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BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

MONTEBELLO MONASTERY IN ISOLA DEL PIANO In 1996, Girolomoni founded "Mediterraneo," a magazine covering organic and biodynamic agriculture, environment, biodiversity, alternative energy, as well as philosophy, theology, poetry, and culture. Contributors to the magazine included Guido Ceronetti, Gianni Tamino, Emmanuel Anati, Giorgio Fornoni, and Piero Stefani. A knowledgeable person of the Bible and a devout believer, a friend of Sergio Quinzio, Gino Girolomoni dedicated his life to organic farming and opposed any form of patentability of living forms, considering it as one of the delusions of omnipotence that characterizes humanity. In 2003 and 2004, he had a regular column in the newspaper "Avvenire" called "Hortus," in which he wrote reflections on ecology. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 65, succumbing to a heart attack while in the premises of the "Alce Nero" cooperative. Now, the cooperative has changed its name to "Gino Girolomoni Cooperativa Agricola," dedicating both its name and the brand of its products to the founder. GINO GIROLOMONI

The mangrove is a type of vegetation (or forest) composed predominantly of woody plants that develops along the low-lying shores of tropical marine coasts, particularly in areas periodically submerged by tides. The WWF considers mangroves as a biome, one of the fourteen major habitat types that the Earth is divided into. The term “mangrove” is also often incorrectly used as a common name for some individual tree species representative of this type of vegetation. Mangroves (or “mangrove forests”) typically consist of four zones parallel to the coastline: the first is made up of plants that are almost permanently submerged; the second (the mangrove proper, primarily consisting of species from the genus Rhizophora) is regularly flooded by high tides; the third consists of shrublands and is submerged only by the highest tides; and finally, the fourth, composed of halophytic shrub and tree species, is never submerged and has soil with lower salinity content. However, the last two zones are not always present. 

The Vital Connection Between Landscape and Environmental Well-being The connection between landscape and environmental sustainability must be profound and involve everyone. The concept of landscape extends beyond the visual aspect of a place; it also incorporates the natural and human elements that compose it. Environmental sustainability, on the other hand, concerns the ability of a system to maintain balance among natural resources, the environment, and long-term human needs.

Landscape and environmental sustainability are interconnected:

1. **Biodiversity Conservation:** A sustainable landscape engages in the conservation and promotion of biodiversity. Preserving and protecting natural habitats within the landscape contributes to ecological sustainability by preserving species diversity and maintaining natural balances.

2. **Resource Management:** Landscape design can influence the management of natural resources such as water, soil, air, and forests. A sustainable approach involves the responsible use of these resources, for example, through sustainable agricultural practices, forest management, or thoughtful urban land use planning.

3. **Sustainable Cities:** Cities are an integral part of the landscape and can be designed sustainably to reduce environmental impact. This includes promoting public transportation, efficient energy use, waste management, and creating urban green spaces that enhance the quality of life and mitigate the effects of human activities on the environment.

4. **Climate Change:** The landscape can be designed and managed to address climate change. For instance, coastal zone planning may consider rising sea levels, and plant selection in urban parks can be oriented towards resistance to climate variations.

5. **Community Participation:** Environmental sustainability requires active participation from local communities in landscape management and conservation. Involving people in the decision-making process can lead to more sustainable choices and help maintain a balance between human needs and the environment.

In summary, sustainable landscape is characterized by holistic and conscious management of natural resources, promoting biodiversity, reducing the environmental impact of human activities, and creating places that foster community well-being in the long term.
Building a Sustainable Future

The Daisugi technique is a traditional Japanese method of tree pruning, specifically used for timber production. Originating during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), this technique is particularly associated with the cultivation of Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) in the Kitayama region, near Kyoto. Characteristics of the Daisugi Technique

1. Vertical Pruning: The technique involves pruning trees so that new shoots grow vertically from the main trunk, creating a structure similar to a giant bonsai but with practical purposes for timber production. 2. Timber Production: The vertical shoots are cultivated for about 20 years before being harvested. This method allows for the production of straight, uniform, and high-quality timber, ideal for traditional house construction and furniture making. 3. Sustainability: Daisugi is a sustainable method because it allows for timber harvesting without completely cutting down the tree. After harvesting the shoots, new shoots can grow, ensuring a continuous source of wood. 4. Aesthetics and Culture: This technique is not only functional but also has an aesthetic and cultural significance.

The Botanical Garden was founded in 1985 on abandoned and degraded land in Monte Orlando, consisting of 13 terraces sloping towards the Gulf of Gaeta, covering approximately 2 hectares. It mainly features tropical and sub-tropical botanical species, many of which are rare and endangered in their countries of origin. The collection is particularly notable for its 150 different species of palms, sourced from seeds collected during business or leisure trips across various continents. The garden began as an experimental research site for palm acclimatization, and its delicate balance is maintained due to the rarity of species and the terraced terrain. The experimentation continues to this day.

Since 2012, the Foundation has been funding the maintenance and improvement of the botanical garden. In spring 2015, in collaboration with the FAI (Italian Environmental Fund), it opened for 2 days to a limited audience of FAI members. In May 2015, some schools visited the garden. In the future, the botanical garden will be open to a very limited audience during the spring, given the uniqueness of the site.

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE The relationship between democracy and the natural environment can be explored through the concept of "environmental democracy" or "ecological democracy." This concept emphasizes the importance of involving citizens in the decision-making process regarding environmental issues and the sustainable management of natural resources. Here are some key elements that can contribute to formulating a concept of democracy and the natural environment:

Public Participation: Environmental democracy should promote active participation of citizens in decisions related to the environment. This includes involvement in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of environmental policies.

Access to Information: To enable informed citizen participation, it is essential to ensure transparent and comprehensive access to environmental information. This may include data on air and water quality, resource management practices, and more.

Environmental Education: Sustainable democracy requires educated citizens on environmental issues. Environmental education can help people understand environmental challenges, their causes, and possible solutions, enabling them to actively participate in public discourse.

Institutional Accountability: Representatives and government institutions must be accountable for environmental decisions made. This can involve fair accountability mechanisms, with clear electoral and reporting mechanisms.

Precautionary Principle: Environmental democracy can embrace the precautionary principle, suggesting that, in the absence of scientific certainty, protective environmental measures should be taken to prevent significant harm.

Equity and Environmental Justice: A concept of environmental democracy should consider equity and environmental justice, ensuring that decisions do not lead to socioeconomic disparities or negative impacts on vulnerable groups.

Sustainable Development: Environmental democracy should promote the concept of sustainable development, balancing environmental needs with economic and social ones to ensure long-term prosperity without compromising the environment.

International Collaboration: As many environmental issues have global dimensions, international cooperation is essential. Environmental democracy should encourage international collaboration and negotiation to address common environmental challenges.

These elements can contribute to creating a concept of environmental democracy that integrates citizen participation, institutional accountability, and attention to environmental issues to promote a sustainable approach to natural resource management.
Environmental Democracy

For several years now, a new conceptual category has entered everyday language, previously unused and expressed by the term “new lifestyle”; pursuing or witnessing new lifestyles. This incursion is linked to the widespread awareness that the gender or lifestyle consumed up to now – characteristic of Western culture – has generated widespread damage, even to the structural unsustainability of this kind of life. A somewhat distorted “way of life” that has had negative repercussions on humans, interpersonal relationships, social relations at various levels, and the environment, which has suffered the destructive impact of such development models. This awareness has gradually formed following critical issues that have increasingly closely affected our lives and, at the very least, have led to doubts about what was only a quarter of a century ago defined as our model of development and/or organization of social and economic life (a model that, despite many organizational differentiations, was considered “advanced” by definition for its perceived ability to meet human needs). The “cry of pain” that has emerged from nature, the environment, the earth, in many forms of critical situations, preceded humanity’s ability to understand and interpret reality and forced humans to question themselves, rethink, and awaken from the drowsiness of a culture not suited to the urgencies of the time.

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE "People no longer set foot on bare earth. Their hands have distanced themselves from grass and flowers; they no longer turn their gaze to the sky. Their ears are deaf to the song of birds, and their noses have become insensitive due to the fumes of exhaust pipes. Their tongues and palates have forgotten the simple tastes of nature. The five senses have grown isolated from the natural order. People have moved two or three steps away from true humanity...

The true joy and happiness of people were a natural ecstasy. This exists only in nature and fades away from the Earth. An environment cannot exist outside of nature, and agriculture must be the foundation for living. The return of all people to the countryside to cultivate the land and create villages of true people is the path to the creation of ideal cities and ideal nations."
Masanobu Fukuoka

The RAN (Natural Farming Network) is a project of the Natural Farming Center Association, which aims to promote the revolutionary potential of Natural Farming (or Non-Doing) practices. Natural Farming is an approach that eliminates environmental impact and reduces production costs to a minimum. It involves letting everything follow nature’s course: no plowing, pruning, fertilization, irrigation, crop care, phytosanitary treatments, or pest control. After a few years dedicated to awakening the soil, the farmer’s work is limited to sowing, mowing, and mulching. The scholar who introduced this approach to food production is the Japanese biologist, philosopher, and farmer Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008), author of “The One-Straw Revolution,” the most famous and widely circulated essay on agriculture ever published worldwide. The RAN was founded on August 23, 2021, by the farmer and promoter Kutluhan Özdemir (Technical Coordinator) and the journalist and videomaker Ezio Maisto (Communication Coordinator). The current board consists of the two founders and Rubina Varago (Workshop Coordinator).

AT THE AGRICULTURAL INSTITUTE OF FLORENCE Synergic agriculture, developed by Hazelip, is a cultivation method that originates from adapting Natural Farming principles to the Mediterranean climate. The principles of synergic agriculture draw inspiration from the adaptation to the Mediterranean climate of Natural Farming principles (formulated by the Japanese microbiologist and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka and Mark Bonfils), permaculture by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and the American agronomist Edward Hubert Faulkner (1886-1964) in his book "Plowman's Folly."

In her writings, Emilia Hazelip highlights how she incorporated the studies of North American horticulturist Ruth Stout, a pioneer and advocate of ecological agriculture without soil tillage, the article on the oxygen-ethylene cycle "The Living Soil" by Australian scientist Alan Smith, the article "Protecting Your Soil Microorganisms" by American scientist William R. Jackson, and the studies of American soil biologist Elaine Ingham, a researcher of the Soil Food Web. Additionally, Hazelip points out that she identified precedents in the cultivation methods of protohistoric Indo-European populations described in "The Civilization of the Goddess" by archaeologist and linguist Marija Gimbutas. The four principles of synergic agriculture are: 1) no soil tillage; 2) no addition of fertilizers; 3) no synthetic treatments; 4) no soil compaction.

The initial approach to the land aims to delineate areas designated for cultivation, clearly distinguished from pathways dedicated to walking. The cultivated soil portions are commonly referred to as 'beds' or 'terraces,' created in dimensions that allow easy access to their central parts. Beds can be constructed at ground level or at a raised (convex) or lowered (concave) level, depending on the climate and soil composition. In heavy soils (clayey and/or loamy), it is advisable to create ground-level beds to limit spontaneous cohesion (compaction); in arid climates, concave beds are recommended to promote moisture accumulation within the bed; in very rainy climates, convex beds are advisable to encourage runoff and prevent waterlogging beneath the cultivated area. The beds are then covered with biodegradable mulch, and there are various material options to choose from. Once the raised beds are prepared, the garden is filled with plants and seeds, following the season. The results of a 4-year experimental comparison between lands cultivated using organic farming and synergic agriculture techniques showed an increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil, promoting better resistance to erosive processes and reducing soil instability.
THE SYNERGIC VEGETABLE GARDEN

Located in downtown Tokyo, Pasona HQ is a nine story high, 215,000 square foot corporate office building for a Japanese recruitment company, Pasona Group. It is a major renovation project consisting of a double skinned green facade, offices, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and most notably, urban farming facilities integrated within the building. The green space totals over 43,000 square feet with 200 species including fruits, vegetables and rice that are harvested, prepared and served at the cafeterias within the building. It is the largest and most direct farm-to-table of its kind ever realized inside an office building in Japan.