Global Perspectives - Italy: Venice

The cruise traffic in Venice has grown exponentially over years, in addition to the size of the ships used. Entering the lagoon, the ships pass twice through the San Marco Basin and the Giudecca Canal, in the historical center of Venice. The ships are over 300  meters in length, 50 in width, 60 in height (2x the size of the Titanic). They carry thousands of tons – and the tendency is to produce even larger ships because they are economically more profitable -, and are obviously out of scale in comparison to the city. This is not only a problem for the beauty of the city, but also has a massive negative impact on the environment. 

The “No Grandi Navi” Committee has been fighting for many years for the ban of cruise ships entering the center of Venice. Their headquarters is open to the public and has important documentation about the environmental problems of Venice and possible solutions to overcome this reality.. This tour will introduce you to the amazing Venice Lagoon, where you can see its fragile ecosystem and its structural problems. We will see the MOSE System designed to defend Venice from the high waters (mobile barriers, gates raised if necessary to prevent frequent floods). 

Starting from Campo Santa Margherita in the University district, we’ll visit some of the main highlights of the city center of Venice, passing by the Canal Grande, Contarini del Bovolo Palace, Rialto Bridge, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi lookout point, and finally the fish market of Rialto. During the walking tour we’ll learn about environmental problems of Venice and how they affect Venetians’ daily life and see the locations of some actions of the environmental activists of Extinction Rebellion. 

The canals are clear thanks to the Covid-19, but Venice’s existential threat is climate change. Cormorants dive into the canals to catch fish because the water in the lagoon has become transparent again. If the world can’t radically reduce its carbon footprint, climate models show that sea-level rise is most likely to flood Venice by 2100. Venice is a great case study for environmental science researchers, not only for the effects of climate change, but for the unique location of Venice in the middle of the lagoon, close to the estuary of the Po river and the Plain of the Po. The fishermen of the market of Rialto have experienced a change in the kind of fish, as well as the size of the fish, that can be found in the lagoon in the last 30 years. They also have interesting insights on how the lockdown impacted tourism and the local economy.

  • Climate Change (Sea level rising, effects on marine life) 
  • Human Impact on the Environment 
  • Sustainable Tourism 
  • Activism
  • Talk with a Representative of Comitato No Grandi Navi
  • San Marco Square
  • Venice Lagoon and the MOSE System – Experimental Electromechanical Module
  • Walking Tour of Venice
  • Interview with PhD Researchers of environmental science
  • Interview with local fisherman (Impact of COVID 19 and Climate Change on the fishing industry)

Venice and Mestre 

Riva degli Schiavoni, Accademia Bridge, Monument to Vittorio Emanuele, Campo Santa Margherita, Piazza San Marco, Calle de Mezzo, Pescheria Fish Market.

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