By Emma Keddington
Italy is hot. Anyone walking through its cities and towns see people walk along with fans in hand, sweating through light, linen clothes, wiping their face and vocalizing how much the rising temperatures are affecting their daily life.
Climate change is an issue that many people believe is plaguing the world, and Italy, along with most of the world, attribute these rising temperatures to climate change.
Recycling bins, separating out glass, plastic, paper and trash, can be found in almost every Italian establishment, attempting a united effort to combat climate change effects.
However, many believe that the Italian government is not doing enough to combat climate change, specifically in places like Rome and Venice, where rising temperatures and water levels are threatening both cities’ livelihood.
Jenny Cappelloni, a native of Venice and local design student, said that she doesn’t believe the government is doing enough to stop the effects of climate change in Italy.
“Italy is doing nothing, and there are a lot of consequences to daily life from that,” she said.
Venice, Cappelloni’s hometown, is reportedly at high risk of flooding as a result of climate change, which not only threatens tourism but the very livelihood of its residents.
Some Venetian individuals do not believe that their city is being affected in the way that is being told. Fabio Pilla, a gondolier from Venice, said that he doesn’t believe that it is as bad as it seems.
“The water doesn’t rise, not like they say. Not dangerous,” he said to his Gondola patrons.
It does appear that Italy is putting forth a verified effort, even in conservative areas such as the Holy See government.
For example, Andrea (looking up his last name when I get better internet), a secular priest and diplomat for the Holy See, discussed the Vatican’s efforts to combat climate change, coming from the Pope’s recent direction to preserve the world from the effects of climate change.
“The phenomenon of climate change has become an emergency that no longer remains at the margins of society. Instead, it has assumed a central place, reshaping not only industrial and agricultural systems but also adversely affecting the global human family, especially the poor and those living on the economic peripheries of our world,” Pope Francis said.
Many Italians believe that climate change is an issue that should be addressed. According to a poll done by EUIB.org, 81% of Italians favor stricter climate change policies, with much of the younger generation taking action.
“People that are working on climate change are our generation,” Cappelloni said. “The older generation doesn’t care as much about climate change, and it makes me sad.”
Irene Trebeschi, a young Italian woman, discussed how important it is for governments to take action against climate change.
“Climate change is affecting Italy like every country in the world, but we’ve recently seen strong effects of this tragedy,” she said, citing a dangerous drought in Northern Italy and raging fires in Sardinia.
“Our natural biodiversity is slowly dying and getting less and less rich every year, and our natural heritage, which is envied all over the world, is slowly but steadily dying.”
Trebeschi claims that the Italian response to climate change has been too recent and too slow, but it is because it is a problem that is tackled now only because governments see the consequences in the present day.
Trebeschi believes that efforts need to be increased on both the local and national level to address climate change.
“The most fundamental part of these decisions is at a local level, requiring local governments to analyze the situation locally,” Trebeschi said. “Nationally, I can see that in recent years, small steps have been taken such as waste management or norms regarding the quality of air and water, but the standards set has not been followed.”
The future of climate change in Italy is uncertain, yet according to Trebeschi, its position within the European Union offers slight hope for the present and future of the Italian government to be conscious of the problem.
“I want to be optimistic and say that a small step forward has been done thanks to [this], however, I cannot say that drastic measures have been taken and those are the ones needed the most,” Trebeschi said.
What should be done, Trebeschi said, is for more research to be funded to find solutions and sources for clean energy, along with Italy taking more national action as opposed to merely letting the European Union lead the way in climate action policy.
“The Italian natural heritage is so rich and demands to be protected,” she said, “to do so we need to tackle the climate crisis more efficiently.”
Categories: Europe News, Study Abroad Themes