Exactly one week ago, while cycling to work, I saw an impressive sight: trees as tall as buildings that had collapsed in the wind. The storm that blew through on the night of 24-25 July toppled more than 400 plants (but some estimate around 1,000). Nothing compared to the six million plants uprooted in 2018 by the Vaia storm, but it was impressive. Not least because it is barely two months after the floods that hit Emilia-Romagna. For many – myself included – these emotions took the form of a thought: climate change is here and we must act accordingly.
For some time now, Europe has been taking the right initiatives: in France, for example, the ‘Climat et Résilience’ law was enacted in 2021, which affects various areas (from transport to construction) and promotes the use of photovoltaic or vegetal roofing, in some cases compulsory.
The European Parliament voted less than a month ago on a law on nature restoration, which stipulates that the various member states must implement all necessary measures to restore at least 20 per cent of all land and marine areas in the European Union. With the goal of restoring 100 per cent of them by 2050, in order to improve the conservation and functioning status of key ecosystems, including agricultural and urban ones.
These are important strategies we all have to look at. It is also at the intermediate level (that of goods production, for example) or low level (petty consumption) that the game is played. Many are already moving in this direction. Product ‘end-of-life’ management, for example, has entered the design logic of many companies, and total recyclability is no longer a mirage but increasingly a reality.
Then there are the pioneers, like the designer-entrepreneur duo Komut (we talk about them here): their raw material is recycled plastic, with which they create fascinating furniture. So they chose a location behind a large waste treatment plant, cutting the impact of transport on the production process and giving new meaning to the expression ‘0 km material’.
It may be argued that this is too far to go and that actions of this kind do not carry too much weight. That may be so. I prefer to think like Laozi: ‘Every long journey begins with a first step’. And the more we are to take this step, the sooner we arrive.
PS – While writing these lines I learned of Rodolfo Dordoni’s passing. I salute him here, remembering him as witty, discreet and elegant as only he knew how to be. A great designer, a wonderful person who will be missed by so many.
The opening image was taken by photographer Matteo Cirenei in Milan on the morning of 25 July. You can see the full series here.