Last week (4-8 September) I participated at the Venice climate camp, which, as it turns out, was one of the first of its kind.
It was a very inspiring initiative, with many people from all over camping and actively participating in debates and ‘action’ including a 7 hour occupation of the red carpet (with coverage from the bbc! Unfortunately I couldn't make it to that...). I actually only made it to the discussions, or better ' focus labs' but I am so glad I did. Not just for the atmosphere (peaceful and full of helpful and friendly human beings from all over the world and spanning most of the demographic range), but also for the quality of content!
If you understand Italian, I recommend you to check the globalproject, as every debate was summarised in great details there.. And for those who don’t : here is my version of it, with some brief summary and interpretation on what I deemed the most important points!
Day 1 – extractivism and the failure of the green economy
Many ideas were touched in this two hours discussion, which made it somewhat difficult to summarise in a few sentences.. The discussion started on the role of the word ‘Anthropocene’ and how this word, now widely used to describe this period, is really just a word that puts the responsibility on the ‘human species’ rather than on the economical system that we have created, and that maybe we should call it instead ‘capitalocene’. I found some interesting articles just putting capitalocene in a search bar, and if you are interested I recommend to do the same! The theory is that we should see the changes that we are witnessing as an ensamble which is mostly cause by the big global inequality.
Further in the discussion, the idea that the green economy is in reality just capitalism with a new mask (after capitalism has caught on to the fact that it cannot exist as it is anymore) and we should be very weary. Remember my post about greenwashing? Is basically what a lot of industries are doing! The ‘green’ petrol, and even the ‘green’ energy are taking away from the issue that we should consume less. Of course, kicking away capitalism and replace it with a more sustainable market not based on money looks like the only solution, but also sounds like a massive ‘utopia’.
One more attainable thing is however to re-embed ourselves within our territories, and start the positive changes at a local scale. Another good solution that came out is that of taking away public subsidies to the big ‘baddies’, like the big petrol industries (Eni, Shell, BP…). But of course, that’s where power lies and we all know what that means…
Day 2 - Ecotransfeminism
I have to say i got a bit lost in parts there, but some of the discussion focused on the idea of destroying the planet being a act of 'machism'.. I am not sure i fully understood and that i fully agree with this vision...
Day 3 – Climate migrations
Nnimmo Bassey e Marco Armiero presented this topic. Xenofobia is a big issue in populistic societies (like many today), but not only. There are hidden, small scale xenofobic behaviours within continents and within nations. If you think about it, people have always been on the move. For many reasons, to explore, to travel, to find new ventures, to study. Our extractivist ways, causing and coupled with climate change are bringing ‘forced’ migrations. And the issue is that while the Geneva convention recognises war victims as refugees it does not recognise climate victim as such, despite similar levels of destruction can be seen. Think about the loss of habitable areas, the increase in drylands making it impossible to grow food, the loss of fishing zones,… and companies push the idea of African areas being ‘underpopulated’ so they can ship pollution there.
There has always been the idea of ‘heaven across the walls’, but only those outside of the wall see this paradise. Those on the other side, tend not to look and not to understand. One of the ways of breaking the cycle is that of being welcoming and realising that fights can be fought together with the people arriving, and together we can only be stronger. We should see this borders bridging as a revolutionary action, and we should support it and form alliances. For alliances with ‘the other’ whether it comes from far away or from our neighbourhood is paramount.
Moreover, on the discussion we touched again on the idea that the word ‘sustainability’ is overused and now misused, and that we should maybe consider it as ‘Sustain – Ability’ the ability to sustain, putting more emphasis on personal responsibility and the duty that we have to maintain this ability.
Day 4- the big climate march!
Day 5 – Sustainable tourism
The discussion on sustainable tourism was guided by
Margalida Maria Ramis Sastre and Duccio Facchini
We discussed some big issues related to tourism, with an example from Mallorca in spain. Access to clean drinking water, rubbish and sewage management are all issues that touristic areas are subjected to, especially important in the areas where the tourists number overtop those of local inhabitants. Again, it would be limiting to fault tourism alone but we should be faulting the whole economic system. The documentary ’Tos Inclos’ was introduced. The issue of the points of entry was touched upon, especially the idea that these are getting bigger and they are also increasingly privatized, taking away much of the decisional power and placing in the hands of capitalism.
This opened the discussion to discorso Duccio, who wrote this intersting article in Altraeconomia and introduced numbers about flight traffic, such as the increase of fluxes of people all over. The amount of CO2 was mentioned (a very large number with many zeros just for an hour flight), but also the thing that surprised me most was that companies don’t pay taxes, not even on the fuel (Kerosene)! And even worse, they receive a lot of public subsidies to keep the rates ‘low cost’ .
And of course, this opened the discussion about the tourism right here in Venice...
I came out of these few days fully energised and ready to start working even harder to disentangle what the effects of climate change will be, and try to think of solutions and remedies that will help the city thrive in times of changes... so stay tuned!
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