9.5 Green volunteering, production and consumption
Through the Programme by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security, the Italian Government has a dedicated environmental ministry which follows six main objectives:
- to reduce emissions in the transports sector,
- to preserve biodiversity and value water as a public good,
- to control the hydrogeologic risk,
- to ensure safety and prevent environmental damage resulting from wildfires,
- to promote the circular economy,
- to diminish and possibly eliminate the international infractions with implications in Italy.
Within this framework, the Ministry is promoter of several campaigns and initiatives.
The current Ministry of Environment is promoting eight webinars between July 2020 and March 2021, preparing the international event "Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition" and the COP26 that took place in Milan in the autumn of 2021. Resilience and adaptation to climate change (Driving Adaptation & Resilience) are the themes at the center of the meeting of the interactive series Youth4ClimateLiveSeries, created by the Ministry, to offer the opportunity for a broader and more participatory preparation for the preparatory meeting of PreCop26 and at the youth event.
In Italy, there are various options for green volunteering. From one-day cleaning (which is usually free) to more extended boot camps where a small fee is required to cover transport and accommodation – with all the money raised by the initiatives being generally directed to environmental protection. CSOs and NGOs promote many such initiatives.
- Greenpeace Italia: this international initiative, which covers more than 55 countries, has been active in Italy since 1986. In 2019, Greenpeace Italia was present in 31 cities, counting with about 1200 volunteers and activists. In 2011, they were involved in the fight for the elimination of nuclear energy in the country. Today, the initiative is engaged in actions on sustainable forestry, agriculture and cattle raising, green energy, air and water pollution, and climate change.
Legambiente: this established initiative that fought for the reduction of plastic bags in Italy and the liberation of mistreated dogs in Green Hill, in Brescia, claims to be the most represented across the country. With around 1000 local groups, it invites anyone who is interested to open a circle in their area if there is not one. It is possible to be either a partner or a volunteer in their actions, which include: to stop the climate crisis, to fight against the non-sustainability and the environmental illegalities, to provide environmental education, to reconvert the production and to fight the inequalities, towards a better environment and society.
Keep the Planet: Keep the Planet is a very recent initiative (founded in 2016), but it already has multiple projects in countries like Zanzibar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Australia and the United Kingdom. Its objective is to develop alternatives and re-educate local economic activities that are currently not sustainable, at all levels of the ecosystem. A Planet Keeper can help this ONG (ONPLUS in Italian) in many ways. Either by reporting the current environment actions on their blog, or by actively participating in one of their missions.
Italian Climate Network: Italian Climate Network is an Italian non-profit organisation of volunteers committed to raising awareness on climate change and its related environmental issues. Italian Climate Network was founded in 2011 and aims to bring together citizens, advocates, NGOs and business committed to solve the climate crisis to ensure Italy a sustainable future, working both at a national and international level. With the support of the European Climate Foundation, the organisation launched the project “TELL! 2022”, a free training course aimed at the administrators, employees and city councilors of more than 50 Italian municipalities in the metropolitan cities of Bologna and Florence.
- Fridays For the Future Italia: FFF is a global movement that recognises the climate emergency and demands zero around the world. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, who protested in Rome in April 2019, the movement is mainly composed of young students that reunite in different cities across many countries. Italy is classified as the third-best country in terms of participation, with about one million people protesting in 180 different cities in 2019.The forthcoming FFFs are frequently updated onto their website, with the association also inviting young people to create local groups, with the option of mobilising the school where the student is currently enrolled. On March 3rd, 2023, the movement organized the global strike for climate in various squares of Italy.
Extinction Rebellion Italia: Abbreviated as XR, Extinction Rebellion is an (explicitly non-violent) social movement, founded at the end of 2018 in the United Kingdom, which protests against climate change, biodiversity losses, and the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.
The movement calls for stopping the destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity and for bringing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. In October 2019, it organised the third international protest in Rome to appeal to the conscience of governments and institutions. They have nine local groups in Italy, and promote their actions, as well as workshops of non-violent communication on their website.
Green production and consumption
The Department for Ecological Transition and Green Investments takes care of the Ministry of the Environment and of Energy Security expertise in the field of circular economy, environmental economy, and sustainable finance.
The voluntary national scheme for the assessment and communication of the environmental footprint of products, called "Made Green in Italy" is established by art. 21, paragraph 1 of law no. 221/2015 containing the “Environmental provisions to promote green economy measures and to contain the excessive use of natural resources”.
With the proposal of promoting a “Green New Deal” to fight against the environmental crisis, the European Commission and Italian Government (Environment Ministry) created the Stati Generali della Green Economy annual events, dedicated to debate ideas to finance and promote the Green Economy..The initiative, born in 2012, has now become a point of reference for thousands of companies and it involved more than 9,000 stakeholders between 2012 and 2022.