Twenty teenagers, four national cultural realities and one goal: using culture to convey good practices of sustainable everyday living. The challenge launched by Palazzo Ducale Fondazione per la Cultura and Forevergreen led to the birth of GAS – Giovani Ambasciatori della Sostenibilità (Young Ambassadors for Sustainability).
Let’s find out how things have gone:
Everything started in Genoa, one hot July evening a year ago. Memorable days, not just because of the summer heat but because of the European Championship that Italy was about to win, although we didn’t yet know it. And this atmosphere of great occasions was also apparent in the Sala del Minor Consiglio in the Palazzo Ducale, where an extensive array of cultural operators from Genoa and beyond gathered to participate in the Ideathon di Culture City Hub, a project developed by Palazzo Ducale Fondazione per la Cultura and Forevergreen with the backing of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.
The journey had started months earlier with three interesting in-depth meetings and would end with that evening marathon of ideas that, starting with unprecedented discussion tables, had the objective of answering a question:
How can culture enable the implementation of one or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the citizenry?
Not a trivial matter at all. It was a question of connecting two worlds – that of culture and that of sustainability – and finding a new key able to inspire the community, so that culture could also play its part in preserving the planet’s resources.
We only had two evenings to come up with the right idea. A challenge (perhaps) equal to the one being played on the other side of the English Channel. Together with me, the Ligurian branch of BAM! Strategie Culturali, the table was formed by two Genoese organisations, the Associazione Alle Ortiche and the Cooperativa Agorà, and Project School, an internationally important start-up based in Milan and Rome. And so four professionals who didn’t know each other before had just a very short space of time to come up with a project to put into practice a year later.
When starting the brainstorming session, one thing was immediately apparent: we wanted to work with young people. When it comes to the environment, sustainability, ecology and the future, who better than the younger generation to interpret and convey the good practices that the entire community should adopt?
This is the very starting point that led to GAS – Giovani Ambasciatori della Sostenibilità, a training course that could provide young people with the knowledge and tools to become agents of change in the field of environmental sustainability, using culture and artistic languages as a means of disseminating good practices. Presented together with other interesting projects, GAS came third in the Ideathon, becoming one of the projects to be developed.
The organisational machine got underway the following day and reached the end of its first major cycle in June 2022, with the project’s reporting day.
A year of planning, networking and activities, which directly involved 20 male and female students from the Istituto Vittorio Emanuele II Ruffini in Genoa for more than 30 hours of meetings, alternating between lectures, in-depth discussions with associations and organisations already active in the area (associazione Sc’art and AMIU Genova) and practical workshops.
Right from the first lesson, we gave them a tangible objective: to promote good practices of domestic reuse, in line with goal 12 of the UN 2030Agenda 2030 (“Responsible production and consumption”), through a cultural product that was immediate and highly communicative for them, especially with regard to their peers.
Together, we designed a sustainable kit that would convey some of these important messages regarding daily environmental care. This was made possible by the contribution of three exceptional partners: Sfuso Diffuso, Disorderdrama and Per Inciso.
The training project with the young people ended with the end of the school year but is continuing its work of promoting good practices with other activities planned for the autumn, such as participation in Alle Ortiche Festival, scheduled from 9 to 11 September 2022 at Serre di San Nicola in Genoa. A year packed with events, also made possible thanks to the contribution of the Agenzia Nazionale Giovani.
A small seed has been planted and we hope it will germinate and activate numerous Young Ambassadors for Sustainability every year!
GAS is continuing. Follow it on Instagram!
Silvia Basso, BAM! Strategie Culturali