You know the climate change issue is broadening when an episode on a TV drama series about a murder investigation - "Big Little Lies" - takes time out for a small child's anxiety about the future of the earth. Yet, Venice, the Italian city that in 1867 Mark Twain likened to an Arkansas town in flood is ignoring all warnings.

Dire prediction

According to an Art Newspaper report, Venice is water-logged and has no plans for what to do about it despite a policy report from the World Heritage Committee titled "The Impact of Climate Change on World Heritage Sites." It's not like Venice didn't get the memo.

The report recommended that heritage sites come up with proposals to deal with climate change. Another warming came last year from the University of Kiel in Germany, warning that 82 percent of the heritage sites in the Mediterranean area are at risk for flooding and erosion.

Old news

And it isn't like such consequences weren't already experienced. Twain observed flooding and erosion in Venice 152 years ago on a visit to the fabled city as a travel journalist for the San Francisco newspaper Alta California. Twain reported that floodwaters were at the doorstep of houses.

And even when the overflowing rivers recede, he expected "dirty-high-water marks on the houses and the streets full of mud and rubbish."

Lost treasures

One of the buildings he saw decaying from the flooding was the great Cathedral of St. Marks. While it's built of high-valued marbles from the Orient, he said, "I could not go into ecstasies over the unloved Byzantine architecture." The way he saw the city looked good only in the dark "under the charitable moon." That's when the gloried architecture turned white again, and its battered sculptures were hidden in shadows. Only then did he see Venice's grandness that was hers 500 years before.

In shadow

And only then did the magic of Venice take over for Twain as "the princeliest among the nations of the earth...a haughty, invincible, magnificent republic for nearly 1400 years...Under the mellowed moon the Venice of poetry and romance stood revealed ...half in moonbeams and a half in mysterious shadow." But Twain kept going back to talk of the neglected, soggy city that was falling apart - rank and rotten: "In the glare of day, there is little poetry about Venice......in the treacherous sunlight, we see Venice decayed, forgotten and utterly insignificant.

No excuse

Are you getting this? The Venice of today has no plans to push back on climate change despite the devastation noted by Twain generations ago for the San Franciso newspaper. But wait, he also entered his report in a travel Book he wrote two years later - "The Innocents Abroad." And the thing is it was not only a bestseller in Twain's lifetime, according to the Kansas City Public Library), but, as stated by the University of Alabama Press, it also remains one of the best-selling travel books of all time.

Doesn't anyone read in Venice?

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