“It’s no joking matter. Climate change is here even if there are some who haven’t noticed.” With these words, Nicola, a fourth-year student at Liceo Scientifico Morgagni in Rome, opened the debate in the school’s great hall to mark the presentation of the book “Un mondo sostenibile in 100 foto” (A Sustainable World in 100 Photos) on 3 December 2019. Participants included the authors, Enrico Giovannini, spokesperson for ASviS (Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile – Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development) and Donato Speroni, journalist and head of ASviS editorial department, Lorenzo Fioramonti the Minister for Education, Universities and Research and Enel Chairman Patrizia Grieco, who wrote the book’s preface.
The book, which came to fruition thanks to Enel and the publisher Editori Laterza, combines photojournalism and documentary photography to describe the state of health of the planet and our societies, stressing the responsibility of human actions.
One hundred valuable images, curated by the iconographic researcher Manuela Fulgenzi, that help to define the greatest challenge of our times – to build an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable world. From climate change to energy issues, poverty to health, education to social capital, the combination of a wide range of photographs and texts offers a serious look at an increasingly complex reality, sharing stories of outrage but also good practices worth replicating in order to benefit the planet.
“This book describes the people, organisations, businesses and governments that are working to stop our worst fear from becoming reality,” explained Giovannini. “Ours is a message of hope. This is why the title talks about a sustainable, not unsustainable, world.”
The event in the school hall was packed with students, who enlivened the discussion with comments and questions. “Do you really intend to introduce sustainable development education in schools?” they asked Minister Fioramonti who confirmed his previous announcement, stressing that “civic education, in the twenty-first century, must necessarily be about environmental, social and economic sustainability.”
For the Enel Group, sustainability is not simply a slogan but a keystone of our Strategic Plan, which is strongly linked to our commitment to several of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “Enel is the world leader in renewable energy generation capacity and over the next three years we will be investing 28.7 billion euros, half of which in renewables,” explained Enel Chairman Grieco. She also had a word of advice for the students: “You are the actors of change, with a power to make things happen today like no one has ever had before. The Industrial Revolution came out of Europe, it is Europe’s duty and yours, as European citizens, to demand and support a new development model: the world will follow you.”
In discussing responsibility and anthropocentrism, Speroni highlighted the impossibility of speak of environmental sustainability without addressing social sustainability, opening the debate to include the issue of migratory flows. This was followed by the presentation of several videos made by the students for a project about the right to study in Kenya and the access to education in developing countries.
Before the concluding speeches, a student offered some food for thought. “In the fight against climate change, the real warriors are all of us,” said Marco. “We can’t just demand that governments act, we also need to change our habits. Our power, as individuals, can change the market, and in so doing, our society.”