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Liv Sala

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

Federico Faggin – Are conscious computers possible?

By sdg 9, technology

Will computers become smarter than humans? Will they help us solve the grand challenges of our time? We spoke with Italian scientist Federico Faggin, who invented the first microprocessor in 1971, revolutionizing the world. In 1986, starting from the common assumption that consciousness is a property of the brain, he worked to develop computers capable of becoming conscious and self-learning. What will become of the human being? What will you do? What will be the next necessary change? Listen to what one of the most brilliant men of our time has to say about the future we’re building.

Cristina: Can computers become smarter than humans? Can they help us solve the great challenges of our time? We talked about it with the Italian scientist Federico Faggin, who revolutionized the world in 1971 by inventing the first microprocessor. In 1986, starting from the assumption that consciousness is a property of the brain, he made efforts to develop computers capable of becoming conscious and self-learning. Federico where are we with the development of conscious computers?

Federico Faggin: We haven’t even started. In my opinion, conscious computers won’t be possible. The computer is simply a manipulator of symbols, although at first I thought the computer could be aware, this was in ‘86/’87. I also thought that the complexity of the brain could be expressed through consciousness, then thinking about it, trying to understand and create a computer that could be aware, I realized that this was impossible because there is no physical law that allows you to transform electrical signals – those of a computer or the biochemical signals of the brain – into consciousness, sensations or feelings. We perceive the world through sensations and feelings.

Cristina: What are the risks of assuming that computers will become conscious?

Federico Faggin: Many people are sidetracked in the way they think they are, believing that life can be simulated on a computer and so on, that awareness is downloadable to a computer. These are things that actually have no scientific foundation, in fact scientific foundation denies them, so why worry? Machines have no understanding, awareness is what gives us an understanding of reality. We are much more than we think we are and this can only be understood through a lived experience, it cannot be mentally understood. As long as a person believes that the only understanding is mental, rather than experiential, he’ll be wrong. Unfortunately, science today thinks everything is mental, forgetting about heart, gut instinct and courage. As long as science, considered the authority, recognizes nothing but matter – physicality and disowns any aspect which suggests something that isn’t matter, we have a huge problem. It’s when someone begins to recognize something that cannot be reduced to matter, that a whole possibility of new knowledge opens up, a new experience which is denied today. A physicist will typically dismiss this conversation by saying “ah but this is philosophy”, putting it aside and going on as usual.

Cristina: The understanding of reality convinced 193 countries to draft and adopt the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. Federico Faggin was a fundamental driver of many innovations – therefore SDG 9 fully belongs to him. And his study of consciousness affects all the others.

Part II

Cristina: In an increasingly automated world, where many repetitive jobs will be replaced by robots, what will the human being do or have to deal with?

Federico Faggin: His emotional, spiritual and mental development. The hope is that artificial intelligence, used wisely, could lead us to this. The problem is when it is instead used against or to reduce mankind, which is manipulable, to consume goods that are proposed through the manipulation of information. That is the problem. Ethics are fundamental, certainly when artificial intelligence is used in medicine, or in automatic driving, establishing ethical rules of behavior becomes essential. Not to mention the use of artificial intelligence in warfare. There have already been ethical problems with chemical weapons for example, so there are treaties to regulate that. The problem will become more and more serious, as technology becomes more powerful, but ethics can always be violated, that’s the problem. What do we do when ethics are violated? The fundamental problem is to change the image that people have of themselves so they can self regulate. This means educating the awareness of who we are. People think that change occurs outside of us but we must change inside. Today most people believe that changing outside one will change inside, but it doesn’t work that way. One can only change something outside if one changes inside, and it is precisely the problem of consciousness. This is the fundamental step that people must take today to understand that they are not like a machine. Man is not a machine, he is a spiritual being.

Cristina: Do you trust that humanity will collectively awaken? Especially in relation to climate issues?

Federico Faggin: There is no choice, humanity must change. To solve the problems of climate change that will occur in 30-40-50 potentially catastrophic years will require that humanity agree to solve this problem as a species, no longer as individual countries.

Cristina: Will there be a technology that will speed up this process?

Federico Faggin: Technology is easily accessible if the world agrees to employ it for the cause, in fact there is a fundamental technology that in my opinion, by chance, appeared at the same time as global problems, which is the Internet. It allows people to come to agreements in one day, if there is the will. The whole world can know what’s happening on our planet.

Cristina: In this context, SDG 9 – technological innovation could be able to help humanity honor all 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda. It’s up to us. Federico Faggin concludes his autobiography Silicio with a very fitting quote by Albert Einstein: “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid, human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and intelligent.” The combination of the two constitutes an incalculable force. Occhio al futuro!

On air February 8 & 15 2020

Econyl – regenerated nylon yarn

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 15, sdg 16, sdg 4, sdg 6, sdg 7, sdg 8, technology

We know that the textile industry, as a whole, is among the biggest polluters. However, there are those who are turning the tide: Aquafil, with its regenerated nylon yarn Econyl, produces textile fibers from scraps, waste and new materials. Producing positive actions and changes for the economy, society and the environment, along their entire production chain.

Cristina: We know that the textile industry, as a whole, is among the biggest polluters. However, there are those who are turning the tide by producing textile fibers from scraps, waste and new materials.
In this company, the factories are powered 100% by renewable energies and closed cycle water is used in every phase of production. They’ve implemented environmental protocols throughout the supply chain and educational projects for employees and in schools.
Research is carried out on new biomass materials, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced every year, programs to protect the seas are promoted and life cycle analysis are carried out for all products. Together, these actions fulfill 8 of the 17 SDGs – the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For every 10,000 tons of raw material from the recycling process, 70,000 barrels of oil are avoided and the equivalent of 57,100 tons of CO2 are saved.
This is how fishing nets are transformed, along with other nylon waste. In 2018, 78 tons were recovered from NGOs operating throughout Europe. Once cleaned, the nets are chemically transformed, the liquid becomes polymer and the polymer becomes yarn. The result is that more and more yarn comes from a regeneration process. To become carpets, glasses, bags, clothes, swimwear.
Dr. Bonazzi, can you imagine fulfilling the nylon market demand with only recycled and reclaimed materials?

Giulio Bonazzi: No, unfortunately not, even if all nylon could be recovered, it would never be enough to guarantee future needs. In addition, recycling has its own environmental impact, we try to constantly improve it, but it’s important to understand how we recycle and how to minimize impacts during the process.

Cristina: What does it mean for you to innovate? Both as a citizen and as an entrepreneur?

Giulio Bonazzi: For me, innovating means quitting something that’s outdated to do something new. Before recycling you have to reduce raw materials, reuse and then, recycle.

Cristina: Do you already have a new family of materials ready?

Giulio Bonazzi: Yes, we want to produce nylon from renewable sources or from biomass, actually we’ve already produced the first kilos.

Cristina: Could we notice the difference between yarn derived from oil, recycling or biomass?

Giulio Bonazzi: No, the finished products are perfectly identical but the difference in environmental impact is huge.

Cristina: What a fine example of circular economy. Thanks Dr. Bonazzi. Occhio al futuro!

On air January 18, 2020

Sunscreens: how to choose the best ones for you and the planet

By ecology, sdg 14

The sunscreen we use is accumulating in the oceans with dire consequences. It is estimated that an average of 10.000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers, and even more sunscreen pollution damages coastal areas due to waste water that eventually flows into the seas.

Not only juvenile fish and invertebrates, but up to 10% of the world’s coral reefs could be threatened by chemicals, specifically 4, found in common sunscreens, and even low concentrations are hazardous: one drop in 6.5 Olympic sized swimming pools!

 

These are the ones to look out for:
Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3) is found in more than 3500 sunscreen brands worldwide. It’s a chemical filter that disrupts coral reproduction, causes bleaching, and damages its DNA.
Butylparaben, the most common preservative, also causes bleaching.
Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) is another filtering agent proven to cause coral bleaching.
4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) is another chemical to avoid. It is allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan.

The Haereticus Environmental Laboratory researches the effects of sunscreens and other personal care ingredients on coral reefs, other ecosystems and wildlife. The list of ingredients that they consider to be environmental pollutants includes:

Any form of microplastic sphere or beads.
Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. (These are friendly ingredients when non-nano.)
Oxybenzone
Octinoxate
4-methylbenzylidene camphor
Octocrylene
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
Methylparaben
Ethylparaben
Propylparaben
Butylparaben
Benzylparaben
Triclosan

This is a certification to look for if you want to protect your skin and the marine ecosystems: Protect Land + Sea 

Coherent beauty

By ecology, sdg 14, sdg 3

How to take care of our body and skin without damaging the planet? It's not easy.

Recently I trusted the reputation of a brand that I used a long time ago and bought some face creams. Then I looked at the list of ingredients…

  • Titanium dioxide is used as a protective filter for UVB rays. There are studies showing that very small nanoparticles >35nm of uncoated titanium dioxide can be harmful to the environment by being toxic to marine life. The extremely small size of these particles generates oxidative stress under UV light potentially causing cellular damage to sensitive organisms such as coral or juvenile fish and invertebrates.
  • Liquid paraffin is a colorless and odorless oil, which has mineral origins and is composed of a mix of C15-C40 hydrocarbons obtained from the distillation of petroleum oil. When used on the skin it forms a lipid film. Due to their oily nature, however, products containing paraffin prevent adequate transpiration.
  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (also known as octinoxate) is considered an environmental hazard in many locations and is one of 10 chemicals listed on the European watch list of substances that may pose a significant risk to the aquatic environment. Depending on the topical vehicle used, relatively little chemical is absorbed into the skin, leaving 94% – 99% on the skin that can be washed off into various water sources.

In 2010 I interviewed the eco-dermatologist Riccarda Serri who founded the non profit organization SkinEco, with the desire to shed light on the environmental impact and the interaction with our skin of commonly used cosmetic products. The current European legislation does not yet consider the biodegradability of substances used in cosmetics, and only in Europe, every day, 5,100 tons of cosmetic products are consumed. Unfortunately Riccarda is no longer with us but her precious teaching remain, which I reviewed, discovering that when I finish the products I purchased, I will search again for creams without the chemicals indicated by Riccarda.

Here is an excerpt from my book Occhio allo Spreco

Dr. Serri, what are the most common ingredients that deserve our attention?

“Petrolatum and paraffin are derived from oil, nature is unable to digest them and for the skin there is better. Vaseline, used a lot in childhood products, is occlusive and disturbs the skin microbiology; silicone, and all the ingredients that end in –one and –ani, do not nourish the skin but give texture to the product. ”
A drop of foundation thickened with silicone on the sink is very difficult to clean. This is the case with our face too, and due to the increasing use of substances that mimic in the product the characteristics that one would like to transfer to the skin – a smooth, velvety effect, the use of exfoliating masks and scrubs also increases.
“The last layer of our skin is composed of corneolites, or cells without a nucleus. They are called dead cells, but they are not dead, as they play an important metabolic function and, concludes Serri, “they advise us to clean our skin as if it were Capodimonte ceramic, then we need the scrub for thorough cleaning. At that point the skin becomes irritated and a restoring cream is needed. This triggers a vicious cycle “.

What should we prefer?

“A delicate, natural detergent, to be removed with a pure cotton cloth soaked in warm water. There are also microfiber face cloths that clean without detergents. “

And what to avoid?

“Disinfectants such as Triclosan, very harmful for the environment, which penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis and have even been found in breast milk. The motto of cosmetics that are healthy for our skin and the environment is: QB, which in Italian means quanto basta – the right amount of a quality product. “

In researching products that use less plastic (or don’t use it at all) I found greater consistency with the content. For example, I’m trying toothpaste in tablets, packaged in glass and the experience is very interesting. And another in a paste made from coconut oil. Instead, another brand to which I am faithful, which produces a toothpaste without threatening ingredients such as dyes, preservatives, disinfectants and SLS fluoride, is distributed in a plastic tube but I would like to know what polymer it is to understand if it is recyclable.

If we look for natural products we can’t trust the slogans on the packaging – but are there any alternatives to a fantastic cream in a plastic container?

For more information on the chemicals to be avoided, it is useful to consult the website of the REACH directive. It is not necessary to become environmentally paranoid but it is important to be informed. In June 2007, the European Parliament approved the REACH directive (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) with the aim of studying highly suspicious materials and regulating their use. It is estimated that there are around 900 of these which are highly concerning and REACH is identifying other 600 dangerous ones. On the basis of studies and samples, it is estimated that, on average, we all have several hundred harmful chemicals in our bodies.
Currently it is very expensive to introduce new substances on the market, for this reason industries prefer to use existing ones which have never been adequately tested. We are the guinea pigs.

In 1981 there were 100,106 chemicals in use and since then only 4,300 have been introduced, of which 70% are suspected to contain at least one unhealthy ingredient.

Listed in categories 1 and 2 of the REACH index are substances abbreviated as CMR: carcinogenic, mutagenic (they damage genes) and toxic to the reproductive system.
“Highly dangerous” are also “persistent”, “bio-accumulative” (PBT) “very persistent” and “very bio-accumulative” (vPvBs) substances.
Hormonal inhibitors (endocrine disruptors) are also concerning, considered responsible for various hormonal alterations such as hormone-dependent tumors (breast, prostate, uterus), infertility, precocious puberty or menopause, fetal malformations and hermaphroditism (both in men and in animals ).
To learn more about the effects of products on our body: EWG.org e safecosmetics.org
There is a new app called Thinkdirty that I will try.

Federico Faggin, the science of consciousness

By features, technology

He made an important contribution to humanity by developing the first microprocessors and simplifying computer architecture. He invented the touchscreen and now, through the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation, he studies the nature of consciousness.

Federico Faggin, Italian physicist, inventor and entrepreneur, was born in Vicenza on December 1, 1941. He graduated in physics summa cum laude in 1965 at the University of Padova. Since 1968 Faggin resides in the United States.
At Intel he was responsible for developing various microprocessors, some still in use today. He develops MOS technology with silicon gate, which allows the first microprocessors and EPROM and RAM memories to be manufactured. They are essential for the digitization of information.
In 1986 Faggin co-founded and directed Synaptics, which developed the first touchpads and touchscreens.
On October 19, 2010 Faggin receives from President Barack Obama the National Medal for Technology and Innovation for the invention of the microprocessor.
In 2011 he founded the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation, dedicated to the scientific study of consciousness through the sponsorship of theoretical and experimental research programs at US universities and research institutes.

FEDERICO FAGGIN FOR THE GOOD LIFE ITALIA 

We meet Federico and Elvia Faggin in Piazza dei Signori in Vicenza. The background of the Palladian Basilica could not be more fitting. The harmony of shapes, the regular intervals of arches and openings, the span of variable widths, create a whole that is more powerful than a sum of parts. Faggin’s career is also a sum of parts, the result of teamwork that the Vicenza physicist directed with the natural virtue of a leader. Thus  Intel 4004 was born, the first microprocessor in the history of computer science, which has a harmony of its own. Integrated circuits create a pattern, a play of light and shadow, and the placement of each piece manifests in the whole function. The parts, by working together, create something powerful.

In 1986 he founded Synaptics, with the aim of developing computers capable of self-learning through structures of neural networks. An intuition that anticipated today’s research by 30 years. As a physicist, he had learned that there is only an objective world made of matter, energy, space and time. “If consciousness is a property of the brain, I said to myself, I should be able to make a computer that is aware,” he says with the intense gaze of a man who will never cease to investigate. “I had a very valid scientific committee of neuroscientists and I asked them: “What is the difference between awareness and the brain?” And they answered “clearly awareness is a phenomenon of the brain”.

Faggin is determined to understand and undertakes a long, passionate journey. He compares and harmonizes his educated scientific mind with intuition and his inner dialogue with the phenomenology of the external world. An indivisible whole like the union with Elvia, his wife and life partner.

In 1992 comes another invention that will change the way we interface with technologies. The touchpad. “It came from something inconsequential,” he says. “A small inconvenience. I was on the board of directors of Logitech – they made trackballs, and I had one of the first laptops with a trackball and I constantly had to open it and clean it because the oil from my hands lubricated the ball and it no longer worked. At that time I had a small research group and launched a proposal to look for an alternative to trackballs with solid-state electronics. In a couple of months, we invented the touchpad which replaced the trackball and the touchscreen, for which there was no platform yet.”

Will Faggin revolutionize the world of science the way he did with computing? “My goal is to understand, not revolutionize”, he replies with humble firmness. “After years of investigation, I experienced an episode that turned my prospects upside down. It was 1990. I was almost 50 years old and I had a spontaneous experience, not induced and very short, in which I felt I was both the world and the observer of the world. An event which was alien to the ordinary ones where we feel separated from others. Something profound changed in me. I realized that the only way was to explore my awareness firsthand. I don’t know if you’re aware, nor do you know if I am. We cannot prove it scientifically and this is part of the problem.” Faggin relies on a transpersonal psychologist, not to remove traumas but to understand the process and expose himself to new ideas. He studies, deepens, lives other experiences. “After that first time, I had so many, in response to what I was looking for. And it continues to be so. I have a dream and I wake up with an idea. I know I’m guided. How could it be otherwise? There is no way you can get there alone. We are guided. “

His candor is illuminating. A summa cum laude student, a scientist who made history, decides to apply the principle of repetition and verification to his new research. He finds the right school for him in the Diamond Approach. It investigates the multiple dimensions of human potential through an integrated path of psychology and spirituality. Faggin participates in retreats for lessons and meditations, study and practice for 10 years. Until, in 2008, he understands how to bring into the world what, up to that point, had been a personal process.

He sells his latest company, Foveon, which produces sensors for image acquisition to the Japanese. He leaves numerous boards of directors and in 2009 understands that, to have an impact, research on awareness must be funded. He knows good people who can’t find funds. The premise is that awareness is only a function of the brain. So, in 2011, the Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation was born.

“Federico was the one who put my name on the Foundation. I have no role in originating ideas but I am always close to them,” Elvia says enthusiastically. “He works continuously with thought and imagination and when he wakes up at night with ideas, I wake up with him and talk about it. In this sense I am very involved.”

Federico: “My wife is an integral part of my journey and declaring her by my side in this new adventure represents the essence of our union.”

Elvia: “Space and time are two obsessions of Federico and during nocturnal conversations he tries to understand how to fit the pieces of the puzzle into his philosophical-scientific model.”

Federico: “It is beautiful because our Yin Yang dynamic reflects the polarities at the origin of life itself. Who knows why everything that is phenomenological must be an expression of a truth instead of being open. We need to combine the intuitive, feminine, with the rational, masculine. Science and spirituality must find a harmony that does not exist today. They are two separate fields that coexist but do not recognize each other, and it is time to stop, otherwise we reduce our humanity to a machine on the one hand, and on the other, we cultivate a sense of superiority. This dualism causes fundamentalism and dystopia. Let’s go further to understand how the nature of reality works.”

Unity of awareness

His is another way of seeing. He explains: “I cannot directly observe your inner world, I must try to understand it by interpreting symbols: your words, how you behave, your entire physical appearance. Awareness, however, which exists before space – time, perceives the entirety of the other, not only the symbols but all the fields by which it is created. It sees them together, simultaneously. We are the other and we are ourselves. It is that kind of contradiction that exists in quantum physics. The qbit is both zero and one. True and false. This apparent contradiction comes from the fact that reality, even before the universe, is holistic. There is no distinguishable part. In holism of classical physics, parts are separable and identifiable. In quantum mechanics we speak of holism where there are identifiable parts that cannot be called parts. I call them whole parts, units of awareness. Each has its identifiable yet inseparable identity. If the parts were not identifiable there would be no self. In my model, the symbolic aspect is irreducible from the semantic one, and I call it nus which means “mind” in Greek. That becomes nusym, a new name to indicate something from which everything emerges: space, time, matter and energy. Two indivisible aspects, matter and spirit. Like the two sides of a coin, the external one we see and the inner one, which is the inner experience of that coin.”

If you wondered what happened to the conscious computer, after years of studies, Faggin came to the conclusion that it is impossible to design: “how do I translate what I feel into electrical or biochemical signals, and vice versa. We perceive reality within us through sensations and feelings, emotions and thoughts. That has nothing to do with electrical signals,” he concludes.

The computer to be explored is within us.

The water we eat

By ecology, sdg 13, sdg 14, sdg 15, sdg 2, sdg 3

Have you ever thought about the amount of water you consume in a day? Not just the water you drink, or use at home. Even the food we eat has a water footprint, it’s called virtual water and often represents more than half of our daily water consumption.
During Broken Nature at La Triennale di Milano, there will be a Wonderwater Café with a menu translated entirely in terms of water footprint for each dish!

Cristina: Many of us are good at not wasting water at home, but we rarely know how much we consume indirectly. For example, the water needed to produce our food.
Wonderwater Cafè is a traveling project that reaches the Triennale restaurant in Milan for the duration of the Broken Nature exhibition. It stems from a collaboration between scientists and designers and is translated in a menu which illustrates the water footprint of each dish.

Jane Withers: We have no idea about the quantities of water that go into making food. So we wanted to point out the differences between beans grown in Kenya, where they may be draining water resources from local communities, and seasonal, rainfed greens that are locally sourced. We saw the effects, during the drought in California two years ago, when almond prices shot up, it was proof of these invisible water systems.

Cristina: Do you find that scientific facts have to be adapted to reach a large audience?

Jane Withers: I think so, yes. I mean, they’re doing the hard work, the heavy lifting, but we’re trying to put facts in a language that people can understand. I think that a menu that represents the water footprint when you’re choosing what to eat that makes a difference. Maybe looking through it and assessing whether we want a pizza with tomatoes that is equivalent to 290 litres or one with the chili sausage at 960 litres has an impact on our choices. They’re staggering numbers.

Cristina: The first WonderWater café dates back to 2011. In just a few years, awareness of the problem has grown alongside the project.

Jane Withers: At King’s College in London, our academic partners worked to understand where each ingredient comes from, is sourced and so on. So there’s more transparency, but I think the really interesting thing also is that then, it seemed really abstract but now there’s a sense of urgency about it. We’re probably all becoming aware that the single most important thing we can do is to shift from a meat to a vegetarian diet or a flexitarian diet. And the differences are between over 5,000 litres per day for a meat diet to 2,600. They’re palpable. I think there’s a lot more interest and awareness.

Cristina: The information is there, people are more and more willing to be informed about their choices and what impact they have. So if you’re a restaurateur, if you bring food to the world in any way, share this knowledge because it’s very important. Occhio al futuro

On air May 4, 2019

Stefano Mancuso – how intelligent are plants?

By ecology, sdg 15, technology

Prof. Stefano Mancuso, author and Director of the LINV – International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, talks about intelligence in the plant kingdom – based on a network model. The Internet is an example!

Cristina: We often think that in order to succeed we have to climb a peak or become a leader of something to have influence, but the plant world teaches us much more. Does it teach us that intelligence can spread like wildfire and why? How?

Stefano Mancuso: Everything you said is true, because we are inspired by the animal model, which runs on a central brain that governs organs, and it’s the model we replicate in our organizations. There is a leader and a hierarchy underneath, a bureaucracy that serves the purpose of transmitting orders. The plant model, paradoxically, is much more modern than the animal model because it is a widespread network. In other words, the plant distributes functions throughout the body that animals concentrate in their organs. Imagine an organization of this kind, these very modern organizations, the internet itself is made this way, it does not have a central command, or the cryptocurrencies that are such a topic today. Bitcoin and all the cryptocurrencies run on decentralized systems and, as such, they work very well.

Cristina: What strategic developments would benefit from this model?

Stefano Mancuso: We could build any type of organization inspired by the plant world. There is an American multinational company called Morningstar that works this way, it has no manager. It is fully distributed and works great. The way we have approached society in our history is not the only one. 99% of the life of this planet uses a different system.

Cristina: Why does it make sense to imitate living creatures that apparently don’t move?

Stefano Mancuso: Plants see, plants hear, plants sleep, plants are able to communicate, and have social relationships.

Cristina: How can we imitate their behavior?

Stefano Mancuso: Plants produce resources, animals consume them, therefore we imitate plants when we produce and consume the least amount of resources possible. We can transform our organizations, it’s not written anywhere that they must necessarily be pyramidal. Let’s make them distributed – we would reap the benefits in no time.

Cristina: It’s up to us to decide whether we want to behave like animals or plants. Occhio al futuro

On air April 27, 2019

Broken Nature – Paola Antonelli’s Triennial

By ecology

Paola Antonelli is the biggest source of inspiration as we try to narrow the gap between what we know and how we live. Broken Nature presents a wealth of ideas and solutions to become regenerative citizens of a beautiful Planet. If you weren’t able to visit the Triennale again and again, brokennature.org is a source to go too (even for those who did visit the exhibit!). Thank you Paola for your vision and your tenacity.

Cristina: We are at the Triennale di Milano. Broken Nature is an international and interdisciplinary exhibition on show until September 1, which investigates our relationship with natural systems, human society, our way of living, producing and consuming. Curated by a great Italian, Paola Antonelli, who for the occasion is on loan from MoMA in New York. What is the essence of Broken Nature, what do you want viewers to take home?

Paola Antonelli: I would like them to take home the fact that in order to be responsible, live sustainably, activate a restorative attitude, one must not sacrifice aesthetics or pleasure, sensuality or elegance.

Cristina: People often feel too small to have an impact. What do you think?

Paola Antonelli: I don’t see it that way, because we can’t just rely on governments or institutions and surrender our destiny. We have enormous power that also comes from social media, a person then becomes a group, a tribe, a community, after which if governments want to have any effectiveness, they must also follow what the public wants.

Cristina: What is the ideal amount of time to spend in this exhibition to leave with lasting impressions and learnings?

Paola Antonelli: I’d say at least three quarters of an hour. I hope that children will come and be inspired because in the end, in forty years, design will become like physics, there will be theoretical and applied design and knowledge will flow between them.

Cristina: How did you define the social aspect?

Paola Antonelli: For example Fernando Laposse thought about the recovery of corn species that had been lost and then used the beards and the outside of the cob to make an inlay. Even with such a simple action, design can recover material culture that has been lost, it’s also a great example of how the community can be engaged.

Cristina: How do you define the 21st century designer?

Paola Antonelli: There are lots of possibilities for expression. To start, there is furniture, obviously there are cars, there are also materials. There are designers who design scenarios or try to show us what the future consequences of our choices today might be. There are interface designers, who program the screen and the interaction with an ATM. There are bio-designers who deal with living organisms or design with them. Neri Oxman and Mediated Matter Group are inspiring a generation of designers who learn to work with nature to make objects and buildings that grow instead of being made in traditional ways. Skylar Tibbits is working with the Maldivian government to stop beach erosion. They are all very active and are having a big impact. I’m very proud of everyone.

Cristina: Thanks Paola. Don’t miss Broken Nature.