Since November 2012, a group of private citizens started an effort to bring into political debate at least a few scientific-related policy subjects, in the very same way USA’s Science Debate do since a few years for Presidential Elections.
DibattitoScienza.it Facebook Group alone, now counts 1400 members among science journalists, bloggers, researchers, teachers and plain citizens. I joined the group in December.
We discussed subjects, proposed many possible questions, voted them, then discussed again about the better way to write them down. By the beginning of January, we ended up with the top-10 questions, addressing several among the biggest problems Italy is facing right now. Public and Private Research, Energy Policy, Waste Management and Hydrogeologic Safety (do you remember L’Aquila and Mirandola recent quakes?) are among them.
This is the full list (translated from dibattitoscienza.it).
- Funding, meritocracy, transparency: what actions will you take to revamp University and Public Research?
- What actions will you take to revamp private innovation and investment in research?
- European directives 20-20-20 define European energy policy. What actions will you take to give Italy an energetic plan effective in boosting energy efficiency while minimizing environmental impact and energy costs?
- How do you plan to deal with urban waste production, management and disposal, in order to minimize environmental impact and preserve quality of life?
- What actions will you take to improve seismic and hydrogeological safety at national level? What actions will you take to revamp the construction sector, without compromising land safety and the fight against organized crime?
- What’s your position about the past Government’s Digital Agenda? What actions will you take to extend broadband nationwide?
- So called “Law 40” – addressing Medically-Assisted Procreation – was questioned several times in recent months, by several judgments, Strasbourg Court’s among them. Will you take any action to adjust this law to Italian’s and European’s jurisprudence? Also, what is your position about the Biological Testament?
- Science and technology are very important in modern society. What actions will you take, in schools and elsewhere, to boost science and technology literacy, and to combat rampant mathematics and science illiteracy?
- How do you think Government should deal with human-related climate change? What actions will you take to reduce and/or prevent greenhouse gas buildup?
- What’s your position about animal use in biomedical research? Do you think there is a need to restrict the use of some species for research purposes?
These subjects, although fundamental for Italy’s future, are largely neglected by mainstream media, more inclined to gossip about how political parties will likely part Parliament’s seats, or other even sillier nonsense. Dibattitoscienza.it is actually a good opportunity to shift at least some public attention on badly needed sound stuff.
By the middle of January dibattitoscienza.it sent the questions to the six biggest political parties running for next elections. The deadline for answers was the end of the month. Publication, on dibattitoscienza.it and Le Scienze magazine (Scientific American Italian Edition), is due for February 4th. Many other newspapers and bloggers are waiting to comment the answers.
We now have the reply from, in alphabetical order:
Antonio Ingroia’s Rivoluzione Civile (FaceBook);
Oscar Giannino’s Fare per Fermare il Declino (FaceBook);
and Pier Luigi Bersani’s Partito Democratico (FaceBook).
Astonishingly, three among the biggest parties did not answered.
Beppe Grillo’s Movimento 5 Stelle (FaceBook);
Mario Monti’s Scelta Civica (FaceBook);
and Silvio Berlusconi’s Popolo Delle Libertà (FaceBook),
do not think Italian’s Citizens deserve to know what they plan to do on those subjects (or even if they have some plan at all, for that matter).
You may think that two weeks was too short a deadline to answer, but remember that we are now at less then a month from elections. Political forces are supposed to already have detailed programs about what they want to do in case they are elected. At worst, they could have done just a copy-paste with their own Political Agenda, with minor editing.
Someone told us they were just too busy with electoral campaign.
Busier then Obama and Romney, who found time to answer Science Debate? Busy doing what, by the way? Isn’t Electoral Campaign supposed to be about informing Italian Citizens on what they intend to do, if elected?
A few offered us some personal viewpoint.
Were they kidding? Do they think Italian’s Electors are going to appoint those who are in charge of administering billions on taxpayers’ money, on the basis of some Mr. Nobody’s Personal Viewpoint?
Others, at last, promised, but did not answered.
Well, they are politicians, after all.