Italy Today

A new Ngo to save Venice

How We Are Here Venice is raising public awareness of Venice's fragile condition

A new Ngo to save Venice

Claudia Astarita

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Born in South Africa and educated in London, environmental scientist Contessa Jane Da Mosto moved to Venice in 1995. Since then, she engaged a battle to protect the beautiful city from the many dangers surrounding it.

She co-founded and became the driving force behind local action group We Are Here Venice: "I firmly believe that if you save Venice as a living city, it will be better able to preserve itself," she says. The Ngo she co-chairs uses academic research and methodologies to identify the challenges for Venice, while also drawing upon grassroots networks to source accurate information on the city and lagoon. Jane Da Mosto has disseminated the findings and results, in order to raise public awareness of Venice's fragile condition.

The biggest problem now seems to be the cruise ships which tear up the lagoon. It seems that the work done by We Are Here Venice has been successful. Last November, some supermodels wearing dresses made by British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood walked on an unusual catwalk: platforms in Venetian lagoons. A cruise ship lurched in the background and photographer Juergen Teller captured everything for the designer's Spring/Summer 2016 collection.

Mixing the historical background of Venice with the ultra-contemporary view of a cruiseship was done with a specific purpose: contributing to We Are Here Venice's effort to popularize tha ancient city's problems with an international audience. "The problem there is one of repair, mass tourism on cruise ships and of climate change," says Vivienne Westwood. "If we can't save Venice, how do we save the world?". Thepowerful images of the fashion show have been published by magazines from all over the world, offering food for thought to their many readers and drawing their attention to Venice's future.

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