Hello, it is Pille here from the project “The World We Have”. I would like to introduce you to one of the most amazing people in our lives here in Lecce, Fabio Giannelli. We met in the beginning of our voluntary service because he was our driver for a trip organized by Ilenia. From the start he has been such a kind and irreplaceable friend to us! By the way he is an amazing pizzica dancer and he plays the harmonica like Bob Dylan! The more I got to know him the more I realized how sustainable and inspiring his lifestyle is!
He has a brand of patented solar thermal systems for heating water through the power of the sun. To get to know more about him and his company I decided to do an interview with him which you can read below!
Your company deals with renewable energy. Tell me more about it!, what exactly do you do?
We manufacture solar thermal systems for domestic and industrial applications. Have a hot shower, wash your dishes and clothes or enjoy a warm house in cold winter solely thanks to the gift of sun through these kinds of systems. Of course, sun radiation varies on earth mainly depending on latitude and season / weather. In any case, you can still save energy even when it rains and have heating on a sunny but very cold winter day.
How did you get inspired to have a sustainable company?
It is the dream of clean and free energy for everybody to inspire us together with the concept of energy independence. Any energy supply can be cut off or run out in the future except for the sun, which is given for free to everybody. If you visualize sun energy as a fossil resource, each square meter of soil under the sun would be equivalent to 20 centimeters of oil every year.
What inspires you to practice a green lifestyle?
I don't go that far as to define my lifestyle "green", but I very much like Nature and I feel part of it, so I try to act accordingly with my feelings and mindset, trying to preserve the beauty around me. This obviously includes, and starts from, my body and mind, that is, "my" nature. Pollution starts from the mind, actions follow our thoughts, therefore I believe that nutrition is fundamental. Let's first respect our own nature as human beings - what is better to do for our body, for our mind? We are an integral part of Nature, we are in a natural cycle and we must respect it, or we will pay the consequences.
I know you follow a very healthy lifestyle. Was the choice of your car and diet affected by sustainability or because of other reasons?
Sustainability often sounds as a sacrifice for a greater cause. But the lifestyle I have reflects my beliefs in terms of health and justice, for myself. In a sense, I define myself 'selfish', but in a good sense. The choice for an electric car and a specific diet, besides other things, comes naturally from knowledge I have, as something I feel is right and healthy for myself, not for a greater cause. I live much better with these choices I made, yet I am open to challenge my ideas with others, to change them and make it even better.
What do you think about the current environmental situation in the world?
The environment is polluted as much as we are, it's a matter of mindset. If we are part of the problem we will never be the solution to it. Yet, we are not capable of killing Earth, nor life on it. Life on this planet will survive us and spring again even after the most destructive man-made cataclysm. The planet is safe, we can only kill ourselves, our chance as human beings on this planet, "our" world.
Do you think we can save the world we have? How can we inspire others to join the fight?
We can save ourselves, living a more sound and aware life, all the rest is a by-product. It takes passion and effort, but it's the kind of effort that pays for itself so, in a way, it's a form of investment. Life is a great experience, and being sound with our body and mind makes it even more enjoyable and worthy to live. Our thought is the origin of the change. So, to achieve clean actions we have to learn how to clean up our minds and bodies. Just look at how quickly nature cleansed itself in many parts of the world when traffic stopped because of covid restrictions.
What green practices do you use?
I believe in small, sustainable steps to be done everyday by everybody, nothing exceptional at first sight. Lifestyle for a green world has to be sustainable itself, not a big jump. I don't believe in revolutions or quick changes. Step-by-step, slowly but inexorably we can become better, more conscious and intelligent, and the world we live in is our house. Nobody with a sound mind would dirty its own house.
What or who has inspired you to make these choices?
I could enlist many people and things that inspired me in the past and inspire me daily, but I think this is not the point. Everyone has their own path, there are as many truths as people on this planet. I believe that one must recognize the beauty in the world by simply opening their eyes, being part of it and acting accordingly. It's rather logical.
Do you have a goal or dream of what you want to achieve in your lifestyle or company?
I like to experiment with natural resources and I am fascinated by how human beings can exploit these resources to their advantage in a clean and circular way, being part of a cycle, like all other living beings do on this planet. I believe that technology can help a lot in this, but currently, and with good reason, it is seen as an obstacle to the return to nature. I think we are entering, and maybe we already are in, a 'neo medieval' time, when nature will be rediscovered with all its timeless secrets and wisdom, in harmony with human beings and their technological achievements. It's the only way we can rejoin nature and ourselves. I'd like my life and company to be part of this.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed working on this article! I am so happy to see that there are so many inspiring people who practice sustainable lifestyles without paying too much attention to it. It comes naturally, which shows how easy and casual it can be!
Thank you very much Fabio for taking the time to answer my questions!!
Hey, it’s Pille here. Last month I wrote an article about how I came up with my personal project, Planet Pille, and how I want to inspire people to become more sustainable. One way to do so is by choosing sustainable traveling. Read further to discover the sustainable trips I have done during the last weeks.
Sustainable travel means finding a way that tourism can be maintained long-term without harming natural and cultural environments. It’s about a commitment, to dream, discover, and live so that future generations still have a path to explore.
Finally it is the “yellow zone” in Puglia, which means that we are allowed to travel throughout the region and even outside to visit the rest of Italy! I have been waiting for this moment for such a long time. I have already done two “sustainability trips” inside Apulia.
The first trip was to Taranto which is the third-largest continental city in southern Italy. Taranto is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base. It was a very beautiful and lively city!!
The second one almost broke me! Valle D’Itria, where I used only trains and a bike. Valle D’Itria isn’t that long biking itself but the landscape there is very challenging. When I shared this idea with everyone at Ciccloficina, they told me I was crazy! So far I had seen only flat Apulia, so I had no idea it had hidden surprises like this. Luckily Mauricio offered me a better bike for the weekend. Did you guys know they rent professional bikes at such a low rate?! The bike itself was sooo beautiful, in my favorite color and with such good breaks and gears. I even forgot once that the bike had such strong breaks and almost flipped over the front. :)) Nothing serious happened, just broke my phone holder. I was so happy to bike with this bike. Mine here in Lecce is a bit old and more simple without gears or a soft seat.
Valle D’itria is a valley that spreads over the provinces of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto. But the word “valley” is an inaccurate term because it’s not the typical style of mountain area valleys: it is just a depression due to karstic phenomena. Some of the most well-known towns in the area are Alberobello, Locorotondo, Cisternino, Ostuni and Martina Franca.
I started my trip by taking a train from Lecce to Cisternino. I found out that Cisternino train station is about 11 km from the city. According to Google Maps it should have been around a 54 minute ride, but in reality it turned out to be at least 2,5 hours. After leaving the train station the road started to go uphill. First I didn’t realize it and didn’t understand why my bike was not moving at all, thinking it should be a new bike. When I looked back where I started biking I realized that there hasn’t been any flat road. I biked with some stops until I got to the hardest part of the trip. The last 4 or so kilometers to Cisternino felt like they were about 60 degrees uphill! The professional cyclists that streamed past me biked like it was nothing of course.
After wandering around in Cisternino I continued my trip to Marta Franca. This is around 9 km away and according to Google was supposed to take like 40 minutes. This road was not as bad as the first one because it was downhill and uphill. The last part before reaching the city center was difficult again. On the way there I had many stops because there are so many trullo houses on the way. Trullo houses are a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof what look like ice cream cones for a roof, so cute!! They were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small proprietors or agricultural labourers.
My trip ended in Fasano where I took the train back to Lecce. But before reaching the last city I had to get down the hill. On my way back it started to pour, the heavy rain made the road quite slippery and because of the already considerable downhill slope, I was going wayyyy too fast. I think I held the brakes almost the whole way down, but what a view!
When I was planning it, I wanted to visit Alberobello again, but after seeing how challenging the road was I skipped it. I had already visited Alberobello too, so I didn’t feel too down because of it.
Thank you so much Ciclofficina for sponsoring me with such a good and pretty bike, without it I wouldn’t have made it to all the places I planned to go! This bike made my trip easier and a lot safer! I really started to like that bike, so it felt weird when I had to sit back on my old one! :D
If you want to know where to eat or what to see there then feel free to leave a comment or check out my friend Elisa’s blog article about her trip to Valle D’Itria! (in Italian)