Newsletter n.31


1.EXPERIENCES: Marching as learning tool





Marching as learning tool

« If you want to go far, go together » says the African proverb.

Marching together can help you to be more aware, more thoughtful, and to rebuild yourself. Marching together produces dialogue, exchange, pragmatism, reinforcement, the ability to see oneself in others, to leave the virtual world behind and view things in a different way…

There are many famous walks, from that to Compostela, the Via Francigena, and the Assisi peace march. They are gradually being rediscovered and the villages along the routes are being revitalised by the « marchers ».

Walks organised by local committees with more specific objectives are less known and more popular: they are organised for health reasons, to protect trees, community life… It would be impossible to cite all of them, however the walk of the Fitoforo (in English: the Tree Brothers’ Walk) which takes place in Rome each year, is worthy of note. A ‘fitoforo’ is a brother to trees, a symbol of renewed harmony between man and the forest, between humanity and Mother Earth. Marchers walk around with saplings sticking out of their rucksacks as a sign of their importance. Launched in Rome in 2010, the walk has been replicated elsewhere. Since 2013, the march of the ‘fitofori’ has been sponsored by the city of Rome itself and an increasing number of associations and individuals have joined the volunteers who started it.

On 27th November 2016 the fifth Marcia Nazionale degli Alberi ( National Tree March’) took place. This time the aim is to preserve the Centocelle Archaeological Park: the fitofori were a forest that was marching to support the archaeological area that is suffering from extreme neglect.

There have also been marches dedicated to the soil. They are usually organised by nature lovers to raise awareness of the earth, greenery, animals and insects. Some of them are more specific like the ones organised by soil experts to highlight the composition, structure, texture, colour and life of the soil. If any of our readers has taken part in one of these soil walks and thought it was well organised, please let us know.

In any case, everyone is encouraged to leave their houses and discover the soil together by touching, observing and getting to know it. We do not need ‘experts’ to understand how important it is.


Rome City Council’s new Urban-Planning Assessor: keep him company

One of the tasks the Forum Sip sets itself to do is to ‘mark’ (in the sporting sense of « pay close attention to») the people who have been elected to national and European parliaments, and to stress how important this is for territorial associations. The term ‘mark’ was chosen after an internal discussion. Initially the term proposed (and used by some social groups in Brazil) was to ‘adopt’ a politician and influence his decisions relating to soil and land. ‘Mark’ was then considered more appropriate because of its connotations with ‘support’ and ‘help’.

In the past, we have shown our support for communal authorities which have coherently and consistently supported land protection, such as Matilde Casa and Isabella Conti .

We now need to ‘mark’ Paolo Bernardini, the current Urban-Planning Assessor of Rome. Opposing the cement lobby automatically means being named and shamed by all the media, who often serve and are on the pay roll of the powerful. The entire SIP Forum, along with many associations, individuals, and civil society representatives, are now openly supporting the new assessor. Please read the Forum SIP press release about this.


People4Soil:Press Kit

The campaign to collect signatures is going ahead, but slowly. Please remember that you only need an identity card to sign online. You can do it here : https://www.salvailsuolo.it .

Last year, on the 5th of December People4Soil, in partnership with World Soil Day uploaded postcards, images and texts related to soil (a Press Kit) to a Google drive (address below). They can easily be downloaded and used to help collect signatures for the European Citizens Initiative.


Urban sprawl e Urban Agenda

Reports on city expansion and cementation are being written and published on a regular basis. Therefore analyses theories, hypotheses, recommendations, possible and/or creative solutions keep piling up… The problem is that they stay as they are, reports or ‘photographs’ which do not produce substantial changes to soil sealing.

So we would like to draw your attention to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) report entitled Urban Sprawl in Europe and the one by the Committee of the Regions entitled The Growth Potential of an integrated EU Urban Agenda.

The first one is a new report – issued in June 2016 – which relaunches the problem already highlighted by the EEA in 2006 (initially entitled ‘The Ignored Challenge’). It contains data from 32 European countries, but the conclusion is exactly the same of 2006: although urban growth is recognised as a challenge for balanced development, there is still no effective action for limiting and controlling it. This is becoming increasingly necessary and urgent.

The second report, also issued in 2016, is by the Committee of the Regions. It sets out a plan, the Urban Agenda, for assisting new settlements of people who are poor or suffering economic hardship, particularly migrants. The whole analysis is based on initiatives relating to urban and social space, whereas the natural environment is treated as a minor ‘problem’, and dismissed in a few paragraphs that refer back to the EEA report of 2006.


Other European states’ experiences: getting new vegetables from leftovers

We were sent a pleasant one-minute video in English without speech sounds, which shows how we can make new vegetables from leftovers in our own homes. In just a few minutes and without too many instructions we can plant our leftover vegetables, which can grow and make new lettuce, mint, basil, garlic, onion, celery, etc.

In other words we can create our very own vegetable patch at home in a few vases without needing to purchase seeds.

Feel free to try out the experience, and tell us about your results.


4 per 1000 initiative: Work programme and 2017 budget

The 4per1000 Initiative has kicked off. If 2016 was to prepare it, 2017 must start to put ideas and aims into practice. Its work programme has been finalised and the budget approved. All we can do is draw up our sleeves and get to work, particularly to ease the way for projects via an efficient network to put project executives with potential financiers.

Therefore the Executive Secretariat has following tasks: plan meetings; facilitate cooperation between organizers and initiatives (projects and research) aimed at carbon capture; develop a designated website; activate a specific communication programme.

All the above cannot be free of charge: the expected budget for 2017 is a total of € 835.000 and must be provided by members of the Consortium. France, promoter of the Initiative, has already provided € 100.000.

For details see HERE