Antea Guzzi

The project: Cittadini Sostenibili

“Who” are the sustainable citizens?

Let’s hope they all are! 🙂

Becoming a “sustainable citizen” is a journey. We know it can be hard to change habits overnight but it is evident how necessary it is. This is why it is important for the process to evolve constantly, everyone must find their balance by raising the bar higher and higher: there are various degrees, ways, and moments but it is essential to become aware of our environment, our social, and our economic impact and to act consequently.

Therefore, the keywords are AWARENESS, INFORMATION, and PRACTICE: saving the planet requires the commitment of everyone, not just a few ‘zero-impact’ people, but millions who start a path of change towards sustainability. 

With our job we try to give simple and practical tools to activate the citizen: we have created “Good habits for sustainability” and “Where do I throw it?” that aim to clear up any doubts regarding the correct recycling; on our website is available a map of operators and of sustainability projects in the city to find where to buy, to repair and to keep informed; periodically, together with our partners we organize cleaning and planting activities.

How was Sustainable Citizens Association born?

The project was born in 2017 to two friends already involved in different realities, who wished to do something new for our territory. Not wanting to create a “duplicate” of larger and more structured associations such as Greenpeace or Legambiente (which were already locally present and had been working on the same topics for years), they asked themselves “what is missing in Liguria?”. From the answer, the project Sustainable Citizens was born, whose motto is “connecting the dots”: strengthening or creating networks, proposing ideas, and starting new collaborations, always with a collaborative and never a competitive attitude.

Throughout 2018 we structured ourselves thanks to the involvement of new people and, in January 2020, we constituted an association, composed of 8 coordinators of the founding members, in addition to the 40 active members and volunteers on specific matters.

What activities does it carry out?

Sustainable Citizens activities mainly focus on three specific goals:

  • Networks and collaborations’ promotion between institutions to promote and provide visibility to sustainable initiatives in our territory
  • Raising awareness on sustainability providing informative tools, active citizenship and conscious consumption
  • Advocacy towards all political decision-makers (in a non-partisan way) by reporting specific problems and proposing possible solutions thanks to active participation in working groups.
  • A concrete example is the signing of Liguria2030 Protocol which involves almost 50 territorial realities among local businesses, public bodies and associations, to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals in close collaboration with ASviS – Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development.

Your activity is strictly linked to United Nations Goal 17, which is responsible for strengthening collaboration between institutions toward the implementation of the 17 SDGs. How is the situation in Genoa from this point of view? How does this impact the city’s quality?

“Connecting the dots”, networking, is our motto and we strongly believe in it. We need investments for sustainability that can attract young people, ideas, and energies to generate a positive impact on the territory, in environmental, social, and economic terms.

Unfortunately, Genoa is behind on certain matters, even if there are several signs that give us hope: there is a growing interest both from profit and non-profit organizations to collaborate with institutions and citizens on these matters, while we would give our contribution as “facilitators” in this process. 

It is too early to calculate the impact on the city but we think it is central to continue to dialogue and discuss with all those who want to commit, from ordinary people to decision-makers.

Cittadini Sostenibili members

Which are the difficulties that you faced in a city like Genoa?

Despite the closed mind that characterizes us in this city, resistance did not last long: telling our idea, talking to everyone, and perhaps being born in a historical moment where there is a strong need for change, brought many people to support us, to collaborate and to share useful feedback for our growth.

Even our way to engage and to work probably helped us obtain positive feedback: we use social networks a lot in order to have immediate communication, we take care of graphics and language to make content more easily accessible, but above all, we pay a lot of attention to quality: we always cite sources, add in-depth links and share only verified and reliable information.

How your activities changed/ how your habits changed due to Covid-19 emergency?

The emergency has not impacted so much our awareness activities since we put a lot of effort into online communication, but obviously, we had to suspend some initiatives such as the beach cleaning – for safety reasons – and other events we had planned.

Like others, we tried to propose online activities but it has to be considered that even the digital world has an environmental impact, in terms of materials to build the electronic components but also of the energy needed to run servers all over the world. Therefore, “digital sustainability” exists and for this reason, we decided to limit it.

Who and how can become a volunteer of your association?

To become a volunteer you can contact us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) or write us an email. Moreover, those who want can join our Whatsapp group. There is no age limit and we are happy to welcome anyone who wishes to commit to sustainability regardless of their background. We always try to involve people according to their interests and skills, we have different activities and anyone can propose new ideas or contribute to existing projects.

However, to become a member it is necessary to participate for at least 3 months in our activities in order to be sure of being able to guarantee the commitment and to be on the same page with the spirit and principles of Sustainable Citizens.

With which three words would you define your activity?

Cooperative, innovative, and consciousness.

What is your superpower?

Creating networks… like Spiderman!