On Wednesday, 10th of June 2020, The Cyprus Institute co-organized with the Embassy of Italy in Cyprus the webinar “Back Home. How Global Crisis Will Change the Places Where We Live” as part of the Enrico Fermi Lecture Series, as well as part of the events for the “Italian Research Day”. The webinar was addressed by H.E. Dr Andrea Cavallari, Ambassador of Italy in Cyprus, and Dr Fabio Maria Montagnino, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Cyprus Institute. Dr. Nicolas Jarraud, Assistant VP for Institute Affairs, welcomed the speakers and the attendance in the name of The Cyprus Institute, remarking the fruitful and long-term collaboration with the Embassy.
The webinar focused on the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our social and economic life, which brought into a new light the way we are managing the environment where we spend our daily life. In the event was stressed out how can we redesign our communities to be more resilient in front of such shocks, the way we can mitigate the even more dramatic and long-lasting impact of the climate and resource crisis, and the lessons learned from the past.
Federico M. Butera is Professor Emeritus at Politecnico di Milano and member of the task force on Green Economy and Innovation, under the EMME Climate Change Initiative launched by the Republic of Cyprus.
He discussed about “The future of settlements”, explaining that cities host 55% of world population today and will host nearly 70% in 2050. This is caused due to their present linear metabolism, they already account for 75% of natural resource consumption and 60-80% of greenhouse gas emissions. Prof. Butera noted that a number of factors are needed in order to transform the metabolism of cities into a circular one. We have to minimise the input flow materials and embodied emissions, as well as the use of energy, use only renewable sources to reduce GHG emissions and close the nutrient cycle to reduce the impact of agriculture on biodiversity loss. In this way we will drive a smooth transition towards sustainable development, and bring our society within the planetary boundaries. He underlined that this challenge is part of the European Green Deal, under the Circular Economy Action Plan.
In the second part of the webinar Prof. Salvatore Carlucci, Head of the Sustainability and Built Environment Group at CyI, introduced emerging solutions for the energy efficiency in settlements, which are under development at the Institute. Finally, Dr. Mia Trentin, Post Doc Fellow at the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) concluded the session presenting the central role of the house in the cosmopolitan community of Larnaca in the 18th century. It emerged from the round table among the speakers the deep connection between vision, technology and human factors in the path towards more resilient ways of living, and the need of learning from the past in order to identify the best approaches and solutions to prepare our future.
The Italian Research Day in the World – established by the Ministry of Education, University and Research in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health – traditionally falls on 15th April, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the Embassy of Italy has decided to postpone its promotion to June.
The event also came under the umbrella of “Enrico Fermi Lectures”, a series of talks co-organised by The Cyprus Institute and the Embassy of Italy in Nicosia with the aim of bringing to Cyprus leading Italian scientists to speak about cutting-edge scientific developments, thus contributing to the scientific and technological cooperation between Italy and Cyprus - a testimony to the long historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
Additionally, the topic of the webinar was connected to the COP26 climate talks planned to be hosted in Glasgow in 2021 and organised by the UK in partnership with Italy and have been delayed by a year because of the Coronavirus crisis. The need for climate action cannot be slowed down and it is important that any COVID-19 recovery plans and responses are linked to the climate change ambition. As the responsibility for such “green recovery” falls on each one of us, raising awareness is fundamental.