40th “Giuseppe Mazzotti” Gambrinus Prize: “family-size” ecology wins with “More idiots than dinosaurs’ by Daniele Scaglione, a book that brings the problem of climate change into the
everyday life of each of us.
Honoris causa to astronaut Roberto Vittori, the “Marco Polo” of the cosmos.
The final took place in the Sala Borsa of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso and Belluno | Dolomites and live the Readers’ Council voted for their favourite book among the winners of the
three competition sections, “L’alpinismo è tutto un mondo (Mountaineering is a whole world)” by Swiss mountaineer Silvia Metzeltin and journalist Linda Cottino,
awarded in the “Mountaineering” section; “More idiots than dinosaurs” by Turin-based popularizer Daniele Scaglione awarded in the “Ecology and Landscape” section; and “Arti e
mestieri sull’Adige. Dalle Valli tirolesi all’Adriatico (Arts and crafts on the Adige. From the Tyrolean valleys to the Adriatic Sea)” by Veronese teacher Giannantonio Conati,
awarded in the section “Traditional crafts”.
Vittori, the most experienced Italian astronaut with 20 years of space missions behind him, emphasised: “Global warming will irreversibly alter the Earth’s ecosystem. The only way to
avoid the consequences is not to limit our activities, but to take them out of the atmosphere. I consider the Moon, Mars and asteroids […] the salvation for our planet”.
The 40th edition of the ‘Giuseppe Mazzotti’ Gambrinus Prize has also come to an end, decreeing its own Super Winner. With 21 votes out of 40, cast live during the closing ceremony held today,
Saturday 12 November, in the Sala Borsa of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso and Belluno | Dolomites, the Readers’ Council awarded the Super Prize “La Voce dei Lettori“, choosing
the favourite work among the winners of the three sections of the competition: it was “Più idioti dei dinosauri (More idiots than dinosaurs)” (Edizioni E/O), by Turin-based
popularizer Daniele Scaglione, already selected by the Jury for the “Ecology and Landscape” section. The book was preferred to “L’alpinismo è tutto un mondo (Mountaineering is a whole
world)” by Swiss mountaineer Silvia Metzeltin and journalist Linda Cottino (Club Alpino Italiano CAI – Centro operativo editoriale, 2022), awarded in the “Mountaineering” section (9 votes), and
“Arti e mestieri sull’Adige. Dalle Valli tirolesi all’Adriatico (Arts and crafts on the Adige. From the Tyrolean valleys to the Adriatic Sea)” by Veronese teacher Giannantonio Conati (Cierre
Edizioni, 2021) awarded in the “Traditional crafts” section (10 votes).
Daniele Scaglione, from Turin, is a trainer and business consultant and collaborates with Radio 3. He was president of the Italian section of Amnesty International from 1997 to 2001 and his books
include “Rwanda. Instructions for a genocide, chronicles of an avoidable massacre”, and “The stories that dot the sky. Myths and magics looking up”, both published by Edizioni Infinito. For E/O
Editions, he also published “Centro di permanenza temporanea vista stadio”.
It changes the perspective, bringing the problem of climate change – hitherto perceived as “global” and therefore often distant, someone else’s – into our families: this is the merit of the
book “More idiots than dinosaurs”.
“What else is in my child’s future? Where will he be able to go on holiday? What will he be able to eat? Will he have his own transport […]? Will he be able, if he wants to, to stay where he
lives now or will he have to look for somewhere else? Will he be able to relax or will he always have to be on edge? […] It depends, but depends on what?”.
Scaglione’s book begins with many questions as he tries to imagine what his son’s future will be, starting with the little things, the actions and choices that we take for granted today.
It is his son’s future, not that of generic “future generations” that is in danger, and if one reads the climate emergency from this perspective, the perception also changes, not only for the
author but for each of us.
Daniele Scaglione’s name, together with those of Silvia Metzeltin and Linda Cottino and Giannantonio Conati, are added to the long list of scholars and experts that in forty years the
Gambrinus Mazzotti Prize, the first literary award in Italy and among the first in Europe to reward works on ecology, has attracted, becoming a true observatory on environmental issues. This
has enabled the competition to qualify as an international observatory, intercepting from the outset, through the works entered and awarded, the first alarm bells of situations that have now
turned into emergencies.
The stage of the Gambrinus Mazzotti Prize has been trodden by the world’s leading experts: from the British biologist David Frederick Attenborough to the philosopher Alberto Caracciolo, the
Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz, the Kenyan anthropologist Richard Leakey, and the Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, the best-known theorist of social ecology, the British journalist
George Monbiot, the archaeologist Salvatore Settis, the founder of plant neurobiology Stefano Mancuso and many others.
“Forty years of books on topics that are so topical and crucial to understanding where we are going, – stressed the President of the Prize Pier Francesco Ghetti, – make the
Gambrinus Mazzotti Prize a privileged indicator of the world around us”.
If the proclamation of the Super Winner is always one of the most awaited and exciting moments for the audience, the speech by astronaut Roberto Vettori, who was awarded the Prize
Honoris Causa, was no less intense.
Roberto Vittori is a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut who has more than 35 days in space to his credit and celebrates 20 years of space missions this year. Born in Viterbo in 1964, he
attended the Italian Aeronautical Academy (1985-89) and obtained his military pilot’s licence in the United States in 1986. He was selected in 1998 as an astronaut by the Italian Space Agency
in collaboration with the European Space Agency and participated in the Marco Polo mission in 2002, piloting the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft as part of the Eneide mission in 2005. His subsequent
missions include the 2011 mission on the shuttle Endeavour (STS-134), where he served as mission specialist. Vittori has some 2,000 flight hours to his credit aboard more than 40 different
The Gambrinus Mazzotti Award motivated Vittori’s recognition as follows: “A prestigious career that, borrowing the title of his mission to reach the International Space Station, can rightly
configure him as the Marco Polo of the courageous Italian team of cosmos explorers and also as a pioneer in those space explorations that are delivering important results for the study of the
origin and evolution of our solar system”.
“Global warming, – stressed Vittori, interviewed by Giovanni Caprara, columnist for Corriere della Sera and president of the Italian Union of Scientific Journalists, – will
irreversibly alter the Earth’s ecosystem. The only way to avoid the consequences is not to limit our activities, but to take them out of the atmosphere. I consider the Moon, Mars and asteroids
to be the salvation for our planet. From the lunar soil, which is similar in composition to Earth’s, we will be able to extract hydrogen, helium-3 and rare earths without altering the
ecosystem as we do on Earth. The hardest work will certainly fall to the astronauts of tomorrow”.
“Through the authors and their books, – spoke Mario Pozza, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso – Belluno | Dolomites, – the Gambrinus Mazzotti Prize intercepts new
gazes, captures cultured interpretations of the change taking place, and identifies niches of interest that can become new ways of widespread thinking. Culture, the awareness of who we are,
also fosters the attractiveness that our country needs to recover to international markets. In my role as president of the 84 Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad, I will promote this
all-Trevisan best practice, to make it known and appreciated in the 61 countries of the world. With the new chamber investment in the “Mazzotti Giovani” award on the theme of mountains, we will
trace new paths of inspiration for a good economy, waiting for Milan-Cortina 2026″.
“It is an honor for us to participate in the Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize award ceremony. – stressed Alessandra De Mauri, Retail Montebelluna Branch Manager – Our bank
strongly believes in the role of culture for the Country’s recovery and for the growth and well-being of the community. Our presence at the Gambrinus Prize follows the long and consolidated
tradition of supporting not only economic, but also cultural and social development, with the aim of enhancing the history, traditions and artistic heritage of the territories. All these goals
are translated into Intesa Sanpaolo’s Progetto Cultura, the Group’s three-year plan of initiatives that sees the promotion of art and culture as an integral part of the Business plan.”
“We wholeheartedly support the Gambrinus Mazzotti Prize, – explained Roberto Celot, Director of Administration, Finance and Control of the Zignago Vetro Group, the competition’s
main partner, – because it is the bearer of a set of values, particularly those related to ecology, fully in line with the commitment to sustainability and the circular economy that Zignago
Vetro has made its own since its origins. In this sense, the work of popularization carried out by the Prize and the Association, especially among the younger generations, could only have our
appreciation and be included among the artistic and cultural activities that we support, aware of the importance they have for the growth of the socio-economic fabric of our territory”.