Riflessioni Virali: Communicating the ecological transition

#RiflessioniVirali is back with a new edition: Communicating the ecological transition.   



The iitiative includes 7 appointments available in live streaming on the Facebook page @UnescoChairTurin, every two weeks, on Wednesday at 5:00pm (CEST).


How is it born?


The environmental issue has for some time played a key role in contemporary Western society. Not by chance, the epoch in which we live, the Anthropocene, is defined as such precisely because of the impact that human activities cause on the Earth system. At the basis of what is defined as the current environmental crisis is first of all the extreme speed of transformation applied by human beings to systems that have evolved in geological times, very different from historical ones.

However, the need to respect the rhythms of the natural environment and the need to find concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have often been seen as an unacceptable limit for the economy. As many have said by now, however, the causes of the current environmental crisis do not respond to a generic responsibility but are to be found in the neo-liberal capitalist development model, aimed at the growth of profit, the exploitation of the workforce, and the appropriation of natural resources.

The crucial question is then the following: how can a profound transformation necessary to create a fair society but in harmony with the Earth ecosystem be initiated? To generate such a change, a "new" technological revolution will not be enough if not anticipated by a social and cultural revolution at the center of which there is also the language.

"We live in a society based on narratives, but when we look around us, we realize that some of them do not work" - says the eco-linguist Arran Stibbe.


Everything that we are able to think about, and that we express through the language, involves linguistic "frames", that is, unconscious mental structures useful to make us understand the reference framework. Frames are articulated in words, relationships and roles, which create a system and allow us to orient ourselves in everyday life. But these frames can also be manipulated and modified for different reasons. Especially in everyday life we have to deal with a multitude of frames that make climate change or the ecological crisis in general an abstract, distant and generic event.

That of "nature" is certainly not an easy concept to explain. Multiple domains are connected to it. Food, energy, water, health, landscapes, but also floods, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes are just some of the areas that overlap with the concept of "nature", which is why we need frames capable of capturing the reality and complexity of natural facts and their intersections with social ones. Words, if included in linguistic systems, can in fact activate desired frames able to allow or prevent the proper understanding of a fact or a problem.


This is the intent of the new edition of #RiflessioniVirali - "Communicating the ecological transition". In each of the seven appointments, we will analyze and discuss the narratives and language used by the different disciplines to communicate the urgency of environmental transition, i.e. the exit from a paradigm centered on indefinite economic growth, to access a new paradigm that is not yet clearly outlined but which is able to enhance concepts such as equilibrium, autonomy, self-sufficiency and democracy. A science of ecological transition - because that is what we are talking about - requires a real and concrete effort to create a frame - not a scientific language - common to all disciplines, from biology, ecology, geology, agronomy, etc., to social, linguistic, economic, philosophical and political sciences. Precisely for this reason, each appointment will aim not only to analyze its own field of knowledge and its contribution to the ecological transition, but also to propose new narratives and new linguistic and communicative strategies.


How to follow us?


The initiative is available in live streaming on our Facebook page, but also available for replay on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and here, on our website.  



7 October 2020 - Dario Padovan, Roberto Mastroianni and Sara Destefanis

21 October 2020 - Maria Cristina Caimotto e Daniela Fargione

4 November 2020 - Dario Padovan e Mario Salomone

18 November 2020 - Simone Contu e Fiorenzo Martini

2 December 2020 - Simona Bonelli e Marco Giaridno

16 December 2020 - Osman Arrobbio e Alessandro Sciullo


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