New Humanity Movement

Social Ethics

In Calabria we can see a growing number of workshops on ethics and politics, and these bring people together to have a “re-think” about the challenges that confront cities today. 

Every city has its problems, whether great or small: factories closing down, roads in need of repair or the evolution of a society that which sometimes fails to incorporate a sense of citizenship that looks to the "common good" as its primary goal. 

Vibo Velentia is a small town in Calabria, in the south of Italy, a few miles from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Here they have discovered that to solve their problems and look to the future, it's not enough just to concentrate on the issues of the moment: you have to have a new approach which includes educating people so that they understand the need to work for social change. By doing this, you can enable people to be more aware of the opportunities that they have locally, of the history in which their life is immersed, and of the wounds that afflict their community, all of which can only be healed by a complex response, supported by suitable networks. 

So in Vibo, they are holding regular short seminars that provide information and education about ethics and politics. As Ornella Grillo Pietropaolo and Rodolfo Teti wrote in an editorial, “there is a growing awareness that our everyday behaviour can help foster a new mentality towards politics, focussed on serving the common good. Everything that happens during the day takes on a new meaning and helps to improve the quality of our local community.” 

Every month there are meetings with local people, and local council administrators together with some Mayors, such as those from Monterosso and St Gregorio, also take part. 

They begin by discussing a particular topic concerning social commitment and the community and then people speak about their own experiences which demonstrate how practical action makes it possible to develop fraternal relationships. They then look to the future, to see what solutions can be found to current problems. 

In one of the first meetings they looked at the question of refuse: the working group found that it was possible to get a free bin for composting organic waste. They decided to find out about it and work with the local institutions to explain to people about sorting their waste. One of the participants said, “I know that we haven’t yet started to sort our rubbish, but I feel that I am part of this community which has decided that this is the right thing to do, so from now on I will do this, even if it’s only to get into the habit of doing it, because I want to be faithful to this commitment that we have made together.” 

Someone else said, “I feel myself to be part of this community, and after having listened to those who were trying to make us aware of the issues, I have decided not to buy any more foods that are sold in double packaging.” 

On another occasion, Robert was present – a hydraulics engineer who is involved in managing waste purification plants. Very humbly he explained how he had taken the big decision to leave the company where he had a senior position because he wasn't prepared to compromise by making greater profits, to the detriment of the quality of waste purification. 

Even though he knew that he was making himself unemployed, he had no doubts about resigning because he felt he couldn't be an accomplice to that choice to compromise on quality. So he found himself without work with a family to support. 

“A few years ago the waste purification plants passed into public ownership and Robert was able to get some freelance work. The plants that he manages produce water of such purity that the last two reports written by the directors of a company that checks samples said that the liquid couldn’t be waste water, that their analyses had shown it to be fresh water. Now the same inspector has brought school parties to visit the plants that Robert manages to show the children that, through honesty and by using the plants to their full potential, you can get the best results while keeping costs under control.” 

That evening the Mayor of a town on the Tyrrhenian coast was present, and he made no secret of his satisfaction with this way of working. He told everyone that he wanted to publicise it, and that he would put them in touch with the industrial consortium that was responsible for water purification in the whole region. All of this is for the good of all. 

On yet another occasion a young activist was present who had identified certain problems and had instigated legal action against the council. After having taken part in a few of these evenings, he changed his stance. He explained that it wasn’t necessary to take action to secure compensation, but only to make the administration aware that people could question what was being done when it was felt to be a result of irresponsible management. 

“We could say much more. In Vibo there is another group of people who are mostly involved in the world of health and who, like us, want to improve their community through work in this particular field. Imagine how revolutionary it will be to have at least 40 more people getting together to work on a community project, wanting only to build real relationships with everyone.” 


© Photo Copyright catepol, Creative Commons License


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