May 24, 2023

Those Crazy Environmentalists Are at It Again

This time they attempted to destroy the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Climate activists around the globe pull stunts from time to time to protest whatever latest grievance they have. Sometimes their complaint is against people using gas-powered cars; sometimes it’s against deforestation. This time some ecofascists in Italy were protesting fossil fuels and attacked one of Rome’s most famous landmarks.

Members from an environmentalist group called Ultima Generazione (“Last Generation”) clambered into the wading pool of an 18th-century marble masterpiece, the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain is a beautiful landmark first designed by the famous sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini but was actually constructed and completed by two others: Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini. Completed in 1792, the fountain is a popular tourist destination. Legend says that if you turn around, close your eyes, and throw a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand, you’ll return to Rome someday. Throw two coins in the manner described, and you’ll find your true love!

The climate activists opted to throw something else into the Trevi Fountain: diluted charcoal. It turned the water a startling shade of black. Then the protestors shouted about how the country is dying.

The group later explained on its website that its attack was motivated by the recent flooding in northern Italy that killed 14 people. The activists believe that public subsidies that went toward fossil fuels were the cause of the floods … somehow.

Rome Capital Police quickly arrived and yanked the protestors out of the western marvel while tourists watched and hopefully cheered.

Then the real work began to save the fountain. Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri posted that the “indifferent environmental damage” that the thuggish protestors wrought is not insignificant. The fountain needed to be emptied of the tainted water first to prevent the black sludge from being sucked up by the porous marble, but also because the fountain functions as a water recycler (i.e., a closed system). It wasted roughly 300,000 liters (just shy of 80,000 gallons) of water.

Gualtieri went on to emphasize: “Such gestures are completely wrong and damaging, because they risk damaging precious common goods such as our monuments, and force public administrations into very expensive and environmentally impactful restoration interventions. So they are completely counterproductive, and they also risk reducing the consent in public opinion regarding the right battle for the environment and climate.”

With the exception of the slight pandering to the environmentalists at the end of his statement, this is a point that myself and others have repeatedly made, and yet the environmental cultists continue to wantonly attack works of art.

To quote a recent sentiment from historian Victor Davis Hanson, “Like Byzantines, Americans have become snarky iconoclasts, more eager to tear down art and sculpture that they no longer have the talent to create.” To which we’d add: Not just Americans, but anyone who cynically destroys art.

Ecofascists are happy to damage and destroy works of art, but their acts of terrorism never achieve anything except contempt. It’s hard to grasp their motivation.

Are they so bored with their own lives that they feel the need to spread that misery around? Or is it because of the dread of fictitious apocalyptic doom?

Either way, it’s inexcusable and akin to a petulant child throwing a tantrum.

Another aspect of that same line of thinking is that these wackos aren’t defacing modern art pieces. No activist has yet tried to stick themselves to Boston’s new Martin Luther King sculpture “The Embrace” to bring attention to climate change.

A prominent social media handle articulates a possible answer: “This is not about the climate, it’s about destroying Western civilization and anything it has built.”

The next question we have to ask is: Are we willing to let the “Byzantines” continue to degrade and corrupt our great works of art, or are we going to finally bring down the hammer?

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