Ecological transition

Publish date 26-11-2021

by Stefania Traverso

I am here at the window and I look at the colors of the evening on the horizon, I need to stop for a moment and let my thoughts travel.
There are these two words that run in my head that I want to understand, dismantle, analyze: ecological transition. I look at them and smell them like a cat, there is something important disguised under the meanings I thought I knew, I perceive a potential that makes the ground vibrate like a large animal that progressively approaches ... transeo, transis, transii, transitum, transire - like music with perfect metrics, the hand of my elderly Latin teacher scans the conjugation of this verb on the desk which in a transitive sense means to cross, like Cesare the Rubicon, which is not a little, but in an intransitive sense it concerns moving, transforming oneself , the change: for example when you study in physics the phase transition and that water can become ice and even change its volume, if you still hadn't understood it after having burst countless bottles in the freezer. It seems to me an even more portentous implication of this "transition": as I move from A to B, I transform. What does that mean in an ecological sense? If the environment includes the living (biotic) organisms and the non-living (abiotic) elements of the Earth, ecology is the science that studies the interactions that take place inside it, that is, the ecosystems.

We are talking about more or less complex open systems and in relation to other systems, in which matter and energy circulate, in which life and all that supports it manifest themselves. For example, by studying bees and their relationship with flowers, I can understand how they behave, where they are distributed, how numerous they are; I can identify which environmental factors drive life-altering changes and whether that ecosystem is fragile or resilient.
Ecology is also of a cultural nature, it examines the consequences of human actions towards the physical environment and for man, in order to modify or control these consequences: for this reason it also merges with the social and economic aspects. The ecological transition could therefore be seen as a process of transformation that takes place by virtuously taking into account the effects of the interactions between living organisms, including Man, and the environment in which they occur.
I think it is thanks to the name of the new Ministry of Ecological Transition to have brought this concept to the attention of the general public in 2021 in Italy, even if looking on the institutional website it seems almost a simple renaming of the Ministry of the environment. Instead, we are talking about a potentially epochal change for which some scholars in the world speak of the New Renaissance.

An aid to understanding comes from Italy's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), definitively approved with the European Council's Implementing Decision on 13 July 2021. Three shared strategic axes at European level are identified in the PNRR: digitization and innovation, ecological transition, social inclusion. It is reported that: «The ecological transition […] is at the basis of the new Italian and European development model. Taking action to reduce polluting emissions, prevent and combat land instability, minimize the impact of production activities on the environment is necessary to improve the quality of life and environmental safety, as well as to leave a greener country and a more economic economy. sustainable for future generations ". As an investment project, Mission 2 of the PNRR is about green revolution and ecological transition and is made up of: sustainable agriculture and circular economy; renewable energy, hydrogen, grid and sustainable mobility; energy efficiency and building renovation; protection of the territory and of the water resource.
Why all this worldwide attention? Why stringent time frames?

The extraordinary investments in progress on the ecological transition are the human attempt to bring countermeasures to the results of the models of climate change, to the increase in the average temperature of the planet, to the transformations of ecosystems, to the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events. Today we are talking about mitigating the effects and resilience of populations, rather than avoiding a disaster, because certain phenomena are now underway and need to be recovered for centuries. The global and European objectives to 2030 and 2050 (Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, European Green Deal) have the times of the urgency of a company that was distracted, they cannot physically solve all the critical issues present, but they are an important start. , if all together we decide to move on to actions of substance. Which pragmatically implies for everyone to start a new essential choral journey of humanity with small steps.
In John W. Bennett's book The Ecological Transition published by Taylor and Francis in English, focusing on social ecology, the author writes that man's use of Nature is inextricably intertwined with man's use ago of Man, and that remedies for the destructive use of the environment must be found within the social system itself. Precisely for this reason the ecological transition is a story that involves everyone, where both the ancient knowledge and the fresh ideas of young people can create opportunities in the matrix of collective thought and help to find simple and effective solutions.

We can therefore try to do better and while we refine the investigations on the social and cultural bases of man's relationship with the environment we must invent a truly sustainable environmental development, a realistic circular economy, a responsible coexistence in creation and living beings, between which the communities of men.
As in all epic stories that respect each other we do not yet know deeply that we have to face this journey, but perhaps it has already begun and I believe it will change us forever asking us, among other things, to grow in respect for mutual freedom, in the recovery of roots. local, in the ability to long-term vision with new ideas and technologies.
But now I have to stop arguing with my thoughts and go out, I also have separate waste collection to take to the bins, and there are many bags.
Of course the elevator smiles at me mischievously and I'm really tempted to take it.
But I get a lump in my stomach and I feel a little ashamed, after all these good intentions on the ecological transition… can I do it? come on, I'm also downhill ... one step ... strength and courage ... another step ... come on, hold on ... another step ... another ...

Stefania Traverso
Environmental engineer, expert in disaster risk assessment.
FOCUS - NP August / September 2021



John W. Bennett
The Ecological Transition: Cultural
Anthropology and Human Adaptation
Taylor and Francis, 2017


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