Annalisa Corrado: “Empathy and a systemic look, so girls will save the world”

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In recent years, some extraordinary women have contributed in a fundamental way to the increase in sensitivity towards environmental issues. A turning point, a transition, in the way of interpreting our role on the planet that hosts us, which can no longer be postponed.

We talked about this and much more with Annalisa Corrado, mechanical engineer (yes, and the reason for this a we explained it to you in this article) that has been dealing with environment and ecology for years at the highest levels for realities such as the Kyoto Club, AzzeroCo2 and the Green Italia association; together with Alessandro Gassmann she also conceived the “Green Heroes” project and is the author of Girls will save the world (People).

So why will women be the ones to save the world?
«Because in general women have a specificity: a systemic gaze that allows them to look at things without thinking exclusively about the set goal, but remembering all the elements involved. This is a fundamental element for the ecological approach, which is the one that clearly sees that what we do always has an impact, even if far away in time and space, and senses that what seems useful can hurt someone, to something or to the territory. The systemic look of women is able to provide an interpretative key that the model of the man alone in command fails to express ».

And where do you think this specificity comes from?
“In the patriarchal and male-dominated culture, women have often been relegated to care; in my opinion this has helped to develop in them a deep empathy and the ability to leave nothing or anyone behind. Over time we have been able to transform this habit into an attitude. Women who are inspirational regarding these issues also express a pattern of leadership very peculiar: they manage to network, they are inclusive, biodiverse and they are not afraid of contradiction. They make the dynamism between diversity a key to better root their actions (10 leading exponents of this attitude according to Corrado can be found in the gallery)».

But why do so many of us find it so hard to respect the planet that hosts us?
«The environment is too often still considered as something that has nothing to do with our daily life. We find it hard to see that it is an ecosystem of which we ourselves are a part and so we are unable to connect everyday problems with phenomena that seem very distant to us. But the problems of the ecosystem reverberate on our everyday life and the mistreatment we subject it to comes back to us like a boomerang. It is difficult, for example, to understand that there is a link between the difficulty of finding a stable job and the energy model, the one based on fossil resources, which we have chosen so far ».

What do you mean?
“The fossil model is deeply centralized and characterized by a very low intensity of jobs: there are very many profits in the hands of very few. The intensity of the jobs of those who invest in fossil energies is half, in some cases even a tenth, of those who invest in renewable energies and in the ecological transition. The latter realities are characterized by lower profits, but by a more widespread prosperity. If the main objective of a company is to cut costs regardless of anything, it happens that if a factory costs too much in Italy it is moved to a foreign country, where perhaps nobody cares about the environment “.

When did we start mistreating the planet like this?
«The real drama began in the nineteenth century with the second industrial revolution. A time when technological innovations have accelerated many processes and increased the ability to produce and move. For many decades, no one wondered if that model was sustainable: it was thought that the bowels of the planet could be gutted with impunity, producing objects and money without limits. Even with regard to CO2 emissions, the delirium started from there ».

A fundamental theme is that of the circular economy: can we explain it in simple terms?
«To understand this concept it is useful to contrast it with the linear production and consumption model that we have had mainly up to now: I extract something from the subsoil or the soil, I process it, transform it, distribute it, consume it and what remains I throw away. The main problems of this approach are two: the finiteness of primary resources and the management of waste and waste. The circular economy instead proposes to close this circle: I take a precious and scarce product from nature and I have to keep it in the production and consumption circuit for as long as possible; such a material does not become a waste, but the resource for new productions ».

Are there any examples of materials and resources that are particularly suitable for this process?
“Some metals, such as copper, are extremely circular. Among those born from recent technological innovation, there are compostable materials that often derive from cultivation of plant species complementary to food. With the proper treatment these materials become compost which enriches the soil from which new products will be born ».

What are the sectors in which it is a priority to intervene to stem the damage we have caused to the planet so far?
«In Italy we are dead behind in terms of mobility and the state of the majority of our big cities tells us so too. The railway infrastructure is also very unbalanced and over 80% of freight transport takes place by road. Another sector is residential construction which in our country has fallen behind with sieve houses from an energy point of view. The 110% bonus intervenes on this aspect but the time window is too narrow. We have some excellences on renewables, but the market has essentially stopped since 2013 ».

And in Italy, on the other hand, do we have excellences on the green economy front?
“There are several but I am thinking above all of the bioplastic sector, oil-free construction and agriculture, where we find models in which renewable energy and sustainable cultivation systems combine to create generative rather than predatory economies; up to that of the recovery of nappies and diapers, in which there seemed to be nothing to be done: instead the first plant in the world that found a solution is all Italian. Unfortunately, however, we have never really believed in these sectors, indeed sometimes we have put a spoke in them. These realities are truly heroic when we consider that they have never been sustained ».

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