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Session Title: Living in peace with nature for sustainable wellbeing
Speaker: Gianfranco Franz, Professor, University of Ferrara
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Session description: Everyone must do something to help the planet and its wonderful biodiversity. We must protect all life forms that exist, including that of our children and grandchildren who are yet to come. Many communities and many nations have grown enormously in numbers and in quality of life, but environmental and ecological costs have been very high. We must begin to slow down and reduce the withdrawal of natural resources, finding new standards of quality of life, giving greater importance to intangible values such as beauty, peace, serenity and serendipity, slowness, defining new right things for me, for us, for my community. Small local actions aimed at greater sustainability and a more respectful life of Nature have a great positive impact on a global level. My little action alone is not enough, but my little example can serve as a multiplier and accelerator, becoming more and more important and creating a positive footprint. As Gregory Bateson was teaching many decades ago, we must recover an ecological thought, giving greater importance to words and concepts that we do not consider in all their great value: words such as Small, which is always better than large, Slowness, which allows us to better taste the emotions of everyday life, Peacefulness, which is always better than war, hating and conflicts.

Bio:  Dr. Franz is a full professor of Policies for Sustainability and Local Development at the MA on Green Economy and Sustainability – Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara (Italy). In 2021 he was amongst the 51 founders of the University of Ferrara new department in Environmental Sciences and Prevention. In 2019 he was amongst the 27 founders of Unife’s international PhD programme “Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing”. Since October 2012 he is the founder and the Co-coordinator of the International University Network Routes towards Sustainability. Research Areas: City planning and management, regeneration and urban creativity, policies and tools for sustainability, smart and circular cities and territories. During the 90s urban planning was his major focus, from 2003 to 2015 he coordinated the international and interdisciplinary MA programme EcoPolis – Policies for Sustainability and Local Development at the University of Ferrara. Since 2006 he has been involved in strategic planning practices in Italy and Brazil, worked on urban regeneration and creativity, developed policies and tools for smart cities and, recently, for circular cities and regions. Since 2017 he has elaborated theoretical views on cultures of sustainability, the Anthropocene, and Ecological Footprints, encompassing a humanistic, social, and economic perspective. At present ecological thinking and cross-disciplinary methodologies are at the core of his research.