Newsletter n. 79


1.EXPERIENCES: Mind your butts!





Mind your butts!

In this part of the newsletter, we aim to showcase experiences that our readers can, with a bit of goodwill, try to repeat. Below we present a project called “Mind your butts!” devised by the group Marche Rifiuti Zero [Zero waste in the Marche]. This is an educational programme aimed at 16-18 year olds. Let’s see what they have to say.”The aim of the project is to raise awareness among young people of the global environmental crisis and impress on them the need to participate in resolving it in an active and informed way, in order to improve the health of the Earth and its inhabitants. This involves a vision of the environment as a common good which must be taken care of and the development of initiatives around the theme of environmental protection. One of the practical aims is to carry out campaigns to raise awareness of good practices that help reduce plastic and protect the seas.

We put forward a message to educate people against throwing away cigarette butts in the open, a practice that is unfortunately very widespread as our clean ups show (we intend to involve young people in one of these events) while at the same time removing from the waste disposal system items that cannot otherwise be recycled.” 

So what does the project consist of in practice?

Continua a leggere “Mind your butts!”

Committee for No to the motorway link-Yes to sustainable mobility

Once again, we are highlighting the local groups and committees that belong to the Gruppo Suolo Europa [European Soil Group]. Groups we have previously featured include the Comitato di Salviamo Il Paesaggio di Cislago, Pro Natura Cuneo, Amici di Cuirone.

Here in brief are the aims, make-up and proposals of the Comitato No Bretella-Sì Mobilità Sostenibile Campogalliano, Modena, Formigine, Sassuolo.

In 2015, a group of well-informed and environmentally aware citizens who were concerned about soil consumption and sustainable mobility came together to form a committee and produced a text for a people’s petition to be sent to the EU. The petition criticized the uselessness in transport terms as well as the damage to the environment, landscape and soil that would be caused by the proposed new Campogalliano Sassuolo motorway created by extending the A22 South, as well as the illegitimacy of the renewal of the A22 motorway licence without any European tendering process. The justification for the renewal of the licence, which had expired in 2014, was given as the construction of the Capogalliano Sassuolo and Cispadana motorways through a finance project led by Autobrennero Ltd.

Continua a leggere “Committee for No to the motorway link-Yes to sustainable mobility”

Postcard – CAP 2027

GNDE –Civil Society  https://report.gndforeurope.com/

In the previous newsletter we wrote about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). We have been asked to explain why we are so sceptical. An article by Hannes Lorenzen, chair of ARC2020, puts it better than we can. For years the ARC group, which is an independent non-profit NGO, has been advocating for a CAP based on better farming, food, rural and environmental policies for Europe and the whole world.

For the full picture see the original text; here we reproduce only the part that describes the situation that would be created by this CAP in 2027.

Brussels, January 2027

            Finally, the breakthrough has been achieved! The EU has achieved the agricultural turnaround – radical and uncompromising. The realisation came late, but just in time.

            With the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork programme and the ambitious biodiversity strategy, the European Commission had responded to strong public pressure at the end of 2020, but failed one last time due to the blockade of the Council of Agriculture Ministers and the European Parliament. The agro-industrial lobby defended the per hectare payments, which were completely unsuitable for agricultural policy, and had prevented both social and ecological conditions for direct payments.

            Only a few years later drastic corrections became inevitable. The Covid crisis, extreme weather with catastrophic floods in the south of the EU, and prolonged droughts and crop failures in northern Europe had led to further increasing protests, including by farmers. This forced the Member States to reorient their strategic plans for all agricultural and forestry production and gradually to implement regenerative and socio-ecological principles in their regulations and make them a condition for public support.

            The European Commission delivered astonishingly consistent directives and regulations to this end. During the long-lasting Covid crisis the central processing and supply structures had proven to be unsuitable, and food insecure. In response, the Commission turned off direct payments for land speculators, major investors and agro-industrialists. Small-scale structured farming and solidarity-based agriculture with local and regional supply structures was declared a maxim.

A new European spirit of cohesion

Continua a leggere “Postcard – CAP 2027”

GNE (European Commission) : Question for oral reply

MEPs have a number of different ways to advance the drawing up of policies. One of the most commonly used is a question for the Commission, since it is the European Commission that has to take the initiative in putting forward proposals for directives.

MEPs Lídia Pereira, Marek Paweł Balt, Fredrick Federley, Simona Baldassarre, Pär Holmgren, Alexandr Vondra, and Petros Kokkalis on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) questioned the Commission the 25/11/2020 on the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change. Here are the questions:

“The Commission is due to present a new Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change in early 2021. Adaptation measures are crucial to prepare for a changing climate by building resilient societies that are able to minimise its adverse impacts. The upcoming Strategy is an opportunity for the Commission to show the EU’s leadership on adaptation, and ensure Member States are on track to meet the adaptation goal of the Paris Agreement.

In this context, we would welcome answers to the following questions:

Continua a leggere “GNE (European Commission) : Question for oral reply”

Suggestions for changing behaviour: Safer tap water

Few remember now that in 2012 there was a European Citizens Initiative (ECI), which collected almost 1.7 million signatures in twelve months. The ECI was entitled: Right2Water – Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!

Time has passed and that ECI has produced a new European Directive: The quality of water intended for human consumption. Composed of 140 pages, the directive goes into the details of the distribution of water right up to when it comes out of the tap at home. Formally approved and published on 16/12/2020, it will enter into force in mid-January 2021, from which date the three-year period will start for its transposition into the laws of each EU Member State.

This new directive proposes a reduction in the consumption of bottled water, which could save households over 600 million euros a year. Furthermore, to enable and encourage people to drink tap water rather than bottled water, the quality of tap water will be improved by imposing stricter limits for certain pollutants, including lead.

The use of tap water, made safer and cheaper at home, will allow better protection of the environment, especially in reducing the use of plastic. Thus, Member States will ensure that measures taken to implement the new standards are based on the precautionary principle and under no circumstances lead to the deterioration of the present quality of drinking water. To this end, Member States shall ensure the free provision of water in public buildings and should encourage restaurants, canteens, and catering services to give customers water for free or for a low service fee. Member States should also take measures to improve access to water for vulnerable groups, such as refugees, nomadic communities, homeless people, and minority cultures.


European Soil Observatory (EUSO)

Congratulations to the JRC (Joint Research Centre) of the European Commission for setting up and launching, on 4 December 2020, the European Soil Observatory (EUSO). There was need for a single tool capable of leading forces, energy, data and policies on the soil towards a common understanding. The date chosen is the World Soil Day. This was not the usual ritual celebration, rather it was a presentation of a clear vision and the illustration of the various stages that researchers, groups, farmers, politicians, civil servants and civil society must go through together.

The first step is to involve member states in order to increase exponentially the number of sites from which soil data are retrieved.

The new EU Soil Observatory will pool satellite data and field samples to create an overview of soil health across Europe. EUSO has fixed five objectives:

  1. EU-wide soil monitoring
  2. Strengthened soil data centre
  3. Monitoring of soil related policies
  4. Soil Research and Innovation
  5. Providing an open and inclusive European Soil Forum

The purpose of the EUSO is not to create yet another bureaucratic European entity. On the contrary, the purpose is to rationalize, use and complement actions and data that until now have been spread across different bodies. This will facilitate the exchange of synergies and above all the use of scientific data to respond to the policy and administrative needs in a context of mutual respect and attention. Let’s acknowledge that this is not easy, but it is necessary, especially now that policies with a direct impact on the soil are being developed in the context of the EU Green Deal.

The actions and experiences of the SIP Forum mean that it should be part of this journey, which began on 4 December.

A recording of the whole day’s proceedings can be found on the Observatory’s website

For further info, see: EUSO