A dose of Hope

There’s a common belief that says something like “because you can’t change your family, you’ll try change the world” or “it’s easier to save the world than your family”. Have you ever heard it? I think many of us who want to change or save the world believe it’s easier to change the world than your family LOL Some don’t even try, others become very intolerant with their family members when they don’t act the way they expect them to or don’t put the same care in something they believe in. It’s normal! 🙂

A couple months ago I went to my brother Francesco for dinner. He told me that it’s unbelievable the amount of plastic he noticed they produce at home – he and his girlfriend Valentina. I told him that something he could do to reduce is get glass bottles and fill them up for free at the fountain. He wasn’t too happy but I think a seed was planted in him because yesterday he tagged me in his instagram story showing me he did choose to buy glass bottles in the end!!!! This touched me profoundly. Why? Because I didn’t expect it. I don’t expect my family to change following my beliefs, and I told myself I would never force anyone to change whether I’m doing a campaign or simply talking with someone about the world and plastic.

I plant seeds in those minds where they weren’t planted yet. I water those minds where there’s arid land because water hasn’t fallen for ages. Time will take care of the rest. You know every seed, hence every plant, needs its own time to germinate and then grow. Likewise ideas and thoughts and actions. Thoughts and dreams are seeds. They hold in itself everything, this is why they are sacred. Dreams come true when you cherish, nourish, protect and value them. Like seeds. 

I met too many people throughout the years who became vegan for example and are convinced to be holding the truth while that the rest of us meat-eaters are evil and killing our planet. It’s very hard to be around these kind of people because they judge every choice you make: you eat a cheese sandwich and you are labelled a calf-killer, you put honey in your tea and you are a bees-killer, etc. Acceptance is the key. Accept where the other is at. Especially because you were once there too. Be you, act according to your beliefs and explain them to the people around you but then leave people decide for themselves.

And coming back to my brother… I’m very proud. “Be the change you want to see in the world” and I guarantee you will start to see it!!! This gives me hope! This should give you hope too 🙂

Don’t stop.

Don’t give up!

Keep going.

 

From Bars to Classrooms … Evolution of a Campaign

Hello world! Hello dear readers! 😀 Finally I want to give you an update about my campaign on plastic straws. It’s been a month almost since I started and I must say I am very happy about how it evolved.
There are 60 places (bars/restaurants/pubs) and among these over half agreed to stop using plastic straws starting in January 2019. What surprised me was that some didn’t wait for January and decided to opt for paper straws immediately.
Over half means the majority: the majority of people, if given an opportunity to change and choose between going in the direction of sustainability and do good to the world, will choose that way. 😀
The minority (and I’m telling you, the campaign ain’t over yet) is reluctant to change for different reasons, let me illustrate the excuses people adopt to keep using plastic straws:

We keep them for children… if a child asks you a straw you can’t not give it to him/her
Uhm well, I even went to interview children and ask them if they really needed straws to drink. They told me they never (or very rarely) ask for one, it’s usually the adults who give it to them. Why? Two are the main reasons: 1. adults assume the child can’t drink from the glass, but it’s not true because once a child ends sucking from the bottle he transitions to drinking from the glass directly; 2. adults think that if the child has a straw he/she will less likely spill the drink and get dirty, hence the adult doesn’t need to be too careful to the child (this is called laziness). And when a child does ask you for a straw, we adults can explain them why it’s better without it. Many bar owners tell me it’s not their duty as it’s not their child. I think we should ALL participate consciously in the education of the children. I say consciously because we are still unaware of the fact that we are all indirectly educating children.

– I don’t know what are the alternatives nor where to buy them
For this matter I’ve physically found where one can order sustainable straws in Giaveno. I have also made a research of Italian online shops for paper, or biodegradable straws. When doing such a campaign it’s important to know your territory in order to aid people to change, many don’t buy online and need a local store that sells these alternatives. So keep in mind…

– Sustainable alternatives are more expensive
True!! And it’s not a bad thing I ended up thinking. Why? Because it will put you in the situation of thinking whether you need or not that thing. Is it necessary? Like really necessary? It is the beginning of asking important questions. When things are cheap we don’t question the fact that maybe we don’t need them, this means we will be more likely to produce more waste. How can you value something that hasn’t been valued from the start?

And at last you meet people who tell you there are worse things to think about and that they are older than you and have seen and understood the world, unlike you duh
Ehh these people exist and it’s ok 🙂 I learned that sometimes it’s easier to raise a wall and live in your beautifully protected garden believing outside is evil and nothing you do will change that. I learned to smile and leave those people in their garden 🙂 Why? Because you can’t change who doesn’t want to change, you can have power over people who are already on your same path or are ready to walk on it.

From bars….. to classrooms….. Marta, the owner of the Caffe’ Delle Arti, gave me the idea to include a local school. So naturally and unexpectedly a collaboration was born between the elementary/middle school, the bar, a highschool and myself. What we will create is this:
A group of highschool girls and I will create educational workshops for the children to talk about the harms of plastic materials such as straws, bags and cutlery.  The middle school is entitled to make the logo that will be chosen  through an exhibition at Marta’s bar and the winner will have the logo exposed in all the bars/restaurants/pubs of Giaveno who stopped using plastic straws.

I am also in contact with a group of women from the Association Donne Di Valle, who organise art workshops using materials we usually throw away. These women have the wisdom and the manual skills to re-use and re-make that which for most would be considered garbage!! I would like them to collect the plastic straws and use them for the workshops in the local schools.

Soooooooo it’s all moving… the project has a life of it’s own I am simply accompanying it ❤

Me Interviewed for National TV

I got interviews quite a lot about this and it’s super positive. It’s good to talk about something concrete that is being done, this way perhaps more people will get inspired to come out of their shell and act. Every drop is necessary to the ocean.

Some Thoughts on Turtles

Turtles are one of the most antique creatures we still have on the planet. They have survived everything until now because of their outstanding resilience. Sadly they find it difficult to survive plastic pollution and our current fishing methods!

The Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto has a “Hospital” for turtles I had the pleasure to visit (it’s open to the public every day from 3pm till 4pm) and get an explanation about the problems these turtles face. The major cause of sickness, and the main reason for them being in a hospital, is men-caused! There are men who heal them from the damage inflicted by other men, this is how I see it.

Deep-sea bottom trawling is a major cause of harm and death of Sea Turtles!!

I have never really thought about turtles, and in general… while I do feel love and respect for all the creatures walking (and swimming) on Mother Earth, I have never been touched the way I have by turtles the moment I entered their hospital. I had never even saw a turtle that big in real life! A warm feeling pervaded my being. To see them suffering because either hit by a propeller which damaged their carapace or because they have ingested plastic bags exchanging them for jelly fish or because they accidentally found themselves entangled in the fishing nets is something so unfair, so brutal, so wrong!

The idea that turtles have survived everyone until the advent of the modern human should make you think.

How much time does it take for a turtle to heal?… a fracture may take up to 2 years for example, because their times are slower and longer. So imagine this turtle must stay in the tub all that time, imagine her double sufferance.

I write about this and yet I wonder what difference would it make to you reader if you have never seen a turtle. If you live in the mountains, what difference does it make for you whether there are turtles or not in the sea? Perhaps this is the problem. The fact that because I don’t live in Afrika, I don’t live close to the elephants so the “Save the Elephants” campaign doesn’t affect me. Elephants are not my problem. Turtles are not my problem. Tigers are not my problem! I live in the city: wild animals are not my problem! …. Do you see THE PROBLEM now? Humans have detached from their humanity which is what keeps us connected to the planet, to Mother Earth, to animals and to the plants. So unless something affects directly my wellbeing I will look the other way, perhaps I might show sympathy to those fighting for a natural cause.
I generalise, I know not everyone (Thank God) is detached from its humanity, and these people are waking up the humanity in others ❤
The thing is… we need to start to care about everything and everyone. Why? Because everyone contributes to life, every little creature, every mineral, every person, every tree, every flower adds beauty, talents, gifts, experience and more to the life on Planet Earth.

You know, a couple days before the Plastic X Coffee Campaign launch and the visit to the turtles’ hospital I went to the beach in the early morning, just as usual. The unusual was having 4 kids with me, the sons and daughters of my friends who had to work and I thought it would be nice for the children to spend the morning at the beach. We were walking from the bar toward the tower (torre=tower) and when we got to the specific beach where I loved spending my mornings… I saw a baby turtle!! The children were amazed and excited, I suddenly worried for her life. Luckily there were park rangers driving by and I told Davide to run tell them about the turtle we found. They took it with them. All morning I was worried about whether I have or not done the right thing, there is a part of me that believes nature is perfect and in the wilderness only the toughest survives. So what if, I wondered, by helping that turtle we made her weak? What if we had to leave her to her own destiny? What if I could’ve just thrown her into the sea to help her enter?… Long story short, the next day I see a post on the instagram page of @torreguaceto where they write about this baby turtle: this was not a sea turtle but a swamp turtle!! Had I thrown it into the water or left it there on the sea shore, it would’ve died dehydrated. The Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto has swamps where the Emys Orbicularis turtles live (I shared a video of the baby turtle on my instagram account). I was relieved to find out she would survive. I was happy to have helped. Ironically, there were other people who passed next to it before we did but nobody noticed this little cuteness.

I realised that until the moment I entered in the turtles’ hospital I didn’t care enough about them. But now, after having felt their suffering, how can I turn away? How can I pretend it’s ok what they’re facing? Once I get touched by something or someone it stays in me forever. What can I do? What can you do? Allow yourself to be touched by life, and be prepared to be changed.

Turtles are the symbol of Earth in many native cultures. Turtle energy is grounding. Turtles are necessary for life.

It makes a difference to see wild animals in zoos and in their natural habitat. In zoos they are less real, it’s like a show has been put up for you. But when you see a wild animal in its home, its real home, it is breath taking. Suddenly you are reminded we share the planet with creatures just as majestic as the humans.
I think what hit me was the thought that they shouldn’t be here, they should be in the sea, free and healthy! One had her carapace a bit broken, another has only one lung left, another one ingested plastic and a smaller one had plastic/nylon nets around her neck and feet! When a turtle feels sick she floats and stops eating.
Once the turtle is healed… it gets released into the sea and that moment is indescribable. Which is what happened on Sunday ❤

 

 

 

The Beginning of Plastic X Coffee

Where to begin if not with a WOW 😀
I am still amazed and lack words to describe this past week. It’s been beautiful and powerful and it made me realise how something apparently so small has a big impact and big echo. As a matter of fact, we got National TV coverage!!!! Which helped spread the word about the importance of keeping clean our marine world, this campaign is just one example of many projects around the world.

Plastic X Coffee is a community project with a potential to become world spread. I’ve got flooded with messages and texts of people living in the area of the Natural Reserve of Torre Guaceto telling me they always collect plastic during their walks. Also, people from other sides of the world told me they do clean up always and would love to find ways to raise awareness among other members of the community.

A sense of community is what is needed nowadays. We must understand how important is the space where we live: many communities taking care of their peace of land succeed in having a whole world clean and happy.
I have always dreamt to save the world and I have always wanted to come up with an idea for the entire world. Now I know, that in order to change the world we all must start cleaning our homes. For me Torre Guaceto is home ❤  And if you also do something in your home, for your area; if each one of us takes this responsibility back, then the world will change! I guarantee the world will be saved! The Natives knew this… Each Native Tribe took care of its forests, waters, lands, animals, people… and the whole world was a healthy place!

No matter what some people say, change is possible and begins here (where you are) and now!

Gratitude is such a powerful energy. Now I know. Plastic X Coffee is about that. Is a Thank You for helping everyone keep our/your local area clean. And everyone can do what he/she can. What I mean is: you can be the person collecting a bag of plastic and getting the coffee, or you can be the one buying the coffees without necessarily collecting the plastic (because we are all different, and you might just wanna relax on the beach and tan… still you feel grateful to those who keep that beach clean), or you can be both. Everyone is needed, everyone is necessary. I say this because some may feel obliged to spend money or collecting, though the best for everyone is that you do what comes from your heart ❤ On Sunday morning, when I got to the bar of the Reserve a coffee producer, Antonio Doria (Caffè Borbone), gifted 1kg of coffee (that makes 130 coffees!!!) because he believes in the campaign and is very sensitive to the ecological issues of the Natural Reserve. Later came my brother Francesco and bought 20 more coffees!! I know he is not the kind who will go collect plastic on purpose, but he is the guy who won’t leave his trash behind and will collect something nearby if he sees it. That is more than enough 🙂

 

Eco-Warrior

I am in the area of Torre Guaceto in Puglia, South Italy. A natural reserve, so stated. From the parking to the tower (torre=tower) is a rough 5 km of sandy beaches… it’s a walk I do every morning to keep in shape and to give my mind peace. However, the first three days I didn’t manage to go past the first couple kms because I began picking up one plastic bottle after another, then fishnets and plastic bags floating in the sea and plastic cups and just about anything I would find. I ended up spending an hour cleaning one beach and then I got too tired and hot to walk. On the third day it seemed the sea had vomited even more polluted materials onto the seashore for me to collect, I was so overwhelmed I began sobbing silently. I wasn’t the only person on the beach but I was the only person stopping to collect garbage and I got angry and felt even ridiculous both for cleaning up and crying. I felt alone.
Two men screamed at me that it shouldn’t be me doing the job but people paid to do it. I didn’t reply as I was too occupied fishing plastic bags I wasn’t able to ignore. I thought later about what he said and realised this was exactly the reason why I was the only one collecting trash! I see it as my responsibility, even if it wasn’t me throwing it now on the beach, even if I throw my plastic bottle in the trash bin… it’s my responsibility because I still use plastic, and even if I didn’t use plastic I would still be responsible for keeping our Planet/home clean. We pollute because there is someone else who will clean up, isn’t it so? We pollute because we are ignorant, and we ignore how much harm we are doing to ourselves. We pollute because we are so detached from Mother Nature we don’t hear her cry and suffering, she’s asking for help and we turn the other way. Well, I cried because something in me heard the sea and I felt its pain, its frustration.

We consider ourselves such intelligent creatures but we have used our intelligence and gifts in a self destructive way. I mean: with all the natural materials that can be used, plastic had to be invented! – I thought to myself. I also wondered who and when invented plastic, here’s what I found briefly:

The history of plastic dates back to 1862, when Alexander Parkes demonstrated Parkesine, his man-made plastic derived from organic cellulose, at the Great International Exhibition in London, England. Parkesine could be heated and molded into objects that would retain their shape when cooled. … Other advances in plastics followed, using various other organic substances. It wasn’t until 1907, however, that the first fully-synthetic, commercially-successful plastic was invented by Leo Hendrik Baekeland. …. The invention of plastics opened up a whole new world of possibilities for manufacturing. From automobile parts and telephones to jewelry and kitchenware, plastics took the world by storm. ”  ( SOURCE )

Basically, even if you wanted to give up plastic entirely… you can’t! But you can reduce the daily use of it. 100 years after the invention of synthetic plastic humans are waking up to the damage it has made. Somewhere, perhaps exactly on the Great Pacific garbage patch, there is your plastic bag, your old phone, your old bottle or the plastic cups/forks/plates you used for that picnic years ago… this is why we’re all responsible. Even if we did change our habits today, we need to clean up the mess we (directly or indirectly) participated in creating.

It’s an exciting time and also a positive one. We are in the middle of a huge planetarian chaos!! We are called to tap into our creativity to rethink and reimagine a healthy beautiful and clean future. And also a loving one 🙂

P.S. Oh and you know something wonderful happened on day 4: I walked all the way!! The beaches were extremely clean (only a few things here and there)… I was smiling in joy! On day 5 I walked with a kid all the way and saw a woman collecting stuff during her walk, and my mom began picking up little bits she’d see in the water! … I believe in a clean planet ❤