TOWARD 2030: The lazy person’s guide to saving the world

Will a new humanity arise from this pandemic? A more sensitive, more logical, more attentive humanity?

I don’t think so. Call me disillusioned, sour, tired.

In these months of post-isolation, I have often noticed various levels of reckless behaviour that existed before the lockdown and that will continue to exist even when the COVID disappears or fades or get cured by a vaccine that, at the moment, seems far away and yet so close. The parks of my city are back to being littered by an absurd series amount of dirt. Those face masks that allow us to stay healthy taint the streets of Turin, of many cities and of the Italian seas. Traffic has returned to normal levels. Garbage bins are full. I don’t think mankind learnt much from this experience.

However.

However, I think that in our small way each of us can do something to try not to do so much damage to the planet. It will seem a pseudo-evangelical idea. I thought we could do something before the pandemic and I think so even now that we are still trying to co-exist in this pandemic world even if we pretend that COVID isn’t there any longer, now that a minimum of normality has returned to our lives.

For example, I still love to ride my bicycle as frequently as possible. I wander here and there, in the semi-deserted streets of my city which is on the verge of starting of the most surreal summers of all times. I have to be careful not to get run over, of course, because there are never enough cycle paths, but randomly wandering makes me and the environment feel good. It goes like this, in this surreal 2020: we find ourselves smiling while doing simple actions and easy things.

On Sunday, I went on a trip by bicycle. Nothing far. Nothing exotic. It goes like this, in this illogical 2020: we suddenly remember that we are not under the bombs of war and that, in most cases, we live in objectively beautiful places. We tend to take them for granted just because they are close. Sometimes we do the same with people, don’t we?

On Sunday, however, instead of taking time wandering randomly in Turin, I followed a specific path: that of TOWARD 2030, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

To-what?

TOWARD 2030, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? is the title of an international project that tries to do something to slow down the environmental and social apocalypse towards which we have been heading for decades.

Over the past three years, 18 international and Italian street artists have transformed Turin into an open-air museum. In as many places in my city, they created as many works corresponding to the 17 sustainable development objectives identified by the United Nations Agenda 2030 (you can read them here https://unric.org/en/united-nations-sustainable-development-goals/ in many languages) + 1 identified by Lavazza (https://www.lavazza.it/it/landing/toward-2030.html, available in Italian only), who signed the project here in the regional capital city. Turin has become the first city in the world to become an ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals through a project that has transformed the walls of its streets into real installations.

As you can read from the UN website, the 2030 Agenda is “…. a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom …. It is resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet and …. Is determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path …. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets …. demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental”.

I’m being naive, I know. But on this sultry July Sunday, I got excited at every stop on this city itinerary. In front of these works of art, I reasoned about small and large behaviours that I too, in my daily life, can do to … save the planet, at least a little. It might sound idiotic to state that you want to save the world. It seems like a huge goal, which presupposes unimaginable commitments on the part of each of us, doesn’t it?

But yet.

Yet, we can all do something, dear travellers. We can do a lot in our daily lives and we must not give up. I looked for a guide which could give me some little ideas on how change can start with me. I found it here https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/.

In the guide titled “The lazy person’s guide to saving the world”, I found a series of actions that if introduced in my routine can make a difference. They are simple gestures, some of which cost us nothing either economically or socially: we can do them directly from our couch, or by sending an email to our gas and light company, asking them not to print the bills anymore. Small things like that. They might be obvious in some countries, for some of you. But still, we can do something both at home and at work.

So, what do you say? Shall we try, or do we give up?

Practical information on the bike ride following the “TOWARD 2030” path in Turin

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