International Foundations at Expo 2015: all eyes turn now to environment

On Wednesday 20th May, Expo 2015 hosted some delegates of world’s most renowned foundations; in this occasion, they took part in the Annual General Assembly and Conference of the European Foundation Centre (EFC), an association which brings together more than 200 foundations and philantropic autorithies.

During the evening, delegates were received in Cascina Triulza, that is Civil Society and Eathink Multimedia Center headquarter.

The Assembly represents a way of reflecting on the role and the destiny of philantropic investments, in the aim of establishing new partnerships and evaluating foundations attitude towards various scopes for intervention.

Eathink team was invited at the opening ceremony. We were struck by the words of Ellen Dorsey and Patrick Holden, that talked about environment conservation and sustainable agriculture.

Against the use of fossil fuels

Ellen Dorsey, the executive director of the Wallace Global Found, dedicated her speech to the ecological cause; in her opinion, foundations and philantropic authorities should stop investing in societies committed in fossil fuel industry. On the contrary, they should focus their attention on solutions for climate change, namely renewable energy and clean technologies.

If you invest in fossil fuels, you’re contributing to create the problem” said Dorsey, referring to climate change and its consequences.

Then, the Managing Director declared: “There is no time to spare. We are watching a tsunami which is growing in front of us, in slow motion. We feel its breeze, its first water sprays. We are the first generation that totally understands climate change implications but, at the same time, we personify the last one who is able to do something in time. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (that will held in Paris) could be the last opportunity to sign a global pact allowing to reduce global warming below 2° C (according to scientists and governments limitations). If no action is taken, consequences may prove fatal; our planet will be devastated by extreme atmospheric events, drought, collapse of food production systems, infections and diseases. Every foundation (also those that haven’t already dealt with environment) will have to consider strategic interventions to face global changes”.

At the end of her speech, Dorsey mentioned the Youth Clima Movement; her foundation supports it and contributes to spread its message.

Sustainable agriculture

Patrick Holden, agricultural manager and founding Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, talked about damages of intensive farming and the necessity of adopting a real sustainable food production model.

Today, organic food is still a niche market. Holden, in his turn, highlights that “Agriculture has to change in a drastic way, because industrialized agriculture is destroying natural capital and ruining soil quality“.

Holden gave the example of his factory farm: thanks to his diligence, over the years, he has certified that sustainable agriculture techniques (through an organic approach) have produced an increase of agricultural outputs.

Despite these results, nowadays, industrialized intensive farming represents the most common and profitable method used by agriculturists.

In the objective of changing the current situation and incentivizing healthy food production systems, Holden recommends fiscal pressures against agricultural techniques that are no longer sustainable.


“Sustainable food is… ”:
mini-interviews with delegates

During the evening, delegates visited Expo 2015. We met them in Cascina Triulza, where we went around asking “What is sustainable food?”; they stood up for our campaign, giving their personal opinion about this issue. The mini-interview ended with a photo of the delegate, which was projected on “Food Cloud” exhibition screens, in Cascina Triulza.

All the photos were posted on our social channels. If you want to take a look at the photo gallery, you can click here.

Originally written by Viviana Brun (CISV) and translated into English by Arianna Rimoldi.