Author: Stefano Ceccatelli

"Terra futura" is an international meeting-exhibition arranged by several associations which have been working for a long time to make concrete such utopias as: valorization and environmental defense, sustainable development, economy of communion, free information and pluralism of the medias, international cooperation, critical consumption and so on. It has finished with success and with a large audience.

There was a large audience, as I said, in spite of the scarce emphasis placed on this event by traditional medias. But by passing the word and by exchanging news through the web, a large audience, composed above all by young people and families, could enjoy an event that is so important for the civil society.

It is almost impossible to furnish an unitarian picture of the exhibition, because of the large number of expositors (about 150) and because of the variety and complexity of the information flowing from each stand, not to mention of the various meetings which, at the same time, made the show richer.

I will just discuss some impressions that I had while I was walking along the corridors of the Fortezza da Basso (Firenze), last Sunday 3 April, during the afternoon.

The prevalent sensation had to do with the variety of the ideas and, above all, alternative information which was finally reaching minds and earths of a public opinion who, in Italy, always lives inside the "golden cage" of information. Lots of people, in fact, during the days of the meeting, could imagine a reality characterized by technological information, which would soon be fit for changing our daily life. Technological solutions which would already be available, ready to use, if only they were realized on a large scale. There are many examples: biodynamic agriculture, solar panels, bio-building, and so on.

Another sensation I had during my visit at this exhibition concerned the theme of energy saving.

Technology has made giant steps forward by searching for new sources of low-cost energy, and the Florentine meeting showed the results which, for example, modern automobile technology has reached recently: hydrogen cars, hybrid cars, LPG cars, CNG cars and so on.

The most interesting among these was, of course, the hydrogen car, because it would have absolutely zero emissions. But the "hybrid car" would already be enough, because this is a car which consumes less and has already been manufactered by the car industry.

It is necessary to speak loud and clear: "one sixth of humanity in the industrialized world consumes today the 52% of the extracted oil and we can competently say that the total consumption has already reached to the limit of environmental acceptability.



Forests, and vegetal elements in general together with marine algae are not able any more to retransform into oxygen and sugars — through chlorophyll synthesis — an enormous amount of carbon dioxide superior to what is already produced today.

This is demonstrated by the fact that the percentage of this gas in the atmosphere is increasing and the result is the greenhouse effect which is changing our climate.

Notwithstanding this, the development model which is being proposed to the rest of humanity is the one of the western world. This is a real betrayal, since it is not sustainable by the natural environment and no one would know where to extract all the oil and gas necessary for it. Great emerging nations like China and India have already embarked on this model of development and very soon they will claim a bigger slice of oil resources which today are monopolised by the West". (1)

It is necessary to change our course in the energy field. We also need more simple life-styles.

To succeed in this challenge, it would be enough to adopt the technologies already applied for modern automobile production. We could already adopt, for example, the hybrid cars, that use fuel but also an electric engine which allows to recover energy which would otherwise go to waste, for example when applying the brakes.

At the moment the prices of these cars are not competitive, but the price could surely be reduced by mass production. We could, for example, plan a state contribution linked to scrapping the circulating cars which would be substituted.

Many other electronic and computer technologies could already be activated to reduce consumption without hampering our life style.

I want to finish this article with two pieces of good news. The first one comes from California. The Californian Government has recently launched a programme which provides incentives for LPG and CNG conversion, and plans to produce only cars with consumption reduced to a half.

The other good news comes from Bruxelles, where The European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Platform met for the first time. This organization, created thanks to strong support by the President of the EU Commission Romano Prodi, is supervised by 35 European scientists and managers, including the Italian Carlo Rubbia, who is Vice-Chairman. The objective of this organization is to encourage and speed up development of all hydrogen-related technology.


1) Alberto Ferrucci, Postscript, in A.A.V.V., For a global agreement. Towards a United World, Alberto Ferrucci ed., Roma, Città Nuova, 2001, p.342.

See also Fabio Salviato, Ultima Generazione. Verso un 2020 etico e solidale, Bologna, EMI, 2004. Salviato is Chairman of Banca Popolare Etica.