Illuminating the Path to Sustainability with Rai

01/26/2024

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The background

Caterpillar is a drive-time afternoon radio show broadcast live by Rai Radio2 since 1997. It is hosted by Massimo Cirri and Sara Zambotti, with listeners participating from all over the world. It deals with the news and the current issues in a light and ironic way. Environmental issues like eco-sustainability, planet safeguarding and climate change have always been among its major concerns.

Presenters of Caterpillar radio show

The evolution of M’illumino di Meno

Within the show Caterpillar, Rai Radio2 has been organizing the Day of Energy Saving and Sustainable Lifestyles and it was renamed M’illumino di Meno*in 2005. For the latest edition, Rai invited listeners to turn off the lights on February 16th, 2024 – the anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol – as a statement of environmental concern.

Each year, in preparation for the Day, Rai Radio2 promotes examples of good environmental practices, advising on how to reduce waste and optimize resources. Companies and associations, private individuals and public authorities, schools and universities, museums and sports clubs take part in the initiative and share their innovative and creative projects with the audience.

On the Day, the lights on the main Italian squares and monuments are simultaneously turned off, to name a few, the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Verona Arena, Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Piazza del Campo in Siena, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Piazza San Marco in Venice, the Maschio Angioino in Naples, Pompeii, the Riace Bronzes, the Royal Palace of Caserta.

Other past editions included biking and walking initiatives. One edition got museums across the continent to join the cause. Another edition gathered 150 Italian mayors signing a commitment on the sustainability in their schools in their respective cities, and countries. Read more about past editions here.

In 2022, the Italian Parliament recognized February 16th as the National Day of Energy Saving and Sustainable Lifestyles. M’illumino di Meno celebrated this milestone by gathering all the people who made it possible in the biggest “energy community” of all time. Groups of individuals who care for the environment, come together on this day, annually, organizing rides and walks, acoustic concerts and zero-impact shows, candlelit dinners and sporting events in the dark, street festivals, meetings, and workshops.

In 2024, M’illumino di Meno is reaching its 20th edition and setting a new goal, inviting everyone to build international partnerships and to share good environmental practices and initiatives. All participants are encouraged to capitalize on their connections, such as town twinning projects or exchange programs in schools and universities. Participants are welcomed to organize joint experiences on sustainability.

By building an engaged community around great content, Rai Radio 2 has created the perfect environment for advertisers who want to communicate about environmental issues. Radio can offer advertisers much more than just the 30” spot. Caterpillar demonstrates how compelling content around an engaged community can build audience loyalty and increase advertising revenues.

Conclusion

The M’illumino di Meno campaign’s greatest achievement is raising awareness about the impact of daily behaviour on energy consumption: using efficient light bulbs, turning off the stand-by, recycling, cutting down on car use and such acts that can help reduce waste and pollution.

* “M’illumino di meno” is a pun on Giuseppe Ungaretti’s famous poem “Mattina” (“Morning”), which, in its entirety, says: “M’illumino d’immenso” (“Immensity fills me with light”). “M’illumino di meno” literally means “I light myself less”.