During the lockdown period, from the windows of my home in Milan I could always see the foothills of the Alps clearly, even on gloomy days with little wind. In all the years I have lived there I had rarely stopped to admire this panorama. The quality of the air in our cities improved significantly when we were all shut up at home and on the streets there were only ambulances and delivery workers (mostly immigrants) on their bikes. I’m sure I was not the only one to ask myself: is it really necessary to go through this nightmare, confined to our homes with all non-essential activities strictly forbidden, in order to be able to breathe clean air in our cities? It is often thought that environmental protection is in conflict with economic growth. Growth is believed to lead to pollution, depletion of natural resources and damage to the environment, whereas policy focusing on the prevention of climate change, improvement of air and water quality and the safeguarding of local areas is considered to be costly in terms of slowing down the growth rate of the world economy and the economies of individual countries.