The fifth part of this Critical Made in Italy Series, designed and initiated by the Inserra Chair in 2016, looks at environment and nutrition.
The food sector is one of the most energy intensive sectors in the modern economy, and thus a significant contributor to the potential for global warming, accounting for about 20% of the total consumption of fossil fuels in the European Union. In addition, it causes 20-30% of the environmental impact of private consumption, and >50% of the impact from eutrophication (over-enrichment of water with mineral and nutrients that lead to aggressive growth of algae that in turn prevent oxygen from getting into the water). Thus, sustainable actions in the food sector are of paramount importance for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.
Sensitive food production as well as consumption practices are crucial for assuring the biodiversity and sustainability of the agro-food sector, and the environment at large. Activated at the local level, these productions and practices can borrow from or in turn be applied to national and international contexts. In some cases, they represent niche productions linked to local socio-cultural traditions and must be valued in order to become tourist attractions and an important economic resource. Through a comparative take, the connection between Italy and the U.S. in this area will be the focus of this program.