Category

sdg 9

Decarbonization by 2050 with Jeff Sachs

By ecology, sdg 11, sdg 13, sdg 14, sdg 15, sdg 7, sdg 9

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, a dynamic promoter of a necessary transition and is President of the United Nation’s SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network).

We interviewed him to talk about decarbonization and how reaching zero emissions by 2050 is a crucial goal for the entire world.

Cristina: Professor Sachs joins us again from New York, he’s one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development. Bentornato, thank you for being with us again. 2050, decarbonization, really the end crucial goal. How can you guide us to understanding obligations and solutions, also how relevant and important it is to act now?

Prof. Jeff Sachs: We need to stop emitting greenhouse gases that are warming the planet and most importantly the carbon dioxide coming from fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. In order to do that, we need to change our very energy, from fossil fuels, to wind and solar and hydro and other low carbon energy. We need to change our transport from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles we need to use clean energy to produce clean fuels like hydrogen. Splitting water to make hydrogen that can be used by industry and we need to stop chopping down the forests which emit carbon dioxide as well. These are the basic pillars. This is a dramatic change because the energy system is at the core of a modern economy, it will take us some decades to do. 2050 has been set because if we don’t decarbonize by 2050 we are likely to experience rises of temperatures beyond the 1,5 C warming that could lead to runaway climate disasters. So, 2050 is a really tough timeline to achieve this because of all the time it will take to replace the vehicles, for the new infrastructure, for the new power plants, but it can be accomplished, this is what serious studies are showing. We can do this, and we can do this in an affordable manner and must urgently move now so that by 2050 we are at zero net emissions of greenhouse gases.

Cristina: In the reports that you have been responsible for compiling, the most encouraging aspect to me was the job opportunities. Could you briefly sum up what we’re looking at?

Prof. Jeff Sachs: There’s a lot of new jobs and new clean green industry that will be created from this transformation. And the truth of the matter is the old fossil fuel sector that has to go away, basically over time, was so capital intensive, it didn’t have so many jobs. We’re going to see a net creation of jobs in the new green digital world.

Cristina:  This is the greatest challenge of our time, let’s turn it into an opportunity. Occhio al futuro

On air 4/17/2021

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

Investigating e-waste

By ecology, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 15, sdg 9, technology

Precious metals in electronics present three problems: damage to the environment during extraction, the short life span of the devices themselves and not being properly recycled at the end of their life cycle. It’s estimated that by 2080, the largest mineral reserves will no longer be underground, but on the surface – in the form of ingots or as parts of building materials, appliances, furniture and devices.
Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi of Studio Formafantasma conducted an ambitious survey on the recycling of electronic waste with their Ore Streams project – on display during Broken Nature at the Milan Triennale.

Cristina: This drawer is made with an old computer case. Did you know that electrical and electronic waste are the fastest-growing sector and only 30% of it is recycled. Working on the remaining 70% is very complex because the objects we are talking about are complex, as are their supply chains.

Simone Farresin: Dismantling the objects is fundamental, therefore a universal screw system would be very useful. Then, the color black, used for electrical cables, can’t be detected by the optical readers used to separate them. Simply changing the color would help identify them and recover the copper. It would also be fundamental to establish a labeling system that tells the user, when they buy electronics, how long the product will last. These objects are recycled but in a slightly more sophisticated way in our countries, while developing countries need color codes to help them detect the dangerous components so they don’t dismantle them manually and they’re recycled properly.

Cristina: Have you met keyplayers for your project along the entire supply chain? Where have you encountered the greatest resistance?

Andrea Trimarchi: I must say that one of the most complex things was actually getting in touch with the electronics manufacturers. We spoke with universities, producers, recycling companies, even people who deal with laws. They were available and welcomed us, while the manufacturers didn’t.

Cristina: Why aren’t they willing to be part of the solution?

Simone Farresin: Probably because right now it’s very complex to invest economic resources and really change things. They take baby steps which are used symbolically as an advertising strategy instead of showing real interest in recycling these products.

Cristina: You have a solution for the problem at hand, what is it?

Andrea Trimarchi: One of the most likely solutions would be to organize tables where the various players in the production chain, from electronics manufacturers to recyclers and also designers, meet to discuss these issues.

Cristina: It seems absurd, isn’t this already happening?

Andrea Trimarchi: Unfortunately not, even in the legislative sphere recyclers and producers are often brought together, but most of the time us designers, people who actually transform raw materials into objects, are not part of the conversation.

Cristina: Design can and, in this case, does have a political role, let’s be inspired. Occhio al futuro

On air 30-3-2019

Tooteko – a tactile conversation with art for the blind

By sdg 10, sdg 9, technology

Tooteko is a thesis project turned reality. Serena Ruffato, CEO, explains how their device works: making art accessible to the blind and visually impaired by integrating tactile exploration with audio data. Deborah Tramentozzi shares her experience of a Canova statue with me.

Cristina: We’re in Rome in a space that is now a restaurant, but was once the studio of Antonio Canova. We’re here to tell you about a technological application that’s also an important human experience. Serena, how does the application you created work?

Serena Ruffato: This technology combines audio and touch to allow everyone, even the blind, to experience works of art. It uses this ring, an NFC sensor reader, to recognize the sensors we place on the art work and transmits audio information to a smartphone.

Cristina: Altering the art means that you work with copies.

Serena Ruffato: Absolutely, we take the original piece, select it, scan it, reproduce it with 3D printing and then apply our sensors.

Cristina: Deborah, tell us how you’re equipped to live this experience and what it tells you.

Deborah Tramentozzi: I’m wearing this ring, which has an antenna inside it. This antenna communicates with a tag that is placed here on the statue, which I will now touch with a finger. The moment I put it on the tag, the ring emits a vibration and communicates with the smartphone. Which will start an audio guide. Now I’ll show you how it works. This technology, by connecting the two senses that I use best – touch and hearing – allows me to have a vision, I like to call it that, of the work of art without any filters. I come from an artistic environment, so I have always experienced guided tours through the filter of another person, who gave me an idea allowing me to interpret the work of art. This way, it’s me and my personality who get an idea of ​​the work of art and I can literally see just how each of you would. I think this is a great gift because giving the blind the independence and freedom to choose to enter a museum, something that is second nature to everyone, for me is truly a frontier that I thought would be impossible. Can I ask you to close your eyes, and I’ll start the next tag and touch the statue with you?

Cristina: Absolutely, thank you. It’s exciting, because it also allows me to enter into a kind of empathic resonance with Deborah’s experience. We hope that this project will allow as many people as possible to experience art in this new way. Occhio al futuro

On air November 17, 2018

Airlite – the air purifying paint

By ecology, sdg 11, sdg 12, sdg 13, sdg 3, sdg 9

Airlite developed a paint that purifies the air and can be used both indoors and outdoors. It neutralizes odors, bacteria and prevents mold, it repels dust and dirt and reduces air pollution.

Cristina: Don’t we all feel better when the air is light? Today we’re featuring a technology that allows us to breathe better. Hello Massimo, tell us more.

Massimo Bernardoni: It’s a paint that contains various technologies. It purifies the air, eliminates bacteria and molds from surfaces, it works over time and eliminates odors. Through nanotechnology our paint transforms pollutants into salts. Through other processes it gets rid of bacteria, mold and it keeps walls clean and smog free.

Cristina: Does it prevent the black streaks over radiators?

Massimo Bernardoni: Yes those too, no more dark corners.

Cristina: Is it all mineral-based? Any petrochemicals?

Massimo Bernardoni: We do not have any petroleum based ingredients, only mineral-based, and when applied it doesn’t smell.

Antonio Cianci: Outdoors, with this technology, painting a 150 meter stretch of roadside, both left and right, is equivalent to planting a forest as big as a soccer field. 12 meters of a painted surface with our technology, reduce the pollution produced by a car in one day.

Cristina: Does it also absorb particulates?

Antonio Cianci: In an indirect way. Particulate matter is generated by nitrogen oxides through photochemical synthesis, we lower its levels and reduce it significantly.

Cristina: It also reduces energy consumption. How?

Antonio Cianci: We have the amazing ability to reflect the warm component of sunlight, therefore painting the wall with this product can reduce the surface temperature up to 30 degrees. This way less heat passes through therefore reducing the need for conditioning the room.

Cristina: So it creates a protective but permeable coat?

Antonio Cianci: Yes, the paint is permeable, it allows the passage of all the components without causing stagnation, such as those bubbles we sometimes find on our walls, which trap mold. Our paint creates a natural conditioning system.

Cristina: How many colors are available?

Antonio Cianci: 180. I must say that architecturally the performance is beautiful, suited also for high-end finishes. And it cleans the air.

Cristina: This is what happens when two brilliant Italians come together. Occhio al futuro

On air May 5, 2018