My name is Serena Mattia and I have a degree in landscape and environmental planning. I am going to tell you about one of the best, most inspiring experiences of my career so far. Thanks to the Salviamo il Paesaggio Forum and the Gruppo Suolo Europa in particular, I had the opportunity to engage with a subject that in my view is crucial: protection of the soil. I started my internship in the office of the Green/EFA MEP Eleonora Evi in Brussels in February 2021.
Despite the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions, working in Brussels, albeit remotely, was a wonderful experience, the more so because my “Belgian” period was a time of personal change when the whole world was in stasis.
I took part in many webinars, conferences and seminars on the following subjects: the soil and the Green Deal, soil protection, the future of European soils, increasing fertility, climate change and carbon storage, and SoilCare conferences. I analysed the treatment of soil as a resource within the NRRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan), the CAP, the biodiversity strategy and other documents. I wrote some questions for the Commission about soil consumption and soil protection. I am really happy that the resolution on soil protection was passed by the European Parliament during my internship, because it made the experience even more special.
As well as the “soil question” I also followed at the same time the work of the ENVI and PETI commissions, writing questions for the Commission on toxic muds, pesticides, and bee diseases. I attended webinars on ecocide, green towns, farming in cities, GMOs etc. and I took part in several meetings of the New European Bauhaus, including the opening conference.
In June 2021, at the end of my internship, Ms Evi decided to extend my contract for another four months, so I was able to continue work I had already started as well as following other activities. I attended the hearings of the Commission of inquiry into the wellbeing of animals during transport (Anit) and wrote accounts and articles about it for Ms Evi’s blog.
This also allowed me to work on some petitions from Italy about soil sealing in Emilia Romagna and a constantly updated collection of examples of good environmental practice from Italy, Europe and the rest of the world.
The whole period allowed me to immerse myself in European environmental policy, enriched my technical skills and knowledge of this subject and, last but not least, was a source of considerable personal growth.
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