Italian council chamber floods—just after council rejected climate change measures
Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.
The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.
Severe flooding in Venice, Italy
WATCH: Shocking video shows people wading through more than 4 feet of water in Venice, Italy, during floods that left the city's historic basilica and...
Meanwhile, the Veneto regional council met in its chambers in the Grand Canal this week to discuss and vote on the region's budget. Democratic Party councilor Andrea Zanoni shared photos on Facebook of the chamber underwater shortly after the council met and rejected proposed budget amendments, which included actions to address climate change.
According to the post, the rejected amendments included the funding of renewable sources, the replacement of diesel buses with "more efficient and less polluting ones," and a reduction in the impact of plastics. "Ironically, the chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority League, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected our amendments to tackle climate change," Zanoni, who is deputy chairman of the environment committee, wrote. He said the amendments were added because the budget as proposed "does not contain any concrete action to counteract climate change."
Naturally, opposing parties rejected Zanoni's characterization of the budget rejections. Council president Roberto Ciambetti, a member of Italy's right-wing Liga party, also shared images and video of the chamber flooding on Facebook. He said in a statement to CNN, "Beyond propaganda and deceptive reading, we are voting (for) a regional budget that spent €965 million over the past three years in the fight against air pollution, smog, which is a determining factor in climate change."
Partisan perspectives aside, the flooding of the council chamber—something that has never occurred before—is being seen by many as a symbol of the consequence of political inaction on climate change. As the powers that be continue to debate, the effects of global warming continue to impact our world in more and more obvious ways.
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg told world leaders, when it comes to climate change, "I want you to act as if your house is on fire, because it is." Perhaps we also need to act as if our house is underwater, because from Venice's current devastation, to Indonesia's sinking capital, to historic flooding in the U.S. Midwest, it quite literally is.