“Sustainable” fables by Gunter Pauli for the students of Ravenna Darsena Institute

As defined by the United Nations Bruntland Commission in 1987, sustainable development is “the development that fulfills today’s needs without preventing future generations from fulfilling theirs.” It is in this spirit that in September 2018 “Darsena in Blue” was born—a three year educational project of the
“Istituto Comprensivo Darsena” of Ravenna.

The Raul Gardini Foundation has produced and offered to the students of the Darsena Institute ten fables written by the Belgian entrepreneur, economist and champion of sustainability Gunter Pauli. According to the principles of environmental sustainability, the fables were printed with vegetable inks: five on algae paper and five on corn paper, which in turn were the results of experimental projects carried out by Gardini in the 80s.

Pauli’s fables allow children to approach and comprehend the notion of sustainability in an interdisciplinary perspective which stimulates scientific knowledge, emotional intelligence, artistic expressiveness and even the understanding of complex systems. Through fables, children discover how coffee grounds can be used to grow mushrooms or how to turn rock into paper to be used in writing and drawing. The double text in Italian and English allows the adoption of fables also for the learning process of a foreign language. Moreover, thanks to fact sheets that appear at the end of each story, the Institute has involved even the youngest children in creative activities (from collective drawings to the composition of rap songs) and has introduced them to the scientific aspects of recycling and material recovery.

Gunter Pauli is the creator of the concept of “Blue Economy”, which he illustrated in his book of the same name: a circular economy inspired by nature, where waste does not exist. Pauli also developed a pedagogical system that based on the imitation of natural systems where everything has value, and nothing is wasted or disposed, has been applied in many schools in the United States, Europe, South America and Far East. With the project “Darsena in Blue”, the Darsena Institute is the first school in Italy to include Pauli’s pedagogical training system.

The initiative, conceived by the Raul Gardini Foundation, officially began on September 15, 2018 with an initial training session between Gunter Pauli and the Institute’s teachers. On September 18, Katherina Bach, a lawyer specialized in climate change as well as an illustrator of Pauli’s fables, met with the students.

In 2019, the “Darsena in Blue” short film was shot by director Vito Robbiani with the assistance of Gianfranco Rosi, award-winning film director. The short film describes the educational and artistic path made by the Institute students in sustainable development. Featuring: Gunter Pauli and the kids. Parts of it were filmed in the Environmental Research Center – Ambiente Energia Mare – Marina di Ravenna, founded by Raul Gardini in 1993 and inactive since 2015, which is officially scheduled to resume activity in 2021 thanks to an agreement among University of Bologna, Municipality of Ravenna and Fraunhofer Institute.

Gunter Pauli’s Fables recognised as an educational model for the whole China

The Raul Gardini Foundation is proud to announce that Gunter Pauli, member of its Scientific Committee, with whom they created the “Darsena in Blue” project, has received the following awards in China:

– The “Best Education on Nature” award for best author of environmental education books, awarded by Alibaba and the Chinese government on November 2nd 2019

– The only foreigner to be considered among the ten best scientific communicators in China, according to the votes collected in december 2019 by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology

In China Gunter Pauli has an agreement with the government to publish 365 fables: it has written 306 and 216 have already been published. In the last seven years he has trained 35,000 teachers and he has spoken with over 300,000 students. His model lessons are considered so authorative that the government has decided that, within ten years, they will be presented in each province by Gunter Pauli himself.

Katherina Bach, Pauli’s wife and illustrator of the fables
The directors Gianfranco Rosi and Vito Robbiani at the Istituto Statale Comprensivo Darsena di Ravenna, during the shooting of the video Darsena in Blue
Gunter Pauli, Vito Robbiani and Gianfranco Rosi at the Centro Ricerche – Ambiente Energia Mare – Marina di Ravenna during the shooting