#EWWRAwards finalists || Citizen • Daniela Malanchini
The EWWR Awards finalists have been announced! In each category the Jury has selected their top 3 finalists. The winners will be revealed on 22 May in Brussels during the EWWR Awards Ceremony. To find out more about the finalists, their initiative and commitment for waste reduction, we have caught up with them for a short interview.
1 • What is “An Entire Island for Nature” about?
“An Entire Island of Nature” is a project that united 61 different institutions on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. Both public and private entities participated in the initiative to make the island greener. During the project, 363 shopping bags were made by reusing animal feedbags. The reused bags were put on display during an exhibition at the Municipality of Vila do Porto. At the end of the exhibition, the bags were offered for sale to the public for a symbolic 1 euro price. The collected money was then donated to the municipal kennel. The project was developed little-by-little. I started talking with friends about this project. I met them one by one, in their offices, in their shops, in their houses and I was there with my 4-5 samples. They were not very well done, but I was so happy thinking that we could do something for the environment. Every time after I finished explaining my project, I could see the same reaction on their face: ‘‘Yes, I want to join this project’‘. Later when I went back collect the bags, I could see that everyone who contributed had become even more enthusiastic. Everyone wanted to tell me how they made their bags: with their children, with their grandparents, with their colleagues, with all their friends. Every single bag has a story and a part of a person’s heart. This is what makes this action special: how 61 different institutions have been able to work together. This project is mine but the result is not due to me. It was my little island Santa Maria - 97 square km and 6000 habitats - that have done the entire work.
2 • How did you come across this idea?
I am Italian and I grew up in a family where Mother Nature has always been present in every single moment of each day. My father once showed me the net of the spider, explaining: ‘’Daniela, I am an engineer but I am not able to make this. This small insect is better than me.’’ Starting from when I was 15 years old, I began living in Kenya for 3 months out of the year. I remember that a tourist was taking a picture of a tree with a lot of black birds, only to realise later that those black birds were in fact plastic bags! I am also seeing a lot of plastics abandoned in nature all around us. As such, I have started to clean up the surrounding. At the beginning the locals were watching me. But little by little they started joining me and began cleaning up as well. It was time for us all to do something together.
The photographs of the pollution of the river Citarum and documentaries on the topic helped us to realize the serious problem in which the planet is today. Therefore, we decided that it would be a good idea to see our students committed, aware and working with a shared purpose: the protection of the environment, since “everything is possible if we believe in it”. We were sure that all of these actions would not only have an impact on the students but also motivate the teachers, families, towns and villages around the school. Our aim is that all the activities result in a lasting behavioural change.
3 • Why is waste reduction important for your organisation?
For all of us living in the Santa Maria waste reduction is important because we live on an island and we need our land for us, for our animals, for our plants, for our food but not for our rubbish. We are ‘‘an entire island for nature’‘.