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Newsletter 2019
This summer’s newsletter comes in the wake of the MSC Opera cruise ship crash on 2 June, an event which made headlines around the world. Its aftermath brings into sharp focus the excesses of the tourism industry, governance issues surrounding Venice and the environmental impact of large cruise ships.

We are here Venice is frequently contacted by many news organisations for comment and we have communicated the reality of climate changeair pollutionpolitical leadership (or lack thereof) and the fragile lagoon ecosystem. The main interviews in national and international media are assembled here.

Adding insult to injury, the Costa Deliziosa cruise ship set sail yesterday afternoon despite dangerous looming storm conditions, and came within 5 metres of the Venice bank. Responses from the institutions and authorities have so far raised more questions – particularly around accountability.

We hope these incidents will be a wake up call – they are emblematic not only of the untenable situation of cruise ships in Venice, but of the challenges that face us all globally. Politicians and policy makers must face the fact that radical change is necessary and urgent.

Now, more than ever, rigorous investigations and objective analysis are necessary. We hope that you will read through to the end of this newsletter and act upon the section that describes how to support our work.



Throughout the past year We are here Venice has focused on concrete, specific actions which contribute to meaningful change and are built on a foundation of rigorous research. This approach has informed everything from our partnerships with organisations ranging from the Barena Bianca artist collective to BNP Paribas, to the 10th iteration of our awareness-raising poster campaign.

We have just published How Was It For You?, a new report looking at the relationship between the city and the Biennale. It takes in both art and architecture, and looks at the effect the Biennale has on Venice and Venetians – from the use of buildings and spaces, to the economy and the environment. Early outreach to press and key opinion formers indicates that the report is a welcome addition to the conversation around the Biennale’s sustainability on an environmental, economic and social level.

We have three new Advisory Board members: Francesco Loredan (finance expert), Fabio Moretti (legal expert) and Laura Onofri, an economist at Padua University with extensive international experience. Together with Laura and other experts,we are exploring the potential of the lagoon saltmarsh as a carbon sink. According to the Ramsar Convention estimates, coastal wetlands absorb 40 times more atmospheric carbon than forests. This research presents an exciting vision – one that proposes a greatly increased area of saltmarsh, simultaneously protecting the historic city and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our preliminary findings will be presented at the World Monuments Fund Sea Change Conference in September.

Upon joining the ASViS network we have recently undertaken a review of all of We are here Venice’s activities, mapping them according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – this ensures that all of our work builds towards measurable outcomes, and allows us to place Venice in a truly global context.  We have focused on the following goals as being particularly relevant:

  • Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
  • Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy
  • Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems… and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

This month Han So Young represented WahV at the First Sustainable Development Jeju International Conference in Korea. She presented a range of successful projects, obstacles to progress and ongoing work across our five action areas: water levels, Venetian governance, giant cruise ships, outreach, and finding a language of value.

This newsletter presents a snapshot of our progress over the year, and conscious of your busy inboxes we have tried to be as brief as possible. To find our more about all of WahV’s projects and get a better picture of our day-to-day activity please follow us on both Instagram and Facebook where we post regular updates.

We rely on donations to fund our work to safeguard Venice and advocate evidence-based approaches to policy making and are always keen to explore new ideas for fundraising. Recently we were very happy to gain the support of artist James Willis, who is donating profits from the sale of prints of his incredible watercolour Approaching Storm, Venice (above) to We are here Venice.

These are available through James’s website — A1 size (£200) and A2 size (£140), plus postage & packing, expressly produced by a local printer. We are extremely grateful for his generosity.

Stickers are also available, as ever, as well as the beautiful Laguna Cushion designed by Tanja Balasso and produced by Chiarastella Cattana.

Members help cover our basic operating costs and bring extra insight into our work.


For sponsorship opportunities to fund under-explored areas of academic research and specific project areas contact

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