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The Wildfires of Sicily! Climate, Migrants, and Population!

In July of 2023 in Sicily, wildfires have wreaked havoc, further exacerbating the island's struggle with a prolonged heatwave. Record-breaking temperatures of over 47.5C (117F) in Sicily pushed resorts and tourist hotspots to evacuate their guests to safety now Sicily is getting back on its feet and focused on Climate change protections!

According to estimates, 70% of Sicily is at risk of desertification, mostly the inland and southern areas. The Madonie and the attached Nebrodi mountain range, which spread along the north of the island are, together with the volcanic Mount Etna, the last green bulwarks which guarantee the water supply to the region. Italy has the third oldest population in the world. As of 2023, 25 percent of the Italian population were aged 65 years and older, only lower when compared to Monaco and Japan. Italy has the highest share of citizens aged 65 or over in the entire European Union.

"The current economic situation prevents people from having two or three children. In the old days, people were doing much better financially, "The shift in demographics that is clear to see walking around Sicily, is also playing out across the entire country. Aging populations cause an economic imbalance, with more older people claiming pensions and other state benefits, with not enough younger people to pay taxes to fund those benefits.In an attempt to tackle the situation, the Italian government has appointed a minister for families, the birthrate and equal opportunities.

However, according to Italy's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the situation is only set to get worse. "The imbalance can be measured by comparing the number of people over 65 and the younger population. Between now and 2050, we expect that this number will grow to 297 people over 65 per 100 young people under 15," said Sabrina Prati, Director General at ISTAT. The statistics institute expects the population over the age of 80 to increase by 35% from the year 2022 to exceed 6.5 million in 2040. Italy's total population has dropped below 59 million and the country is ageing at a much faster rate than its European neighbors.

In 2022, the southern European country registered just 393,000 babies, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the lowest since records began in 1861. Babies born in Italy to unregistered migrants and to some same-sex and heterosexual Italian couples who used surrogacy abroad are not automatically part of the official record, according to Italy’s national birth registrar. Persistently low fertility levels have long characterized Italy's demography since 2010. because of climate change affected economies family sizes have been steadily shrinking around the industrialized world for decades. And Italy is a prime example!.

Just a generation ago, four children was the norm. Today, the average family has fewer than two.

Farmers have been in crisis in Italy's agricultural heartland for over a decade. Exacerbated by both climate change and poor maintenance, year after year and 2023 being no exception floods continue to have devastating long term effects on a region famed as Italy's agricultural heartland. Over 5,000 farms have been submerged by the waters this year alone, destroying grain, corn and fruit production. Italy faces multiple threats from climate change. Across sectors – agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, tourism and more – the costs to the economy could be massive. Without urgent action to keep migrant workers, Italy stands to lose 8.7% of its GDP by 2050.

That rises to 15% by 2100. After impeding the ability of search and rescue organizations to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, Italian authorities have now passed a law restricting the rights of people who manage to reach its shores.Named after a terrible shipwreck in which more than 80 people died in March, the government’s Cutro decree became law last week. This is a huge blunder as Italy is about to find out the way Florida did what happens when you lose a migrant work force and don't have a young population willing to work for minimal pay to replace them!

Far from offering a rational, humane response to the rise in people crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, the new legislation doubles down on the government’s focus on deterrence and criminalization. As its agriculture sector faces collapse, Italy is weighing whether to legalize some undocumented migrants working in the sector to foster stability. But there is a change many migrant workers are opting to stay in their own countries and instead expel the leadership supported by the EU and other nations that keep their economies poor! Italy may get what it wants at the cost of its own agri industries.“Farmers are strangled by the current economic system based on large-scale distribution, and migrants are the victims of it.”The five million foreigners living in Italy pay 620,000 people’s pensions, a study published on Thursday said,the Leone Moressa Foundation’s annual report on the “economy of immigration” says that immigrants contributed 125 billion euros ($141.46 billion) to the economy last year, and that foreign workers gave more in taxes and welfare payments than the state spent on migrants.

“If the country wants to keep growing in the future, it cannot do without this new younger generation” of immigrants who else will take the jobs they do, lawmaker Khalid Chaouki said at the study’s presentation. What we can say with certainty is that the median age of foreigners is lower: one out of ten Italians is at least 75 years old, compared to one out of a hundred foreigners. Therefore, they have a lesser impact on pension costs and other welfare expenditures. It is safe to say that we have at present a relevant participation of foreigners to the workforce, who are effectively contributing to the pensions system.


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