He lives the present with consciousness and projects himself into the future with positivity. Let’s get to know Guido Rianna, the once aspiring footballer of the REMHI division.
Interview by Alessandra Mazzai
What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I coordinate the Impacts Research Unit within the Regional Models and geo-Hydrological Impacts (REMHI) Division. My activity, like that of many colleagues within the Unit, is climate adaptation engineering: we update tools and approaches of traditional engineering, especially civil engineering (hydraulics, constructions, infrastructures, geotechnics), to face the challenges linked to climate change adaptation.
What brought you to the CMCC?
My thesis and PhD focused on the study of the interaction between soil, vegetation and atmosphere, which are topics of great interest in a climate change context. I got my first contract with the CMCC in 2007 and five years later, after my PhD, I joined the ISC Division (which is now called REMHI).
Is your current job the one you used to dream of as a child?
No…every child who grew up in the 80s in Naples dreamt of becoming a footballer! However, in my adolescence I began aspiring to work in a socially useful and impactful realm, particulary with regards to environmental issues. In that sense, I’m probably fulfilling that wish.
Tell us about a special moment during your time at the CMCC
I am always projected into the future: with every success, big or small, I always believe that the best is yet to come. In any case, a special moment that repeats itself every year is the week-long EGU – European Geosciences Union – annual meeting in Vienna. I missed it a lot this year. It offers the opportunity to meet many friends and colleagues, exchange opinions and suggestions, and follow and explore many topics of interest. I always come back with plenty of ideas to develop, as well as books and gadgets of senseless beauty.
What do you keep at your workstation?
My workstation is chaotic: beside my laptop and my daughter’s “artworks”, there are some papers waiting to be finished or read, and material concerning projects and proposals I am working on.
How has COVID-19 changed your work day?
I have been working from home since the lockdown began. At the beginning it was hard: private life and working life were not clearly divided, and this situation was difficult for me. Everything improved when I established separate times and spaces for one and the other whilst still remaining at home. The real benefit of working from home is that I avoid wasting time commuting (almost two hours a day) and have more time for both family and work.
Movies or literature? Tell us about your preferences.
Hard choice! I love David Foster Wallace and Paolo Sorrentino and their ability to give shape and content to feelings, situations, and moods through their stories and characters. What’s better than the tail of David Foster Wallace in “This is water” for understanding and facing everyday life and routine? “There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fishes swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?””
What do you do in your spare time?
It is (it was) never difficult to “fill” my free time: I love reading (fiction and graphic novels), playing board games with old friends or going to the cinema and theatre with my wife. But now, to tell the truth, I spend most of my free time drinking imaginary coffee from plastic cups or dressing and undressing my daughter’s dolls!