The fridge’s warm heart

Waking up and discovering that the fridge has gone; it’s embarked on an environmental mission to save the arctic ice from melting. This is the story told by Franco Sacchetti in his book “La Marcia dei Frigoriferi Verso il Polo Nord” (March of the Refrigerators to the North Pole), an environmental fable that appeals to all ages.

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What inspired you to write this green fable?
I have followed the environmental cause for many years as a WWF activist and a cartoonist for The Ecologist, and through environmental education with teaching workshops for children. The book is a fusion of my experiences and my travels, and a pretext to tell a story about ecology in a brand-new way that everyone can understand.
Who is this book for?
For my generation which was born in the concrete of our cities, a child of television and advertising; a generation that has forgotten about the bond between man and the planet. Luckily something is now changing; this is the time to be more aware of what’s going on and teach our children to take back the future, and fight for a better planet.
Why did you choose the refrigerator to lead a revolution that starts in our homes?
The fridge, like the television, reflects our society. The difference between them is that we can do without one but not the other. It’s
the household appliance that contains our nutrition and if it’s true that we are what we eat, we need to be more mindful of what’s inside and how we use it.
What would our lives be like without refrigerators? Can we do without?
I spent some time without a fridge to write the book. It was difficult but not impossible. We don’t need to get rid of the technology; we just need to use it more intelligently. For example, the fridge helps us to conserve food better and for longer and can improve the quality of life in hot countries around the world.
What’s your relationship like with your fridge?
Our relationship has improved since I chose to use solar power. I’m now much less worried about an appliance that is always on. I’ve always viewed the fridge as a suggestive object that’s full of meaning; it’s the only appliance to have earned an upright position in our homes. It’s as tall as a person and is almost humanlike, as I write in my book. The fridge also has a warm heart that clashes
with the cold heart of mankind who is letting the Earth perish.
What’s in your refrigerator? Which food do you never have?
Soy or rice milk, vegetables which I am lucky enough to pick in the woods near Vasto, and leftovers, because
it’s important not to waste food. You will never find out-of-season fruit in my fridge or meat, because I’m a vegetarian, and there are no products associated with the exploitation of labour. The book tells the story of a family and each member embarks on a
journey of growth and realisation.
What role do the parents play?
Valdo, the boy who is the main character, decides to follow the refrigerators as they march to the North Pole in order to save it: a blank page on which to write the future. Even though his father stays at home, he begins to make radical changes to his habits starting with small everyday things like not using the car and regret over the refrigerator.
This revolution starts in our homes and with the family, and the parents have to support the children.
Are there any children like Valdo who already feel that they can change the world?
I meet inquisitive and responsive children during my teaching workshops. They are very attentive and learn easily. Thanks to their enthusiasm I can get through to the adults and convey the right values.
What is the first step we need to take to change our lifestyle?
Read labels, understand where the food comes from and how it is produced, and change our relationship with food by looking at the planet and the people who farm it with more respect.

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