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Issue 2014, 1-2: Feeding the planet. Energy for life

Feeding the planet that feeds us. This could seem a nonsensical invitation or yet another manifestation of human presumption. It refers instead to an imperative, where its deep meaning can only be understood once we consider its implicit circularity.

It raises the problem of dual reciprocity at global level, between people and people, and between people and nature. It therefore brings up the basic issue of economic production in relation to the needs of feeding the world population, and the other no less significant issue of environmental sustainability in respect of this same production. In other words, in order to understand the sense of this circularity, we need to conduct a deep-rooted examination of the reasons why we are producing.

Reflecting on existence can, in actual fact, open us up to new areas of meaning and political action, especially when we clearly grasp the distance separating basic survival from the satisfaction of purely hedonistic demands. Positioned within this broad and infinite range of conditions, life shows its full political meaning, which, in current times, increasingly assumes specific bio-political connotations.

Ecology, the green economy and macro-policies of multinationals (or action of Nation-States becoming more and more ineffective) regarding food can be understood as a new form of global bio-politics. It no longer refers to being moved from “making die and letting live” to “making live and letting die”, as Michel Foucault argued, but rather reaching “letting live and not letting die”, by following bio-political practices that rediscover new ethical and value-based directions. And one that considers not only the human bios as its field of action, but also the natural: more specifically the natural bios, which includes the human one.

Biotechnologies, policies on health, reproduction and genetic programming are applied as much to nature, as to the human being. A new idea and corresponding bio-political action therefore needs to be clarified, based on responsible institutions and cognisant individuals. Far from being driven purely by economic interests, these would know how to look at life, both at a local level and on a global dimension, and from a perspective that is both holistic and territorially specific.

In respect of globalisation, then, what is the ‘being’ (historic and current) and the ‘must be’ in terms of agriculture, food practices and health education? What are the ideas and actions inspired by the principles of cooperation, environmental sustainability and global justice? What are the forms of living and eating together, which change with the intensification of human relations? What are the difficulties for the (currently predominant) urban population? What are the changes that refer to cities, and ‘global cities’, their networks and the surrounding territories?

The theme for the 2015 Milan Expo “Feeding the planet: energy for life” suggests these and many other problems. And never before when compared to this global era, each aspect takes on a significance in relation to the whole. While the whole can be only understood when we consider the reticular nature of its many and specific aspects.

Editorial “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life”. Next year Milan will host Expo 2015, which, with its planetary theme, is bidding to be the first exposition of a glocal world.
Current Issue's Articles
Address to "Glocalism" by the Mayor of Milan. By G. Pisapia It is now little less than a year until the appointment with Expo 2015. It will be the global event that will put Milan at the centre of the international debate on the theme of the second Milanese Universal Exposition after the one held in 1906: “Feeding the Planet.
Collective food purchasing networks in Italy as a case study of responsible innovation. By J. Hankins, C. Grasseni Abstract : Based upon fieldwork in Italy and the USA, the authors present work-in-progress insights into solidarity economies, and in particular alternative food networks, as a form of active citizenship that could re-orient the current debate on responsible innovation.
Eco-logie in conflitto: il «Chipko» da protesta contadina a icona ambientalista. By F. Riva Abstract : The article explores different cultural perceptions of food in relation to the environment.
Feeding the planet: between food security and food safety. By E. Scarpellini Abstract : The issue of food is indeed a systemic problem involving fundamental aspects of the social, cultural and economic organisation of our planet.
Frischeregime: Biopolitik im Zeitalter der kryogenen Kultur. By A. Friedrich, S. Höhne Abstract : Feeding people means producing population. Biotechnology, encompassing food production as well as assisted reproductive technology (ART), currently emerges as a most important apparatus ( dispositif ) of governing populations.
Le campagne lombarde, tessera chiave del mosaico agrario europeo. By A. Saltini Abstract : A comprehensive historiography of the agricultural development in continental Europe, from the medieval period until the XX century, does not exist.
Methodological questions for the post-2015 development agenda. By N. von Jacobi, J. Bonan Abstract : In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals are due to end. Academics, practitioners and the general public are eager to see which development agenda will take their place and a variety of different organizations are currently elaborating proposals for the next “round” of goals and targets.
Nanotecnologie e alimenti tra etica e diritto: prospettive della regolazione nell'Unione europea. By L. Leone Abstract : The employment of emerging technologies within the agro-food sector implies considerations of legal, ethical, economic and social nature, which require specialists from different fields of study to confront and cooperate.
Nutrire il pianeta, alimentare la speranza. By F. Anelli Abstract: The long-lasting crisis has produced a new inequality: in the advanced societies, the numbers of people below the poverty threshold are on the increase and in the world one person in eight does not have enough food to have a healthy, active life; every year, deaths due to starvation are in the millions.
Problems of Water Supply and Sanitation in Kpakungu Area of Minna (Nigeria). By B. Adeleye, S. Medayese, O. Okelola Abstract : Access to clean water and adequate sanitation has been a challenging issue in Kpakungu.
Trends in european bioenergy law: problems, perspectives and risks. By A. Caputo Abstract : Research into new forms of energy is a current challenge. This paper aims to inquire into the real advantages of bioenergy and its sustainable development within the European legal framework, while also considering the negative aspects of bioenergy use.
Water, to feed the planet. By R. Prodi Nothing is more important, and at the same time, more elementary, than water: it is our life. Right from our earliest school days, we are taught that our body is composed almost entirely of water, and yet we use water without reflecting on how important it is.