Act Responsible, Think Sustainable

 

Every day, it seems, we read or hear about more and more environmental problems our planet is facing. Scientific reports, predicting disaster if human society continues the way it is going, get more and more regular. Our planet is admittedly in great danger and mostly because of our own actions, therefore we are the ones who need and also who can change that. 

One major issue we need to tackle is the extensive use of plastic and single use products. A few decades ago, disposable and single use products were not part of our daily routine whereas nowadays the majority of the products we consume are. This has resulted in increasingly harmful consequences for the environment.

But that is not all. Many of our daily habits have a terrible impact on our environment and we need to reduce it if we want to save our home, Earth.

So what can we do? We can ‘Be aware and care’. There are many ways that each of us can change our daily activities that are easy, painless, and be done immediately. The first step is knowing what we can do and deciding at what scale each of us can afford, to make a change. To begin with, it’s easier to start changing some daily habits and routines. Sometimes it can be really hard at the beginning, but once you get used to it you realise that you are contributing to the planet and that is a better option for everyone.

If you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle but don’t know how, try following some of these tips:

Reduce Plastic Consumption

While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic — with severe environmental consequences. The same properties that make plastics so useful — their durability and resistance to degradation — also make them nearly impossible for nature to completely break down.

Here are 10 swaps you can make:

  1. Plastic toothbrush → wooden/bamboo toothbrush
  2. Normal cotton swab → bamboo/paper cotton swab
  3. Tampons and pads → reusable period pants and menstrual cup
  4. Disposable plastic straws → reusable metal straw
  5. Disposable plastic water bottle → reusable water bottle
  6. Single use razors → reusable razors
  7. Plastic bags → reusable bags
  8. Disposable cotton pads → using a piece of fabric and washing it
  9. Shampoo, conditioner etc.→ solid shampoo and conditioner or refill
  10. Toothpaste → toothpaste tabs

For example, we should use a wooden/bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic toothbrush. Plastic toothbrushes are made of polypropylene plastic and nylon; both of them come from non-renewable fossil fuels. So, using a biodegradable toothbrush is the best alternative to avoid polluting the Earth with materials that take almost 1000 years to finally break down.

Being so used to liquid shampoo, conditioner etc. we are often not aware of the environmentally friendlier alternatives. One solution is to use the solid equivalents instead. Another thing could be to refill the same bottles instead of constantly buying new ones.

Instead of the regular toothpaste that comes in a plastic container the toothpaste tabs can be stored in a metallic box which can be refilled thus reducing the plastic used.

Tackling Water Shortage

Another problem is water scarcity which already affects every continent. Water usage has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions.

Three easy ways to reduce your water consumption:

  1. Take a shower and not a bath.
  2. Stop the tap while you’re brushing your teeth.
  3. Use a dishwasher instead of handwashing.

When taking a step towards facing this issue it would be advisable to try and take more showers than baths. In this case, there are also other important factors like frequency.

Turning off the tap water when you don’t really need it might seem like a small step, but it is quite important one.

Dishwashers are, on average, four times more water efficient than washing by hand per place setting. The most water-efficient full-size dishwasher uses almost 10 times less water to wash the same amount of dishes as washing them by hand.

Cut Down On the Energy We Use

It is inevitable that, to maintain a comfortable and civilized society, we require a lot of energy for industry, transportation, and electricity. This, however, brings about massive consumption of fossil fuels; then global warming progresses rapidly, and this makes various environmental problems much more serious. The energy problem that receives the most attention is the greenhouse gas emissions.It is the production of energy that is responsible for 87% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To bring emissions down towards net-zero will be one of the world’s biggest challenges in the years ahead.

If you want to make a difference in the amount of energy you use, we suggest trying the following steps:

  1. Buy home appliances (fridge, washing machine etc.) with good energy efficiency.
  2. Open windows to allow a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning.
  3. Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
  4. Use LED lighting or CFL bulbs instead of incandescent lighting.
  5. Turn off your devices at night, including your wifi box.
  6. Use rechargeable batteries where possible.

When purchasing new devices for your home, try going for the option that has the highest energy efficiency level.  Efficiency signifies a peak level of performance that uses the least amount of inputs to achieve the highest amount of output. It minimizes the waste of resources such as physical materials, energy, and time while accomplishing the desired output.

LED light bulbs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, but because they are so efficient, they will save you money over their lives. LEDs can also last as much as 20 times longer than an incandescent bulb and 3 times longer than a CFL.

Assuming the average lifespan of a rechargeable battery is about four years, you could buy a single rechargeable battery instead of the 10 alkaline batteries you’d otherwise burn through in that time.

Food Waste

Results of a study suggest that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This inevitably also means that huge amounts of the resources used in food production are used in vain, and that the greenhouse gas emissions caused by production of food that gets lost or wasted are also emissions in vain. Other interesting figures are that over 50% of EU food was generated at household level, 88  (± 14) million tonnes of food is wasted per year while the waste per person totaled 173 kg.

There are four simple things you can do to avoid wasting food:

  1. Don’t throw away food after the expiry date.
  2. Store the food properly.
  3. Cook the portions you will eat.
  4. Adopt a flexitarian regime (plant-based, with smaller amounts of meat, fish and dairy) or consider a radical diet change.

People often mistakenly believe that they must waste any food with an expired date of durability, even if it expired yesterday and even if the food may be still edible. It is important to note that the date on the package means the recommended date of durability, until which the food may be sold.

We can reduce the quantity of waste food by only buying the quantity of food that we can use until the expiry date, as well as by storing the food appropriately. If we cannot avoid the build-up of surplus food within the date of minimum durability, we could give the food to humanitarian organizations, where upon their volunteers may distribute the food to people who need help.

Significant resources are needed to produce animal products for food compared to plant-based foods. Red meat in particular has a very high carbon footprint. A vegan meal is orders of magnitude smaller in terms of emissions compared to a meat or dairy rich meal.

Sustainable Commuting

Sustainable commuting usually refers to environmentally friendly travel modes, such as public transport (bus, tram, subway, light rail), walking, cycling, and carpooling.

We would like to show you four ways for how you can make your travelling more sustainable.

  1. Use public transport instead of a car.
  2. Take the stairs over the elevator.
  3. If you’re in the market for a new car, invest in electric-powered vehicles.
  4. Organise carpools to work, sports, events and other activities.

Decrease the Trash We Produce

The truth is that usually we are not even aware of the amount of trash we produce. Take our clothes for example, the fashion industry is one of the main polluting industries in the world. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year.

Wondering how to reduce your personal trash generation? We got you covered:

  1. Wear second hand clothing.
  2. Donate unused items.
  3. Support fashion brands that are ethical and environmentally conscious.
  4. Recycle or donate your items when you are ready to dispose of them.
  5. Differentiate waste correctly and recycle.

To lessen the impact the fashion industry industry has on the planet, you could buy more of your clothes from second hand shops and sustainable clothing outlets.

If you don’t use a product or wear a piece of clothing anymore, give it to a charity shop or someone you know would make use of it to help reduce waste.

Some brands are manufacturing their clothes in a way that is ethical and environmentally friendly. For example, when a product has been Fairtrade certified it means it has been produced by a company committed to sustainable production. Keep an eye out for the Fairtrade mark on the packaging of products you buy.

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. The recovery of energy from waste materials is often included in this concept. The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its original state. It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).

Start small, change takes time!

By Konstantina, Laia e Mariana – Make It Blue 2021

 

Outdoor Adventure Firecamp

One day dedicated to outdoor experience, nature and food.

The Amalfi Coast mountain is a great place to experience one day into the wild and she is inviting you to be a part of its ecosystem. As guests, you will be welcomed to explore its authentic biodiversity, to learn about nature and to take initiatives in its environment. Guided by the animators, you will discover the path leading to an ancient shelter and pure water. There, we will experience life in the wild by making a fireplace and cooking italian into-the-wood food. 

The tour is an introduction to semi wild experience in nature, to connect, understand and enjoy the biodiversity and overall to spend great time with friends, kids and animators !

What you can expect during this experience :

  • 40 minutes average walk to the shelter, family-friendly
  • making fire
  • cooking and lunch

What to bring :

  • hiking shoes
  • backpack
  • water bottle
  • lunch box
  • fork and cup

Marie Amiot

Cleaning paths with Make it Blue!

The association of ACABRBIO, along with the project Make it Blue, and in cooperation with the European Solidarity Corps, has been trying to save the natural landscape of the Amalfi coast, specially focusing on the area of Tramonti, and in the protection of its terraces, the conservation of which is essential in order to achieve sustainability in the area. The terraces are one of the main elements of traditional lifestyle along the Amalfi coast. During centuries, people from Tramonti have managed to overcome the difficulties to cultivate the land, leading to the construction of the terraces, that allow people to produce different products while perfectly adapting to the mountainous orography. In addition, all those terraces needed to be connected, resulting on the construction of different paths that would link them with the surroundings cities.

Not so long ago, all those paths were often used by working people to collect and move the harvest of lemons – the main product of the Amalfi coast – from Tramonti to coat cities such as Amalfi and Positano, as they were the “supplier” of the ancient republic of Amalfi. However, during the last decades, these paths have been gradually abandoned, due to the development of tourism in the coast and the construction of new modern roads, designed for cars. As a result, some terraces have started to fall down, and old houses have started to collapse. The consequences of these are extremely harmful, as terraces help the land not to fall down the cliffs, as well as keeping sediments in the ground.

For all those reasons, one of the main goals of Acarbio is to protect and save the terraces and make it possible for local country people to live on the work in the terraces. As a youth project, we have been cleaning and recovering some of them. One of the main paths – now almost abandoned except for tourist – is the “sentieri dei formichelle”. During decades, local women used to carry packs of lemons over the heads, creating a lng human chain of working people that would move the entire harvest of lemons from Tramonti to Maiori. The look of such a unique way of working reminded people to the way ants work. And that’s how “il sentieri” was named after the ants.

Nonetheless, this path – just like many others–, once one of the most important for economic development of Tramonti, has now been forgotten and abandoned. The path where “the ants” used to work is now covered by grass, and it’s barely recognizable. But just until a week ago, as the Make it Blue project have cleaned the paths and make it possible to walk on it again.  We have been trying to rebuild them, as the main target of this association is both to recover and preserve its local heritage, and to keep its traditions alive.

Alberto Gonzalez Bullejos 

 
 

Building a community

The community supposes an entity where the members develop themselves in their own individuality and stablish links and connections between the others. Among many others things, the community is based on the idea of sharing, having this activity as a tool, as a weapon of creating common spaces.

The sense of community is developed in activities, in common ideas. Whenever you have a common aim, a shared purpose, this sensation just shows up, and shapes the social group in a very special way. With ACARBIO, the association that kept us in Tramonti, we just discovered in many activities the huge amount of trash that is thrown every year to the village in many places and different situations. How do we solve that? My solution resides in the idea of community.

The public facilities tend to generate on people the perception of free supplies. “Why do I have to worry about a bin that belongs to the government and doesn’t actually belong to me? I don’t have to care about it, because I didn’t pay for it” Thanks to these facilities, people develop damaging behaviors, a general tendency to “vandalism”, which is portrayed in several catastrophes. 

My solution seems easy, but it isn’t at all: developing a community is not a simple task, and it requires lots of different strategies and tools. One of the strategies which would be actually useful and very interesting is the idea of the social experiment. How do we make people aware of the damage they are causing to the environment by throwing a paper to the street? By using personal items, things that stablish relationships between people’s belongings and their acts. With this, we can develop a sense of belonging, directly creating a sense of community on people, and with this, making people avoid behaviors which can cause damage to the public facilities and the environment.

Reaching that point, that feeling of having a common target, would be the actual solution for almost every social issue, our “holy grail” of sociology. Let’s enhance our relationships by creating common activities and by sharing spaces, and, afterwards, the community will just show up! Let’s work on it, together. Facciamo una società di tutti e di ciascuno.
Hope I see you soon!!!

Kind regards


Guillermo López Calleja

About ACARBIO and Make it Blue

ACARBIO is a non-profit organization on the Amalfi Coast based in Tramonti, the main goal of the organization is to preserve the local environment and the local cultural heritage presented by the terraced landscape. They also give place to several youth project, volunteering and youth projects, promoting sustainable lifestyle, environmental and naturalistic activities, awareness raising activities etc.

From the 15th of July until the 10th of August, 13 young people were part of a volunteering project called Make it Blue. We arrived in Tramonti from four different countries: Spain, Portugal, Greece and Romania. Our activities were based on the values of the organization in order to make us aware and conscious of our environment, we were working in the nature with the nature.

Tramonti is a town located in the territory of the Amalfi Coast and has several little communities and villages. The name of this place it is not a coincidence because it means “in the mountains”, and yes, we were exactly in the mountains. I felt like in the middle of everything and in the middle of nothing at the same time where you can always gain some smile from the locals, even if you don’t understand each other properly.

Let us share with you what we were doing in this magical place. We already cleaned some hiking paths and did cleaning actions in the nature. Because littering looks like quite a big problem in Tramonti, in addition of cleaning we tried to build connections with the locals and really talk about the problem. With the method of binding communication we created an action, which means that we asked the locals about their opinion related to littering, we offered the flyers about environmental issues, we created some posters with useful and motivating messages and placed them on the streets. We created a mural in Polvica, the paint is amazing… you should follow us, this is just the beginning.

Keep in touch,

Make it Blue team

Barbara Gecse

Make It Blue Team

MED FOOD LAB 2021 TRAMONTI

Il progetto “Med Food Lab” ha avuto inizio il 2 luglio, giorno in cui sono arrivati i ragazzi partecipanti provenienti da Spagna, Francia, Portogallo, Grecia, Croazia e Italia. A fine giornata quando tutti sono arrivati alle scuole materne della frazione Gete di Tramonti, abbiamo cenato tutti insieme e da lì è iniziato il nostro progetto di 10 giorni.

Il giorno seguente dopo la colazione, sono iniziate le prime attività di conoscenza l’un dell’altro grazie ad energizer e “giochi” interattivi.

La domenica le ragazze francesi hanno cucinato per tutti i loro piatti tipici tra cui Crepes, Dauphinois gratinato, e Crepes dolci.

Nel pomeriggio i partecipanti hanno avuto il primo incontro con il Sindaco e alcuni membri dell’amministrazione comunale, che li ha accolti a braccia aperte e gli ha augurato una buona permanenza nel Comune. La sera è stata allietata dai ragazzi con i loro strumenti e canti tipici dei loro Paesi, in un bar locale.

 

La settimana è inizia con la cucina Portoghese con la preparazione di spiedini di melone,formaggio e prosciutto,zuppa di spinaci e Pataniscas vegetariane.

La giornata si è conclusa con una “serata interculturale” dove i ragazzi di tutti i Paesi partecipanti hanno presentato i loro cibi, musica, canti e balli tradizionali. Il giorno seguente il pranzo è stato servito dalla cucina Spagnola, hanno preparato Pipirrana e Tortilla, Gazpacho, Paella e Torijas.

I ragazzi hanno fatto alcune attività riguardo l’importanza del cibo, della sostenibilità, dell spreco e sui prodotti tipici di Tramonti.  In seguito i ragazzi ci hanno deliziati con la cucina Greca che per certi aspetti è simile a quella italiana. il menù era Tzatziki spentzofai, polpette soutzoukia e pollo con riso.

 

 

Nel pomeriggio sono stati accompagnati a Cesarano, guidati dall’appassionato di storia il veterinario Dott.Ferrara, ed hanno proseguito a piedi per fare un “tour” sulla storia di Tramonti con alcune nozioni riguardo le chiese di Cesarano, Figlino e il Convento San Francesco a Polvica fino ad arrivare a Corsano dove hanno potuto degustare la pizza secondo “scuola Tramontana” e conoscere i balli tipici come la “Tammurriata” eseguita dalla Folk Band a “paranza do tramuntan”.

Nella giornata di giovedì i ragazzi hanno avuto l’opportunità di visitare e scoprire il territorio della Costiera Amalfitana, in particolare Maiori, Amalfi e Ravello. Il giorno seguente i ragazzi sono stati ospiti della “Web Radio Tramonti”, per raccontentare le loro esperienze riguardo il progetto e al loro ritorno sono stati serviti dai ragazzi della Croazia che hanno cucinato insalata e “Galiijska hobotnica”, polenta e brodet, zagorski strukli.

 

 

Il “progetto culinario” si è concluso con la cucina italiana,preparata da noi ragazzi locali. Abbiamo preparato un antipasto con il caciocavallo impiccato su fette di pane, poi pasta fresca e per finire il tiramisù a limone.

Mentre aspettavano il pranzo, i ragazzi sono stati affascinati dai racconti di una persona del posto, il Signor Antonio Apicella che ha raccontato alcuni aneddoti sulla storia di Tramonti e riguardo la dieta “quella antica”. I ragazzi, hanno preparato gli gnocchi di patate al sugo, guidati dalla Signora Michela; la serata si è conclusa con un evento locale in piazza Gete dove i ragazzi hanno condiviso con le persone del posto la loro musica, cibi e tradizioni.

Domenica è stata la giornata di riposo che è terminata con la visione degli Europei di calcio durante la quale ci siamo goduti la vittoria dell’Italia che è stata condivisa e festeggiata da tutti.

Personalmente è stata un’esperienza bellissima, perché abbiamo conosciuto molte persone di diversi Paesi con le quali si è creato un rapporto che anche dopo la loro partenza è ancora in piedi con l’augurio e la speranza che un giorno ci si possa incontrare di nuovo. Essendo il mio primo progetto all’inizio ero un po’ intimorita e mi sentivo fuori luogo, ma è un’esperienza che farei altre 1000 volte perché sono bastate poche ore per sentirmi a mio agio e parte di un grande gruppo internazionale.

Sono state molto d’aiuto le primi attività per “sciogliere il ghiaccio”, parlare, conoscersi e scambiare dei pensieri, si sono creati dei rapporti molto belli. Questo tipo di progetto ci aiuta a  crescere, a migliorare ciò che siamo e sopratutto l’ambiente che ci circonda; crescere perché si ha l’opportunità conoscere gente nuova, imparare altre lingue,altre culture, e  mentalmente si riescono ad eliminare quelle barriere culturali che possono esserci.  Il fatto di poter degustare cibi tradizionali di vari Paesi è stato fantastico,è sicuramente un’esperienza che auguro di poter fare a tutti e di prendere al volo, dato che questi ragazzi vengo nel nostro Paese. Questa è un’opportunità per il nostro Paese di essere conosciuto in tutto il mondo.

Denise Barbaro

Francesco Giordano

Alessandro Di Landro

Tramontan stories part III: A Napolitan Birthday

 

One bright and sunny day a small international group of dwarves, who lived between the big mountains and called themselves Acarbio team got an unexpected invitation to a birthday party.

They were excited, because it was a special event and they wanted to bring a nice birthday present, but they did not have any idea what they could do. The dwarves had long brainstorming, but nobody had any good proposal, therefore the bravest dwarf decided to go the dangerous forest and collect a special fruit. After an exhaustive adventure, the dwarf brought home the special fruit and put on the table.

“Let’s make the best birthday cake, which a dwarf had ever tasted!”

“I can open the magic recipe book” answered one of the other dwarfs.

Actually, the second dwarf was me, and so if came that we baked a cherry cake as a birthday present from a local cherries collected by our brave dwarf Kilian.

The beginning of the party was near. At 7 PM almost everyone was prepared…Ops, the girls not. Me included. One more minute in the bathroom, and goooo!

The place was a surprise. Happy people were eating pizza and drinking wine under the grapevine, wonderful decoration with small bulbs and napolitan music.

“I would like to dance” said Winny, and abracadabra, the magic happened. We’re dancing napolitana dance, which put everybody in a good mood. The responsible for the happiness was the A ” paranza do tramuntan” , the most famous music band in the whole Tramonti, Campania Region and maybe all Southern Italy. They use a special instrument, called ”castagnette”. Marie liked it so much, therefore one participant from the birthday gave them to her as a gift.

No birthday without a cake! The music stopped only for this moment, when we’re celebrating Raffaele with champagne and cake. Our message was mediated in Italian by Miguel.

The party was continuing until midnight and it ended with guitar and singing.

I think, it was an unforgettable event for all of us and a good opportunity to experience the Napolitan tradition. Thank you, Raffaele for the invitation! Tanti Auguri!

 

*Máté Anita, ESC volunteer

Living in Tramonti, Italy : more culture shock than I imagined

Living the Tramontana life

As a world explorer and a french traveler I imagined my journey in Italy to be easy, but it has been otherwise.

I came in Italy to do my internship as I found an offer in ACARBIO NGO (Associazione Coastiera Amalfitana Biosfera).The NGO is situated in Tramonti, the rural area of Amalfi Coast. During previous interviews, before the internship starts, I have been aware that it is very rural. For me, this was fine, even though I got use to city places since I moved from the family house. Indeed, I grew up in the country side of France, in a small village of less than 100 inhabitants until my 17’s. However, the rural area I was living in is very different from Tramonti! When I arrived, I lived a culture shock!

Tramonti is more populated, 4,000 inhabitants, but it is also more spread! It is situated hinterland of Amalfi Coast region and it is surrounded by the mountains. Everything is authentic and local, it is quite landlocked as there is only one single small road for the whole area. The climate is also more wayward.

Since day first, I was blown by the landscape: the shape of the mountains, its steepness and the multiple terraces! It was also super lush. People were farming, and during winter they clean the land to prepare it for cultivation, thus there were smoke in every corner of the mountain.

World Environment Day

According to the United Nations, World Environment Day has been celebrated since 1974 and it is one of the most important days to raise awareness about caring for the environment worldwide, encouraging all people to protect it.

Every year, World Environment Day selects a theme on a pressing environmental problem. This year it was focused on ecosystem restoration and its theme is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.” Pakistan as a host country, calls for urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems, highlighting the environmental challenges we are facing now and so far in the future.

ACARBIO’s commitment to the environment

Since the founding of ACARBIO, the association has acted decisively to face different environmental problems in the town of Tramonti (SA), Italy. Thus, on June 5th to commemorate World Environment Day, ACARBIO organized a cleaning activity in the Wallon of San Vicenzo in Corsano (Tramonti) with young people from Germany, France, Rumania, Spain, Bolivia besides locals, all of them as part of the ERASMUS program as well as the peers of Solidarity Corps and Civil Service which are assisted by the ACARBIO association.

This activity was developed under the name “RIPULIAMO Tramonti”. It has been an engaged tiring clean-up activity of a protected area by UNESCO during the morning of June 5th. As a result, 10 sacks of trash were collected with different types of materials like carcasses of cars, tires, bikes, clothes, and many types of plastics. These results show us how places with huge biodiversity could be polluted by human activities. In this sense, it is important to emphasize the importance of caring for our territory, showing and teaching the population the impact of our actions on the environment.

ACARBIO is currently developing different activities in favor of the environment, if you want to know more about the environmental commitments of the association, consult the corporate page acarbio.org.

 

 

ACARBIO’s activity with international youngs celebrating World Environment Day