What picture of Italy comes from the last edition of BES?
The analysis of well-being in Italy during the last decade, particularly through tough years of economic crisis, shows a picture of light and shade, of positive trends in the long-run less affected by the economy, such as health issues, education and social networks, and others deeply marked by this cycle, such as labor and the economic condition of families. The economic weight of the high-tech sectors in our country is still among the lowest in Europe and the share of GDP that we devote to research and development in this sector is decreasing, prompting concern about the future prospects of our economy. Overall, after the sharp decline that occurred in 2012, personal satisfaction with life was stable in 2013.
What aspects that have to do with food are taken into account by Bes?
The indicator used is the "standardized proportion of people aged three and over who declare to consume at least four daily servings of fruits and vegetables." The daily consumption of fruit and vegetables allows us to take in the basic elements of a diet, which have a protective effect, counteracting the process of premature aging of cells, often the origin of tumor processes. It is what it is stressed in the INRAN (now CRA-NUT) Guidelines for a healthy diet, which recommends the daily consumption of at least five servings of fruits, vegetables and fresh vegetables.
What weight do they have in the index as a whole?
Certainly the consumption of fruits and vegetables, along with other risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and excess weight are useful indicators for assessing the health of the population, but at the moment we do not have of an official version of a summarized index.
Does the beauty of our landscape heritage also come into it the computation of the wealth of our country?
The cultural heritage of our country, the result of an extraordinary stratification of civilizations, and of the richness and diversity of its environmental frameworks, is invaluable to the community.
It is a public good, however, that it is hard to recognize and protect as such. This difficulty reflects a form of impoverishment, which limits the right of citizens of today’s and future generations to history and beauty, a right guaranteed by the Italian Constitution that establishes among its "basic principles" the mission of the Italian Republic to protect "the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation."
For these reasons the framework of Bes includes a specific domain on the landscape and cultural heritage.
How is the agricultural landscape valued?
Within the domain of the landscape and cultural heritage, there are three specific indicators on the rural landscape.
The erosion of the countryside from urban sprawl provides a measure of the impact of the built-up areas in non-urban areas. The transformation of rural areas in large suburban areas, in addition to obvious aesthetic and functional effects on the rural environment, also involves the proliferation of a settlement model that is not sustainable, characterized by high consumption of soil and intensification of daily mobility.
The erosion of the countryside through abandonment is a measure of the dynamics of rural depopulation, especially active in mountain areas and normally associated with an increased hydrogeological risk, following the sale of the maintenance work related to agricultural practice. Finally, the indicator on the presence of historic rural landscapes allows a measure of the envelope in terms of cultural heritage, but also the economic potential of the landscape.
In particular, what environmental parameters have turned out to be particularly critical?
The environment and its possible alterations exert an impact that is immediate, as well as a medium- to long-term, on the existence of individuals.
Under the impetus of EU regulations, Italy has made much progress in the area of environmental protection. However the indicators used as benchmarks show that Italy still suffers obvious difficulties, due largely to the lack of harmonization of systems of local governance and a lack of continuity in the management of policies.
In the course of 2013 there were contradictory signs. There was improvements, even if slight, in air quality. Urban green areas in provincial capitals are available, even if only slightly, while the increasing extent of protected green areas is stable. The production of electricity from renewable sources continues to increase while the consumption of internal material resources and emission of greenhouse gases is down, also related to decreased production caused by the economic crisis and a slowdown in operations.
Besides that there were several critical points, notably in the difficult remediation of contaminated sites and the dispersion of drinking water from municipal distribution networks.