eco-vandalism at Trevi fountain in Rome

Vatican condemns eco-vandalism

Environment News

The Vatican has condemned so-called eco-vandalism, the act of targeting cultural heritage, in a document on tourism.

Civil-disobedience groups such as Italy’s Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) have started to target artworks and monuments in protests aimed at highlighting the need to tackle the climate crisis.

A hearing took place in the Vatican on Wednesday in the trial of three UG members. Last summer, two of them glued themselves to the pedestal supporting the Laocoon statue in the Vatican Museums.

Author of the document, Rino Fisichella the Pro-prefect for New Evangelisation, said: “It is useful to reiterate that the protection of artworks that have been humanity’s heritage for centuries and have become attractions for tourists from all over the work is the responsibility of everyone.”

 “So every form of violence that attacks their conservation must be condemned with conviction”.

Last resort by protest groups

UG and its sister groups across the world say they do not like staging disruptive and controversial protests, known as eco-vandalism. However, they see no alternative as decades of efforts to get leaders to stop the greenhouse-gas emissions have proved fruitless.

UG’s protests targeting monuments have featured the use of easy-to-wash-off paint and glue. Their ‘attacks’ on artworks have tended to regard the protective screens, rather than the works themselves.

On 21st May, protestors poured black liquid made from diluted vegetable charcoal into the Trevi Fountain. It did not cause permanent damage, Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri said.

“Fortunately, the initial assessment is that there should be no permanent damage because the black paint settled on the waterproofing, not on the marble,” said Gualtieri.

On Wednesday, UG members staged mud-covered protest outside the Senate. The mud was used as a link to last week’s deadly floods in Emilia-Romagna, which several experts have said is connected to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme-weather events because of the climate crisis caused by human greenhouse-gas emissions.

“The Emilia-Romagna flood was a pre-announced disaster,” said one of the protestors, a young woman who was topless.
“We bring the mud of politics to the palace of politics.
“You are killing me!”

Pope calls for end to “senseless war against creation”

Pope Francis has repeatedly told the international community to address the climate crisis. In a message on Thursday, announcing the theme of this year’s ecumenical Season of Creation, he called for an end to the “senseless war against creation”.

The theme is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”, inspired by the words of the prophet Amos. “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (5:24).

Last year United Nations Secretary General António Guterres defended climate protestors and thei eco-vandalism.

“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals,” he said via Twitter. “But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.

“Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness”.

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