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Scientists propose ten tips for post-pandemic Italy


Economic boosts should protect environments and improve sustainability through science, they say

A group of 400 Italian scientists and academics have urged political leaders to focus on ten main challenges in order to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis with a more sustainable economy.

An open letter, addressed to the president of the republic Sergio Mattarella and prime minister Giuseppe Conte, invites policymakers to promote green and blue economies—where wealth is generated from the sustainable use of environmental resources. The document, whose first signature is marine biologist Roberto Danovaro, lists ten priority areas and ten ideas on how to support them.

“We are now in the condition for launching new processes for the conversion of the economy, both on land and at sea,” said Danovaro, the president of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples. “We need to aim more and more at a responsible and sustainable management of the natural capital, an asset that belongs to everyone and is strictly associated to our unique cultural capital.”

The signatories of the document identified Italy’s strength in the following ten sectors: agrifood and organic products, green cities, renewable energy, climate change, sustainable tourism, fight against pollution, biodiversity and environmental restoration, blue economy, research and education, and sustainable wellbeing.

The proposals sketched out in the document include an effort to encourage the transition from industrial animal husbandry to high-quality advanced zootechnics, where domestic animals are reared in more natural ways but meat and milk yields are maintained through better management. This would also help repopulate rural regions of Italy that are being more and more abandoned by young people, and prevent future epidemics and pandemics, the signatories said.

Another priority is the reorganisation of services for tourism—again with the goal of encouraging sustainability. This would imply modifying long-standing social norms that concentrate the holidays, both for schoolchildren and the adult workforce around the summer months, the document stated, in order to spread vacations evenly and prevent overcrowding at tourism hotspots.