Something I never liked about the Italian school system was memorizing poems. We hated it. We hated it so much we were looking for every possible shortcut to ease this torture. Some of the shortcuts were so efficient I can still declaim by heart Dante’s XXVI Sonnet from Vita Nova. And then there were the smart kids, those who thought they were better than the rest of us because they knew how to cheat (unfortunately, Italy is full of people like this). Those little geniuses (furbetti in Italian) were the ones who used to choose Giuseppe Ungaretti‘s Mattina as their poem. Here’s the complete text below:
And in English (my translation):
I Illuminate Myself
In compensation, those furbetti were subsequently asked to comment the poem, which is one of the most complex of Italian literature. Ungaretti was in fact one of the founders of Hermeticism, one of the most beautiful and obscure poetry school of the XX Century.
When 13 years ago the authors of Caterpillar, my favorite Italian radio program, decided to create an event promoting Energy Saving and Sustainable Lifestyles, they called it M’Illumino di Meno, I Light Myself Less. I know the sense and the reference to the poem is lost in translation, but I think it’s just brilliant. The event counts on the collaboration of institutions, shops, restaurants, companies, organisations, schools and, most importantly, private citizens. The first action we are asked to take is to switch off the lights for one day, as a symbol of good practice for energy saving. In addition to this, they promote all kind of activities to raise awareness for sustainability: parties, candle-lit dinners, kids’ arts and crafts, community walks, shows and much much more. M’Illumino di Meno grew so much in popularity that a law is currently being discussed by the parliament to officially institutionalize it as a national day for energy saving. You can read more about it (in English!) here.
When gathering data for one of my first posts, I found an information I didn’t expect:
I talked extensively about unemployment and salaries in a previous post but… do we want to take a look at the third and fourth entries? Italians use 65% LESS electricity than Canadians?!? And 63% LESS oil?!? I never considered Italians to be so good with energy saving, but maybe I have to change my mind. So I dug a little more… and I found Italy is one of the top countries in the world for Energy Efficiency! So maybe here we have something to teach Canadians. Like walking more and driving less, switching off the lights, using less air conditioner, less heating, less TV. And, why not, even in Canada.. let’s illuminate ourselves less! Happy M’Illumino di Meno: February 24th 2017!
Here’s a gallery of tweets from Italian institutions participating today… hey! Even the Canadian Ambassador in Rome is joining the party!
— Ambasciata Canada (@CanadainItalia) February 24, 2017
— Gallerie Uffizi (@UffiziGalleries) February 24, 2017
— Quirinale (@Quirinale) February 24, 2017
— UK in Italy (@UKinItaly) February 24, 2017
— Palazzo Madama TO (@palazzomadamato) February 24, 2017
— Euro Coop (@EuroCoopTeam) February 24, 2017
— Rai Radio2 (@RaiRadio2) February 24, 2017