of advanced engineers, designers and craftsmen. Let’s go meet her and see what she does. Good morning Susanna, what are we looking at here?

Susanna Martucci: This is all about graphite: these are graphite electrodes and this powder is the unavoidable waste of the production process, recovered from the factories’ ventilation systems. We reclaim this dust and make it into a new material. This is a granule made with 80% of this waste. This new material, which comes from circular economy, has led us to design an innovative process to make pencils, without wood or glue to attach the eraser. Each pencil removes 15 grams of graphite powder from landfills and in a year we save 60,000 trees – we don’t think about all the wood that goes into your normal pencil.

Cristina: Did you do anything else with graphite?

Susanna Martucci: Yes, we clearly fell in love with this material. In this other case we always start from graphite powder, but add water, a process we use to dye fabrics. The young designers we work with dye all sorts of materials – wool, denim, silk, organic cotton – in a totally non-toxic way. This here, is instead recycled plastic, which we turn into rulers, record sleeves, and more, all from recycled post-consumer bottles.

Cristina: All this thanks to Susanna’s creativity and determination. These children’s puzzles are made from recycled fair stands and so are these bags. We’re running out of time, but this is also graphite with recycled cork. These are made from coffee bags and leather scraps. Susanna’s work addresses 6 of the 17 SDGs: 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, and 17. Occhio al futuro!

On air February 29, 2020