Social Sands
 Posted on 30/05/2014 - 22:51
Idea Outline
The battle to save Europe’s last coastal dune habitats has been left in the pre-internet age. Social Sands will bring the battle online, using social media, crowdpower and smart online marketing.

The Challenge
Hundreds of kilometres of designated Mediterranean sand dunes and natural habitats on the coast of Italy between Tuscany and Naples are losing the battle to encroaching summer resorts, car parks, traffic, noise and human erosion of the dunes and their flora. The environmental agencies and volunteers, with their limited means, pencils and notepads, are no match for the throngs of property developers, resort managers and beach goers. But natural healthy dunes and happy sunbathers and business people are not incompatible. There is plenty of space for dunes and people. They just need to get to know each other, see the benefits of coexistence and take some low cost but high impact measures to make it come about.

The Solution

Social Sands brings the battle to save the dunes online. Dunes will enter our cyberspace: If you use the beaches and you like online social apps and interaction then Social Sands is going to find you and help you learn to know, love and defend them. The app will monitor a loyalty programme between beach goers and resort managers. Resorts that defend the dunes get the business. Internet users will know when they enter the dunes and how to recognise if they are cared for. They can geo-navigate the habitat, view the defence and restoration projects and tag and comment points of interest. Dune recovery projects initiated by businesses and users will be tracked, rated and rewarded online. Annual online campaigns will award resorts with physical plaques and local recognition.

Target group and social impact
Social Sands targets beach goers, businesses, builders, policy makers, educators and public authorities. All of them will have a role in the Social Sands app and process. As well as the app and website, the project will use plenty of plain and simple Google, Facebook and other online marketing to get people involved. There is background awareness of the dunes in the minds of this target group and a pent up desire to know more and to know how to help. Social Sands will provide the solution. It's not rocket science, but it's never been done for dunes. The entire process will be done in Italian and English and the approach can be transferred to hundreds more similar areas in Europe. It will be example to follow for any environmental protection group entering the internet age.

Competences of the applicant
Maria Gabriella runs the Rome coastal section of the World Wildlife Fund and has been defending the dunes for many years. She will use the expert (and ethical!) web services and marketing team of ETC Ware, the influence of WWF Italy, plus her huge network of supporters to get it off the ground. See

Video Link
See video

Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Environment and Sustainability

  • Tecnology Category
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea

    Questo progetto è molto importante per salvare le nostre Dune

    Ottima idea per difendere un bene comune.....bravi!

    se tutto ciò può essere sufficiente a salvare le dune ancora esistenti, ben venga!

    bella idea

    Ottima e utilissima idea....

    Bravi, ci piace

    Idea geniale e attuale.

    Project of great importance

    I live in Orte but work at Ostia, near the sands of Rome ...... as Roma is a city on the river and on the sea!!

    da “cantina tipica” di Orte …… vino da campi il più possibile incontaminati, che non facciano arrivare inquinanti nel fiume e ai mari

    I'm the secretary of the Association

    I live in Orte, too, but I was born in Carsoli, on river Turano, which lasts in Nera

    I'm the President of an Association in Orte .... we are six to vote today, from the city where Nera comes into Tevere, bringing water from Appennini .... we have sands also in the rivers, but we love sea, where Tevere ends its way .... we want to save sands!!

    dopo duro lavoro ci sono anch'io

    Ci sono anche io a salvare la natura


    Ottima idea tutelare un bene prezioso

    This is a useful initiative and absolutely necessary for the conservation of a valuable ecosystem even in the face of the effects of climate change in place

    a modern and efficient approach, GO AHEAD!
    B. Piotto

    Well done James! This is Brilliant

    Ritengo Gabriella Villani seria, competente ed affidabile!!!
    Piero Lorenzon

    sono Marisa Raffaeli,
    conosco le iniziative di Gabriella Villani ,serie ed altamente affidabili

    Non me ne intendo molto ... ma conosco l'ideatore: è una cosa seria di certo!!

    Sands to protect in my Region, Emilia Romagna ... let's aid this project!!

    I'm in WWF, too .... I like it!!!

    I agree from Umbria .... (we don't have the sea ... but environment is a whole!!)

    In my Region of Italy (Marche) we have sands to protect ... good project for all Italy, if possible!!

    We are concerned about River Tiber, from Tuscany, with Association "Amici del Tevere"), but the problem is the same ...... the water, the air, the sands, all our environment ...... I like this project!!

    Un progetto accessibile a tutti di sicura efficacia, contro la speculazione ed il silenzio/assenso! WELL DONE!

    Great idea! Let's get it off the ground! Paolo

    Che meraviglia trovare ancora lembi di spiagge naturali! Non permettiamo a nessuno di distruggerli! Grazie Gabriella per l'impegno che ci metti, siamo con te.

    I think that the project Social Sands has an innovative approach to the future. I am confident that it will be realized the precious environment of the coastal dunes will have many more supporters than today and have a much better chance of surviving!

    Trovo Social Sands un progetto che ci fa capire che possiamo essere noi coabitanti della Natura difendendola in prima persona, tutti parti di essa facendola crescere…insieme a noi.
    Ottimo progetto che cammina con una “impronta ecologica” per ridurre l’impatto umano sulle Dune della Riserva del Litorale Romano.
    Sicuramente un progetto da votare.

    Encuentro Social Sands un proyecto que nos hace entender cómo podemos nosotros cohabitar con la Naturaleza defendiéndola en primera persona, todos partes de ella haciéndola crecer… junto a nosotros. Óptimo proyecto que camina con una “Huella Ecológica” que tiende a reducir el impacto humano en las Dunas de la ‘Riserva del Litorale Romano’.

    Un approccio innovativo al problema di progressivo degrado che stanno subendo tutti gli ecosistemi dunali di Italia e d'Europa la dove è intenso l'afflusso di persone e dove non esistono risposte adeguate da parte di coloro che amministrano il bene pubblico.

    Idea Submitter

    Ciao tutti, questa proposta è una sorella per RiverWatch/Tevere ( ). Votate entrambi per acque e spiagge bellissime! Grazie, Jim

    Hey all, this is a sister proposal for RiverWatch/Tevere ( ). Vote for both and we'll have the nicest beaches in the world. Thanks, Jim

    It was high time somebody did something for whatever is left of the beautiful natural heritage of the Italian west coast - and wherever else needs to be done.
    I regularly go to Capocotta in the summer and it is heartbreaking to see the habitat disappearing year after year.