Last Wednesday, thanks to a ride from Minotaur, my Florence adventure officially began! Some of you know that I already live in Italy, in the north, near Turin, in a community called, Damanhur. But for the next six months, I will mainly be living in Florence.
Last year, I saw a message on the Facebook page of the LINV (Laboratorio internazionale della neurobiologia vegetale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze – International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology at the University of Florence) announcing a new masters degree program called Future Vegetale (Vegetal Future) created by professors Stefano Mancuso and Leonardo Chiesi.
Mancuso is a legend, the most recognized mind in the world right now on plant intelligence and the destructive human nature of plant blindness, and Chiesi in an international professor of social research methods for architecture, urban design and planning. Together, they created this program to bring the plant world directly into social innovation.
After months of bureaucracy—and a painful amount of expense and energy—my university degree was certified, and I was adpmitted! The program will be held at Villa Bardini, a gorgeous garden park in the middle of Florence. Instead of going back and forth—which takes at least four hours, on a good day—I decided to focus on study and the integration of what I am learning. Lucky for me, Damanhur has a center in Florence, so I was able to find a super sweet place with nearby with an initiate and her cats (which makes only slightly better how much I will miss my own cat, Mysticat).
Since I won’t be able to travel like I usually do, I am developing projects in this period. Together with colleagues at Damanhur and in Turin, we will be carrying out a first scientific study on the effects of plant music on human health. This research has been a long time in coming, and we are super excited to finally be able to carry it out with the help of the Damanhurian medical staff and collaborators from the University of Turin.
Last year I did a training on biomimicry, the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes, and this year I joined the multidisciplinary non-profit Bioversum, dedicated to the education, integration, research of process methods inspired by nature, especially in the fields of biomimicry and circular economy. Our first project is an innovative solution for islands in the Mediterranean to deal with water/wastewater. We are working on our website to better explain our mission and projects—stay tuned!
Oh, and there will probably be the opportunity to work on a big project at Damanhur, but that is still in the hush-hush stages, so you will have to exercise a little patience until I can share more.
Since arriving, I have completed two days of lessons. Macuso’s first lesson was like listening to the scientific reasoning behind the need to reunite the three mother worlds, or at least the human and plant worlds. It was a confirmation of everything I teach and speak about, since without this reunification, we are doomed to become the seventh extinction on this planet!
This period will no doubt be intense, as it will be enriching. I will do my best to keep you up to date. If you want to follow my movements or ask questions, your best bet is Facebook or Instagram. If you want to book me for a guest lecture, keynote, or to teach a workshop or course, then contact me directly.
Until next time….
Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi, Florence by Andy Hay on Flickr
Cover, Introduction to *Futuro Vegetale*