Venice has battled rising water levels since the fifth century. But now, the water seems to be winning. The Italian government declared a state of emergency today after Tuesday’s historically high tide — an event that the mayor is calling the “apocalyptic” result of climate change.
I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had a couple of years ago with the Italian archaeologist Dr. Salvatore Settis. We talked about what it’s like to live in Venice, the challenges of rampant tourism, and the efforts to address flooding in this gloriously canaled city. If you missed it the first time around on my radio show and podcast, you can listen to that conversation now right here. Just skip to minute 13:00 for the Venice segment — and then share your thoughts below or on Facebook.
(As a traveler, I see the reality of our changing climate everywhere. And as a business owner who promotes and profits from carbon-emitting travel, I understand that I play a big role in that — which is why my tour company has pledged to donate $1 million a year to nonprofits that fight climate change. This money comes straight out of our profits as a self-imposed carbon tax — and until we have a government that sees the wisdom of fighting climate change, we’ll keep paying it. )