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← Can We Make A Difference For Our Planet? I Giulia Detomati I TEDxMantova

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Showing Revision 4 created 08/30/2019 by Michele Gianella.

  1. "How many of you wake up in the morning
    thinking they're making a difference?"
  2. That's the question
  3. one of our 16-year-old students, Kathryn,
  4. asked her classmates.
  5. And nobody raised their hand.
  6. And that's a question
    I've been asking myself for a long time.
  7. I have always been particularly fond
    of environmental issues.
  8. I remember as a child,
    on my first National Geographic,
  9. I saw photos of the burning Amazon;
  10. and then growing up I realized
  11. that environmental problems weren't only
    on the other side of the world,
  12. but also around us.
  13. They were global problems,
    but also local problems.
  14. I'm thinking about the abuse of concrete,
  15. that affects the landscape
    I live in every day.
  16. The problems, in other words,
    of the loss of identity of our landscape
  17. and also of ourselves.
  18. I also think about
    the climate change problems
  19. that span across the globe
  20. and empowered a single species,
  21. the human species
  22. to irreparably alter the climate,
  23. ushering us into what is called
    the Anthropocene age.
  24. All these problems always pushed me
    to try and do something,
  25. and I tried to find my way.
  26. So I graduated from university,
    I did various types of experience
  27. and then I landed in a research center
  28. that dealt with environmental issues
  29. like land consumption,
    evaluation of plans and programs.
  30. That's what I studied for.
  31. But I felt - when I came home
    in the evening -
  32. I didn't feel really satisfied,
  33. I felt that something was missing.
  34. And I couldn't quite understand what.
  35. And what happened then, you may say?
  36. Perhaps I left, I gave up everything,
    I completely changed my life.
  37. No, I was actually attached
    to the kind of work I had
  38. because there were my classmates
    whom I had attended university with.
  39. The work was pleasant -
    let's say I was in my comfort zone.
  40. So I didn't have the courage to change.
  41. Then an external element happened,
  42. one that led to the closure
    of my contract,
  43. because they ran out
    of funds for that research,
  44. and I found myself in trouble.
  45. I didn't really know what to do.
  46. At that time, I basically saw
    two directions before me:
  47. either getting hired
    in a traditional business,
  48. then use my degree,
    what I had studied for;
  49. or try to start with me and my passions
  50. and try to get involved.
  51. And I chose this second direction.
  52. So I founded an association
  53. that dealt with landscape
    and environmental issues
  54. and tried to involve
    municipalities and institutions.
  55. The more I delved into these projects,
  56. the thing I noticed
  57. was that I was drawing on talent
    that I had never considered before.
  58. In particular, I considered my careers
    as completely separate:
  59. my passions for art
    and my passion for the environment.
  60. And through that experience
  61. I was combining many things
    I liked, many interests.
  62. I also discovered some talents
    that I didn't think I had,
  63. like the ability to connect people,
  64. to manage projects,
  65. to use art or theater
  66. as a communication tool
    for environmental projects.
  67. So a lot of things
    I didn't know I had came out.
  68. And all this led me to the awareness
  69. of trying to share
    what I learned about myself,
  70. and I actually managed to do
    with young people, with new generations;
  71. and in particular work on them
  72. to give them the tools
    to first change their lives
  73. and then their world,
    their territory and their context.
  74. That's how I started my company,
    and it deals precisely about these issues.
  75. And since 2014 it involved
    more than 8000 youngsters in Italy
  76. on projects that might make a difference.
  77. And that was unthinkable to me,
    when I took up this path.
  78. Absolutely unthinkable.
  79. And I remember a colleague in the corridor
  80. just as I was ending
    my previous work experience,
  81. asked me: "But what's next?"
  82. I told him:
  83. "I know what I want,
  84. I want to take care
    of youth and environment,
  85. and somehow I'll do it".
  86. And I discovered a sense of security,
    which I didn't think belong to me.
  87. And offering young people tools for change
  88. was an experience
  89. that allowed them to change
    things in some way,
  90. starting with talents in the first place.
  91. In fact, what we want to think about,
    what we want to bring into the classroom
  92. is just to make young people think
    about who they are,
  93. make them think
    about what their talents are.
  94. What are their abilities and skills?
  95. Seems like an obvious thing,
  96. but often, at school,
    you don't think about your actual skills.
  97. So one direct question we ask them is,
  98. "What are you good at?
    What do you like to do?
  99. Is there something
    that other people, who love you,
  100. think you are actually good at?
  101. And when the kids are forced
    to think about it,
  102. we see that things change.
  103. Sometimes someone says,
    No, I can't do anything at all.
  104. Then try to think.
  105. And actually, when you find a talent,
    you find a treasure.
  106. And in particular, one of the stories
    I wanted to share today
  107. deals with how talents
    and the search for our own ones,
  108. can untap sources of energies
    we didn't think we had.
  109. I'll tell you the story
    of one of our students.
  110. The story of a student
    who spent five hours in a closet.
  111. Now I'll explain why:
  112. For me, and possibly also for you,
    a pastel is simply a pastel,
  113. For this kid,
  114. a pastel was a tool
    to educate younger generations,
  115. to teach children how to draw nature,
  116. and being able to teach
    that there is no waste.
  117. and that when you plant
    the pastel's leftover,
  118. which is in that case,
    the pastel that had invented Ottavian,
  119. was a pastel with a seed,
  120. when you plant its leftovers,
  121. you can generate a plant
    that gives rise to a fruit,
  122. a flower with the same color
    of the pastel.
  123. Ottavian is one of our students
    who created this project,
  124. a startup that creates these pastels
    integrated with the seed
  125. for children.
  126. He was considered,
  127. and he also considered himself
    a somewhat average student.
  128. He wasn't committed, in his own words.
  129. And as for this project, he became
    totally passionate about it,
  130. and he discovered that
    what he did in his leisure time,
  131. what he did outside of school,
  132. dedicating himself to videos,
    dedicating himself to communication,
  133. could actually be something to work on.
  134. He then got involved in this project
  135. and spent five hours in a closet
  136. trying to tape the video of his startup
  137. as perfectly as possible,
  138. because the clothes inside the closet
    were absorbing the sound.
  139. And this experience allowed him
    to somewhat change his life,
  140. because he discovered
    he had this talent in communication,
  141. he managed to enter a major university
    specialized in communication,
  142. he won scholarships.
  143. So reflecting on his own talents,
    he managed to somehow find his way.
  144. This is an example of how,
  145. by drawing on our own resources,
    one can make a difference
  146. first and foremost within ourselves.
  147. The second thing I wanted to share
  148. was precisely the importance
    of connecting students and youngsters
  149. with something they don't know,
  150. something that can actually inspire them.
  151. What we've noticed
  152. is that bringing them in contact
    with innovative realities
  153. but also with unusual places,
  154. can actually make a difference for kids.
  155. What you find on the slide
  156. is a note one of our students left us,
  157. a student from a school
    in a quite difficult context,
  158. a student that his professors
    identified as fairly difficult.
  159. And through a three-day
    mountain experience
  160. with a focus on environmental issues,
  161. this guy actually communicated
    in a different way
  162. and eventually left us with this note.
  163. He felt free, rediscovered himself
  164. and rediscovered a different way
    of communicating himself to others.
  165. The last thing I wanted to talk about -
  166. thus it certainly was a path
    to make a difference -
  167. was the discovery of one's own talents,
  168. coming into contact with something
    that is outside of our daily lives,
  169. so leaving our usual boundaries
  170. and getting in touch with realities
  171. that perhaps, a priori,
    did not interest us.
  172. The third thing we want to bring
    to young people, to schools,
  173. is to try help them make a difference
  174. in their own territory.
  175. So what we do
  176. is to help them think "community-wise".
  177. At first I was telling you about Kathryn;
  178. her classmates did not raise their hand
    when she simply asked,
  179. How do you make an impact?
  180. But then all together
    Kathryn and her friends
  181. got together and managed
    to design a project
  182. that actually transformed Como,
    where their school was based.
  183. They got together
    and designed a simple idea:
  184. an application to nudge people to walk,
  185. and then trying to solve
  186. what was a problem for the city of Como,
    environmental and air pollution
  187. And the fact that the old town
  188. was somehow losing its center of interest.
  189. So these kids made this application,
  190. they created a network of businesses
  191. who gave discounts
    to people who walked there.
  192. They mobilized the citizens
  193. and made hundreds of people
    aware of these issues
  194. by organizing walks after and walks
    all around the city
  195. with families, young children,
    parents and so on.
  196. And it was nice because
    they all understood
  197. that they could try to deepen their talent
  198. but they could also connect it with others
  199. and they could try to launch projects
  200. that brought real value to their city.
  201. So, this is the message
    I want to leave you with.
  202. All of us as citizens,
    students, parents, trainers,
  203. whatever our role,
  204. we can try to listen to our talents,
  205. put them on the line
  206. and work together to build a better world.
  207. Thank you.
  208. (Applause)