Stories of St. Francis: preaching to birds, Giotto, 1266-1336, Assisi, © Scala Archives

'Every day, on my way to work, I drive through the scent of the fields, the smell of wood burning in the fireplaces, accompanied by the song of nightingales and the water flowing quietly in the small Caina stream. This serenity, this moderation, this providence of rural life appears to my soul as a lovely symbol of environmental sustainability. I sometimes think that all that we are doing today for a better environment, for the reduction of global warming, focusing on the composition of materials, the removal of harmful ones, on landfills and the control of polluting emissions, is in some ways like the ideal departure towards a world where we go back to regenerating, reusing, repairing, recovering, in other words to using the gifts of mother earth according to the natural rule, and this is something within everyone's reach, a conviction that has perhaps been influenced by the first part of my blissful life, spent in the countryside.'