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The Green Administration (back home)

January 26, 2009

On the trendy but spectacular terrace of the ES Hotel overlooking the tracks of Termini Station and one of Rome’s most multi-cultural neighborhoods, the Esquiline, I and hundreds of other expats and Italians witnessed the beginning of the new administration and the new era of sustainable government. There was a fair amount of self-induced pinching to prove that the intelligent, charismatic man being referred to as President was not just a figment of a good dream.  The overall atmosphere was not one of just self-congratulatory celebration but of energy and inspiration.

In fact, energy was part of the message, not just the medium. When Obama’s voice boomed across the crowds “We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” applause broke out in Rome. (OK, I may have started it myself but it sure caught on).  Clearly, the eyes of the world are on the choices that will be made to help free us from our dependence on fossil fuels.  The necessary paradigm shift is starting in the new world but enthusiasm has infected the old world as well and even stuffy old Rome may catch on and catch up.


Follow up on my initiative to clean up the Tiber as a public service on  pre-inauguration day failed miserably.  I posted it as an event on Facebook as well as here on my blog, but didn’t really promote it.  My hesitation was mostly due to the fact that I couldn’t find out which city office was responsible for such cleaning in order to get the OK, arrange for pick up of trash, etc. On the 19th I found many of the ramps/steps down to the bike path along the river blocked without explanation and only with difficult was I able to make it down to the chosen site. No one there but me and lots of trash.  It was clear to me that to try to really clean up anything would have been pathetic so I kept it to a symbolic gesture, took some pictures and went back to my computer where I felt I could make more concrete inroads into the problems of Roman sustainability.


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