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First face-to-face meeting of GreenSCENT, the project led by UNINETTUNO.


The first face-to-face meeting of 'GREEN SCENT - Smart Citizen Education for a Green Future', the project led by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO and by 14 further partners, which aims to raise awareness and change the behavior of citizens (particularly young people) in order to implement the European Commission policies as it regards the 'Green Deal', was held in Rome, from the 11 to the 13 October, measuring its effectiveness in terms of awareness, competence and implicit attitude, key factors for behavioral change.

The goals of 'Green Scent'

Taking action on climate change and sustainable development: these are two of the key points at which Europe is aiming very much in order to achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050. 'Green Scent', through an international team of people, wants therefore to promote and test, by breaking existing stereotypes and with a multi-stakeholder participatory approach, some behavioral changes of citizens.

The project will last 36 months (1 January 2022 – 31 December 2024) and it includes 15 organizations from various European countries: for Italy, in addition to the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO, the company Engineering - Ingegneria Informatica Spa has joined it too. Partners from Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Spain are also participating.

The conference, the first one in the face-to-face mode, since the project’s beginning, was held at the 'Santa Lucia Filippini' venue in Rome; it saw the participation not only of representatives of each European institution, but also by Prof. Maria Amata Garito, UNINETTUNO’s Rector, as well as of some prominent international guests, such as Prof. Riccardo Valentini, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2007 and an absolute excellence in the world of science.

Valentini: "Change starts from citizens"

"This project is of great value because it speaks to citizens, who have begun to understand the importance of sustainability and climate change issues, and this makes them more informed and interested than in the past. This is something that our community of scientists can only be pleased about," are the words of Prof. Valentini himself on the sidelines of his speech at the Conference. "I have great confidence in the role of citizens," he adds, "because it is through them that society, production systems and economic models can be changed. This project therefore aims precisely at people to provide them, as much as possible, with tools and skills."

The goal of a more sustainable world starts especially with young people. "Many young people, through their civil protests, have shown a concrete concern for a future they see at risk," Valentini goes on. "They are probably more pragmatic than us, older people; they often are more aware of the questions of climate change. The problem, however, is that young people have not yet understood what their tools are to concretize this change. In this regard, we have to try to empower and make them play a more active role: only in this way can things change."

Politics and mass media

The climate emergency is certainly not a new topic on the international political agenda, yet only in the last few months has general concern heightened. We asked Prof. Valentini whether compared to other equally dramatic topics, such as pandemic and war, the alert has come too late. "It took a long time," the expert scientist replied, "and today we are still in this depressed phase. Politics is too slow, and in too many parts of the world there are too many blockages that prevent faster development of this cultural and educational growth."

Probably, also from a communication viewpoint, mass media (which play a key role in conveying knowledge messages) do not do enough to disseminate certain messages. "This is another important issue," admits Valentini, "because people become interested in concepts when you offer them topics to engage in. The relationship between those who offer and those who receive information is fundamental because if an offer does not set off, a person will not even make an effort to look for it. In Italy, we should take more risks and start talking about the problems of people's lives and about nature, without thinking too much about the audience whose "fear" is only an obstacle. The BBC, for example, launched a series of incredibly in-depth campaigns that have wide audience. Over here, on the other hand, communication stops at a few slogans."

Garito: “An international project, our University is aiming very much at it”

Attending the meeting was also Prof. Maria Amata Garito, Rector of the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO who, alongside Alessandro Caforio, Project Director of the event, spoke about the importance of this project. "Our university is aiming very much at it. Inside there are distinguished names, both Italian and international, who make up the Scientific Committee of this project. At the same time, I have created a group of globally recognized experts working with organizations such as the UN and UNESCO." A point, this latter one, of great concern for the  Professor, who reaffirmed the importance of involving "in all countries, scientific personalities who can help bring something different to life with respect to what is the problem of this Century. Therefore, the goal is to create an International Scientific Committee that will make the results of this three-year project known to all of Europe. Beside the Committee, there is a group of general directors of the Italian Ministry of the Environment so that the political side can also have access to the data and play an active role in the future choices to be made. I would like," Prof. Garito concludes, "that the results of this great work can have an important impact especially in schools and younger citizens.

UNINETTUNO and the other partners involved

A total number of 15 partners are involved in the 'Green Scent' project. In addition to the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO there are ECQA (Austria), DBT (Denmark), MAYK and VTT (Finland), Agorize (France), Climate Risk Analysis (Germany), Ellinogermaniki Agogi (Greece), Engineering - Ingegneria Informatica Spa (Italy), Royal School of Transilvania (Romania), Smart Gimnazija and University of Novi Sad - Faculty of Science (Serbia), 4Sfera Innova, Barcelona Super Computing and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain).

The project website is