Illustration for article titled Venetian Fish Are Doing Better Than All of Us Right Now
Image: Getty

Now, I don’t want to Jameela Jamil this news and inadvertently, or advertently, assert that covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus strain, is somehow the work an angry mother nature who, displeased with how the little humans who inhabit her planet have been treating her lately, has decided to seek revenge in the form of a pandemic. That is irresponsible and places the onus of solving this problem on a non-existent mythic being, as opposed to in the hands of all of us who have a responsibility in mitigating the outbreak.

However, it is fair to say that nature, not its mother, is doing quite well in Venice under the current circumstances.

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According to The Guardian, the canals for which the Italian city is famous for have sprung back to life, or so to speak, now that the city is quarantined and tourists have all but disappeared for the time being. In my mind, it’s kind of like Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin, getting ready for the greening of Gotham, but that takes us back to that dangerous mother nature place, inaccurate and also over-exaggerated.

According to Davide Tagliapetr, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Science, the cleanliness of the water, the schools of fishes swimming around freely, and the return of fishing birds to the city aren’t exactly a sign of nature rising again, as much as they are a testament to the ecosystem has always been is present but typically hiding from disturbances due to tourism.

There’s no doubt that tourists returning to the city will be an integral component of its economic recovery, but, for some Venetians, they are taking this time to reflect on how there might be a more symbiotic relationship between tourism and Venice’s natural ecosystem in the future. Gloria Beggiato, a hotelier in Venice, had this to say.

“If you ask me today – sunny blue skies, clear canals – then, yes, we would all like Venice to stay like this for a while. But we need, and look forward to, the return of tourists, though maybe not the 20 million a year that we have had to cope with. I honestly believe we should take the opportunity of this lockdown to reflect and see how we can be more organised in the future to find a balance between the city and tourism.”

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While there’s a strange confort it giving up our fate to a Poison Ivy-esque figure and saying the future is out of our hands it’s more powerful, as Beggiato says, to be thoughtful about the ways we can be better moving forward, very much in control of our own circumstances.

Weekends at Jezebel, freelance writer living in San Francisco. Please clap.

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