Venice has always been in a precarious situation, balanced delicately in an unstable environment. In the past 1200 years, Venice’s great church of San Marco has been flooded six times. Of those floods, 4 took place in the past 20 years. Venice is sinking.
The Venetians always recognized that human choices would alter their relationship with the natural world. Ancient Venice knew that its future would be determined by their relationship with nature, and took steps to protect their city. Modern citizens have turned to massive civic projects to hold back the tide of history, taking examples from similar projects in Holland. The system, called Project Moses, is a linked system of 78 gates and was proposed in 1980. Unfortunately, even a fully operational Project Moses would at best buy only time. Walls are not sufficient to hold back the ever-rising waters and inclement weather brought on by global warming.
In order to save Venice, action is needed on a global scale. The threat of the loss of the ancient city may stir political action, prompting a sort of shift in our stance toward climate change. But this seems unlikely since even the regional council of Venice rejected countermeasures for climate change. Ironically, as they voted to do so, their council chamber began to flood. If Venice, and more importantly, the lives within, is to be saved, action is needed. Someone just needs to be brave enough to take it.
By Elliot Weix