Venice Climate Camp - «System change, not climate change»

Climate Camp at Lido (Venice, Italy), 4th-8th of September

22 / 7 / 2019

The torrential hails we witnessed a few days ago are the last example of the effects of the continuous devastation of our planet, made possible through practices that put profit before the health and security of people. For a long time, such devastation has been denounced by many environmental movements for which public and media attention has been on the rise in the last year. On the international level, we must name Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement. In a few months, they have been able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of students from all around Europe. On the national level, the demonstration that took place in Rome on the 23rd of March was impressive for its ability to reunite committees, groups and associations from all over Italy; a multitude of 150.000 people that joined forces to combat for climate justice and against the big infrastructure system. To fight for the climate does not mean solely denouncing those practices that have an impact on the planet in terms of pollution, but also to sustain those territorial struggles that for years have been battling against the devastation of our territories: from the struggle against big ships to the struggle against the TAV, against the TAP, Pfas contamination and the construction of Pedemontana in Valdastico, to name just a few.

Within this context, big news was the announcement of the first Climate Camp in Italy. It will take place in Venice, from the 4th to the 8th of September, and is launched by the No Big Ships Committee and Fridays for Future Venice/Mestre. The location speaks for itself: Venice is a city built on water, a balance between human and nature so delicate that the slightest change could have – and has already had – disastrous effects on the lagoon ecosystem. As it is often the case, the political response to citizens’ requests for safety and sustainability is to play for time, so much so that non-action itself becomes potentially devastating: big ships are still allowed to pass through the Giudecca Channel in spite of the incidents that took place last month, whilst the construction of the MOSE have diverted billions of public resources towards the devastation of the lagoon and the private funds of corrupted politicians. Venice surely is the perfect synthesis of the causes and consequences of the climate crisis. However, its Climate Camp will not stop to the lagoon, but seeks to reach a wide, inclusive and European dimension.

The purposes of the Climate Camp are many: analysis and discussion of themes connected to climate change, the enforcing of nets of Italian and European activists, in-depth analysis of individual and collective practices that would allow to reduce our impact on the environment, and lastly, the denounce, through direct action, of processes and infrastructures that are devastating our territories. Discussions and analysis will take place through debates and assemblies that will pivot around three main themes: big infrastructures and extractive capitalism, climate mass migrations and climate refugees, and ecofeminism.

The primary importance of the climate issue is visible not only if you consider how much it connects to other central themes, but also because it was capable to mobilize the biggest numbers in this past year. To participate to the Climate Camp does not only mean we are going to discuss how to save our planet, but also how to change the whole of society.

Interestingly, the choice to set the camp in September makes it coincide with the 72nd Venice International Movie Festival, an occasion to give relevance to the climate crisis at a time in which all cameras focus on Venice. To make good use of such visibility, activists have launched a climate march on the 7th of September, the same day of the award ceremony. Why leaving the red carpet to those who have already walked on it so many times? Indeed, “we want the red carpet” represents the official slogan of the climate march, to signify the importance to leave the spotlight to the real protagonist of our lives, climate change. We only have 11 years available in order to change the ending to a happy one.

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