This research work investigates the degree of environmental awareness of networks organised for – and by – older Italians, as well as the actions and the potential projects in response to environmental challenges.
Thanks to a series of semi-structured interviews addressed to leaders of organizations for the elderly, (professional associations, trade unions, social promotion associations, voluntary associations), with a cumulative membership of more than 6 million, the investigation analyses the lexical knowledge of environmental literature (climate change, ecological footprint, climate mitigation, etc.); the network structure (e.g. if there are roles or delegates to environmental policies); the actions and projects undertaken (energy efficiency, smart mobility, sustainable lifestyles and consumption, etc.). The research takes into consideration the projects carried out by the individual networks of the elderly to provide an overall evaluation of the networks in response to environmental challenges. The result is a cognitive-empirical picture of the role of Italian "Grey Networks" in responses to environmental problems and in fostering dialogue with other social networks on these issues. In the light of the data analysed, the research team takes the responsibility of suggesting strategies and projects that could be used by the networks at macro, meso and local levels.
Keywords: Social Capital, Third Age, Associations, Environmental Awareness, Civic Commitment.