For the G20 of 20-21 july 2021 in Naples, dedicated to environmental issues, Gabriella Corona (CNR-ISMed) presents an important discussion on the need for training in environmental history, to open us up to the knowledge of those long-term processes that have led to today's environmental problems.

Dealing with contemporary problems and building the future requires full awareness that what we are experiencing today is also the result of choices and decisions made in the past. Before considering how to intervene in environmental issues, the researcher emphasises, it is necessary to take a historical perspective and analyse how mankind has acted on the environment in times more or less close to us and what effects this has had.


The introduction of the study of environmental history is therefore a priority in educating our young people and setting them on the path to becoming citizens of the world and leaders of the future. Moreover, environmental issues are central themes in the public debate and ecological transition is one of the axes of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). Moreover, students are overwhelmed by so much information and news about the environment, which bursts daily from the media and social networks; but this information is often confused and disorganised, not forming a coherent picture, when not instrumental and false.

Gabriella Corona (CNR-ISMed) has been driving us for years to understand that only environmental history can provide a coherent interpretative framework that allows us to understand the changes that have taken place in the relationship between nature and society, between the environment and human activities, as we know it today.  Environmental history can help us understand that the present is 'full' of the past and that it is the result of choices and decisions taken in other historical phases.

It is therefore essential, through the study of environmental history, to understand the structural processes that have accelerated the capacity of human activities to intervene in the biogeochemical mechanisms that characterise the functioning of the planet and that lie at the root of the problems that surround us: from climate change to the spread of pandemics, from land consumption to environmental catastrophes, from socio-territorial inequalities to major environmental migrations.  Only this knowledge can enable us to build the future.

For further information: the interview by Gabriella Corona carried out on the occasion of the Summer School of Environmental History, organised by the Ferruccio Parri National Institute.


Gabriella Corona is a research manager at the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean of the National Research Council (CNR-ISMed). She is Editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Global Environment. A Journal of Transidisciplanry History and co-director of Meridiana. Rivista di Storia e Scienze Sociali. She is also Adjunct Professor of Economic, Environmental and Territorial History at the Course in Historical Sciences of the Department of Humanities at the University of Naples Federico II. Among her numerous works on environmental history, Gabriella Corona (CNR-ISMed)has published, among others, Breve storia dell’ambiente in Italia, il Mulino, Bologna 2015, published in 2017 also in the English version: A Short Environmental History of Italy: Variety and Vulnerability, White Horse Press.


21 luglio 2021