INTERVIEW WITH Davide Don
“URGENCY AND SYSTEM THINKING WILL HELP US SOLVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISES”
Enviro Engineering, (Enviro Studies) is a sought after Skill set in demand in today’s world of sustainability. And also climate change. Davide Don will earn a Masters in this area. He intends to work hard and become a skilled figure in his field. This is the core of the Interview with Davide Don.
How did he come to select this field as a study? What help to society can this bring? Why place the care of the enviro in the hands of one so trained?
He sees current modes of Comm, Systems, and projects on the horizon. These may alter the course of today’s World facing troubles with the changing climate. He also sees the interest in providing a future for generations to come.
About the Interview
This interview was made in Oct 2018 and published in Nov 2018 on www.lteconomy.org
Blog v. Mar 2019
Subject: Youth, technology, comm and enviro
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Introduction : Boxed Highlights
- I care about environment and see an urgent need to make an impact. Moreover, consider the increasingly relevant role that professions related to environmental fields are having. It was a career, I could roll with and get a secure, and likely well paid, job.
- Considering the last IPCC Report, we are in a very dangerous situation that requires immediate and strong action.
- I would say that Circular Economy is the answer to the understanding that the linear, open system and economic model we had until now is not sustainable.
- The shift toward a more circular model is something that does not occur in the short period. But [it] pays off in the long term, so it requires commitment and sound decision making.
- Circular Economy though, needs system thinking because no phenomenon can be understood in an isolated sense but only in relation to its context.
- I think the Internet will play an even more relevant role that it has today. Especially considering how the Internet of Things (IoT), the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the overall society.
- Now with the possibilities offered by the Blockchain to better track every resource in the supply chain. And in the waste recovery/disposal chain. It could be also possible to reinforce the cooperation between professionals in the waste management field.
“I care about environment and see an urgent need to make an impact.
Moreover, if we consider the increasingly relevant role that professions related to environmental fields are having,
it was a career I could roll with and get a secure, and likely well paid, job.”
1. Question: You have specialized in Enviro Studies. What pushed you to choose these studies?
His passion and Interests
Environmental Engineering wasn’t my first choice at the time. I could say that I was always passionate about the environment. And that I always felt this was my path, but it would be a lie. During the last year of high school my father asked me to present him with a “plan A” and reasonable alternatives. I was sure about wanting to get a university degree. So I narrowed down every possible path: Civil Engineering, Architecture and Environmental Engineering.
Civil Engineering was the closest to my specialization in high school. But I didn’t like it much. The university years can be almost unbearable if the chosen career does not follow one’s interests. Architecture was more of my liking but there are too many architects with low salary jobs. So it meant demanding years during university and difficult ones after the graduation.
His best Choice
Environmental Engineering was the best choice because I am curious about the reason and purpose of everything. I care about environment and see an urgent need to make an impact.
Moreover, if we consider the increasingly relevant role that professions related to environmental fields are having, it was a career I could roll with and get a secure, and likely well paid, job.
The right choice
While attending my third year of B.E. (Bachelor) I really found my drive for Environmental Engineering. And I realized that I wanted to be part of the change. And leave a positive contribution toward a better environment through my actions. The Master Degree, that I will complete in a few months, further reinforced my belief that I made the right choice.
Something Good & worthwhile
The environment needs to be taken care of, and by people who know what they are doing. For the same reason why nobody would leave the design of an aircraft to a completely incompetent person, instead of a real aviation or aerospace engineer. I wish to be able to do something good and worthwhile, and now I feel I have the basic knowledge to do it. So this is why I chose Environmental Engineering.
Lack of Urgency
“I feel the lack of urgency due to indifference and complacency showed by many politicians,
entrepreneurs, media platforms and ordinary citizens is the most important threat to human wellness.”
2. Question: As a young person, what do you think will be the most important threat to human wellness in the future?
The IPCC Report
Considering the last IPCC Report, we are in a very dangerous situation that requires immediate and strong action. As a young person, I could be concerned about the environmental crisis we are living. That is, plastic waste, heat, water and air pollution. And I understand that standing up for the environment is something different from other noble causes. Like fighting for a better wage, gun control, equal rights, and basic rights. Also to live free, to be acknowledged and respected as human being.
Repeat, a Lack of Urgency
Those purposes affect directly an individual, they are more strongly and more easily perceived. But as Davide I feel the lack of urgency due to indifference and complacency. [These are shown] by many politicians, entrepreneurs, media platforms and ordinary citizens [and are] the most important threat to human wellness.
If one is not directly affected by an environmental disaster it requires a wider understanding of the weight of our actions. And a will to change and/or to lead the change that most of the world population lacks. But as the report above states we are on the verge of a catastrophe and this is the only planet we have.
“I would say that Circular Economy is the answer to the understanding that the linear,
open system and economic model we had until now is not sustainable.”
About the Circular Economy
3. Question: Define Circular Economy and tell what you don’t like about it – i.e. shortcomings
I would say that Circular Economy is the answer. [It is] understanding that the linear, open system and economic model we had until now is not sustainable. It’s a paradigm shift, in fact we have to go beyond the idea of waste. [We need] to see it as a valuable resource to be employed again in a productive way.
A model of Dev
Circular Economy can be thought as a model of economic development meant to pursue growth. While at the same time ensuring environmental protection, pollution prevention and sustainable development. [These are] through the conservation of resources and reuse or incorporation of materials previously considered as waste.
This way it will be possible to minimize pollution at the source and reduce the amount of overall waste per unit output. [Also it will be possible to create] a system that proves to be profitable and compatible with the necessity of sustainable development.
Shift toward the circular economy
It’s not really a matter of “not liking” but of drawbacks, issues and shortcomings. In these terms, I can think of:
- The shift toward a more circular model is something that does not occur in the short period but pays off in the long term, so it requires commitment and sound decision making.
- Circularity or Circular Economy is a process that will require new skill sets, operational and physical infrastructures and management strategies to be implemented and kept up to date.
- The true circularity is kind of an ideal concept. Because to be fully circular the waste should be recycled/remanufactured/reused to make the exact same product. There shouldn’t be contamination or losses during this process. Otherwise it won’t be a closed loop.
- Moreover, being realistic there will always be some waste during the process, therefore some primary inflow will always be needed. The possibility of contamination of that inflow cannot be neglected.
“Circular Economy though, needs system thinking because no phenomenon can be understood
in an isolated sense but only in relation to its context.”
4. Question: What is your solution to the circular economy?
As an environmental engineer, I might, even unintentionally, focus on the resources and waste avoidance, ending up to discard economic and/or social aspects. Circular Economy though, needs system thinking because no phenomenon can be understood in an isolated sense but only in relation to its context. And this approach acknowledges that organizations, communities, economic or social systems are complex entities.
There are people that can rightfully describe themselves as “Circular Economy experts”. But I am not one of those people yet, though I am working hard to offer valid contributions in the future.
I can say that the C.E. has to be applied urgently along with proper management of waste streams and materials resource acquisition that minimize harming the environment. And I feel it’s important to stress that Circular Economy is not a fancy term to abuse, or misuse, as in green washing practices. We must implement CE strategies because we need to divert from the current “pass through” economy but undertaking them must not be taken lightly.
Models — mindset
5. Question: You mention that May’s book “Stability and Complexity in Model ecosystems” is the Bible of Enviro Engineering. Yet it is not an Engineering book. Explain.
It is one of the great books of Environmental Engineering, or as I like to affectionately call them “Bibles”. But it is not the only important text for my profession. Environmental Engineering is a multifaceted and complex topic. And it does not rely only on strictly “engineering” material. This Degree or profession in terms of mindset, or forma mentis, is not different from the more traditional and known engineering ones.
Solutions – The “Bibles”
As engineers, we are all called to find solutions to problems that don’t have one [material] yet, but focusing on environmental ones means also needing knowledge from other sources that many wouldn’t immediately relate to “engineering”.
An Environmental Engineer can deal with different types of issues where this book can be very useful, like in the application of Nonlinear models for describing threatened or contaminated ecological systems. He, or she, can also deal with the territory protection, urban and city planning, health and safety practices at industrial level, which require different “Bibles”.
6. Question: Comm has changed a lot in the past few years. What do you think will be the most important means of comm in the next 10-20 years?
I think the Internet will play an even more relevant role than it has today, especially considering how the Internet of Things (Io T), the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the overall society.
About Internet & Social Media
It is important to point out that Internet and the social media cannot be used as they are now. This is because they are becoming a place where people get rid of their stress and personal issues while seeking for acceptance, acknowledgment and attention, rather than a place where [they are] enriching personal knowledge and get to know others.
The very, probably too, democratic structure of social media has forced on us all the idea that “one equals one” and that the more you scream the more you are right.
It also pushed through the idea that Science is democratic, that everybody has a say in everything.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. Science is not democratic, the speed of light is not decided by popular vote. And no ordinary person should feel entitled to teach a lesson to somebody who dedicated his or her life to pursue deeper knowledge and expertise in a given field. Especially if this ordinary individual is basing the attacking line on things read on social media, blogs and Wikipedia.
Without any offense to Wikipedia. Because as a student I feel it really is a miraculous instrument. I just don’t think that anybody should have the nerve to go teach an astronaut or a doctor things about space or medicine relying solely on a day of browsing.
“Now with the possibilities offered by the Blockchain to better track every resource in the supply chain,
and in the waste recovery/disposal chain, it could be also possible to reinforce the cooperation
between professionals in the waste management field.”
7. Question: Do you have any project in mind that could have a Long Term Economy impact (that is Permanent Wellness, stable ecosystems or society and so on)?
During the bibliographic research for my Master Thesis, I relied on many documents drafted by the European Community. Like the Communication on Critical Raw Material or the recent Regulation on Conflict Minerals. Looking at the reason and the aim of these documents made me think deeply about the necessity to reach higher levels of recovery of materials in the various productive cycles. And about the need to make every industrial process more efficient and sustainable.
This way it will be possible to reduce the demand for resources and the impact they have on the environment while saving money.
I would like to work on strengthening the connections between all the stakeholders. And making sure that there is concordance in the decision making process, and legal framework involved, in order to avoid different interpretations for the same circumstances.
About the Supply Chain
Now with the possibilities offered by the Blockchain to better track every resource in the supply chain. And also in the waste recovery/disposal chain, it could be also possible to reinforce the cooperation between professionals in the waste management field. This would make the coordination effort easier and more efficient.
This interview, website version, is also published in the website www.lteconomy.it under the section: Interviews – Special Guests