In 2016, research showed an increased interest in sustainability and its application across different fields. Since then, there has been active and determined engagement with the topic from the media and the public. Now, as we — anxiously, perhaps — wait to see what will come of this year’s 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), it’s worth reminding ourselves why this topic is more important than ever.
That’s why Italics Magazine is teaming up with Rethinking Climate: Communicating Sustainability, an Italian nonprofit investigating the effectiveness of sustainability communication. As David Attenborough, renowned historian and activist spreading awareness about the planet and animal world, has said in the run up to G7, “Building a sustainable, stable world should not be viewed only in terms of what is lost, but what is gained. It is a communication challenge, as much as a political and technological one.”
With this in mind, Sustainable Italy is the new column from Italics Magazine and Rethinking Climate that offers an opportunity to us all to expand on this complex, collective topic that regards everyone on this planet.
Communicating, writing, and speaking about sustainability in all its forms is a challenge, thanks to the complexity of the science and the totality of the possible consequences of the climate crisis. As Grammenos Mastrojeni, who we’ve previously mentioned on this publication, has pointed out, actions that take place in one part of the planet can cause an impact elsewhere, and the ramifications can be countless and unpredictable. One example that Grammenos makes throughout his work is that if climate has a negative consequence on agriculture, less food inevitably becomes available and costs are raised, meaning families across world may seek difference paths to secure their livelihood. This then has consequences on social peace and security.
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), known for its extensive reports, has been a testament to the difficulty in effectively communicating the issue of sustainability. While it needs to be simplified, it has to be done with caution. For example, oversimplification can make a topic lose its urgency and importance, while detailed, specialist reporting can push away non-expert audiences who may otherwise be interested.
Our work here at Italics is to make information accessible to our audience, but not to shy away from the urgencies and complexities of the topic at hand. It is our task with this column, therefore, to consider topics — from circular economy to political climate negotiations, to Italy’s participation at the COP26 negotiations — so that we can do justice to the importance of sustainability and engage a wider audience into this important topic.
The #All4Climate Event
On September 27, Rethinking Climate, in partnership with Italics Magazine, is hosting a hybrid conference on ‘Sustainability Communication, Research, and Youth Engagement’. This series of events is part of the Italian Ministry for the Environment’s initiative Agenda #All4Climate that will take place throughout Italy during the year with the aim to promote 2021 as the year of ‘climate ambition’ in view of the PreCOP26 in Milan in September 2021.
In this context, the Italian Ministry for the Environment, in collaboration with the World Bank’s communication program on climate change, Connect4Climate, with the support of Lombardy Region and the Municipality of Milan, promotes a shared and inclusive approach to foster dialogue on approaches and good practices related to the issue of climate change and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The guest speakers include communication experts, such as Stefano Martello, Sergio Vazzoler, and Riccardo Parigi, and members of youth engagement, such as Friday For Future representative from Monza, Amalia Fumagalli. Virginia DiGaetano will represent Italics Magazine. Giuseppe Provenzano from the Union for the Mediterranean will talk about the essential importance of higher education and research. Other Rethinking Climate team members will take the opportunity to present results from their research in this field.
Rethinking Climate is a nonprofit whose mission is to understand how best we can communicate, and therefore comprehend, the climate crisis and sustainability in its variety of topics. What is it about the way we are communicating climate issues that makes it so difficult to implement the solutions available?
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Italics Magazine was born from the idea of two friends who believed that Italy was lacking a complete, in-depth, across-the-board source of information in English. While some publications do a great job, writing about the latest news or focusing on specific areas of interest, we do believe that other kinds of quality insights are just as needed to better understand the complexity of a country that, very often, is only known abroad for the headlines that our politicians make, or for the classic touristic cliches. This is why Italics Magazine is quickly becoming a reference for foreign readers, professionals, expats and press interested in covering Italian issues thoroughly, appealing to diverse schools of thought. However, we started from scratch, and we are self-financing the project through (not too intrusive) ads, promotions, and donations, as we have decided not to opt for any paywall. This means that, while the effort is bigger, we can surely boast our independent and free editorial line. This is especially possible thanks to our readers, who we hope to keep inspiring with our articles. That’s why we kindly ask you to consider giving us your important contribution, which will help us make this project grow — and in the right direction. Thank you.