Come ye Gretas!. The case for greenifying an over-touristified city
16th EASA Biennial Conference 'New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe'
Lisbon is the European Green Capital for 2020. National and local authorities will celebrate the city’s transition towards models of sustainable urban development, green energy, low-carbon mobility and waste management. All the while they continue fostering the city’s touristic industry internationally undeterred by an energy bill with expected climate warming impacts, all of which could be prevented if it were not the very existence of the proposed events and activities. The slogan Lisbon Council chose for the celebration is “choose to evolve” in an attempt to implicate the population into the acceptance of more sustainable and green everyday practices. Today, Lisbon receives 10 million tourists per year, favouring a short-term rental urban economy that is deepening the housing crisis, while increasing considerably the city’s carbon footprint. In spite of that, authorities avoid acknowledging tourism as a problem in their effort to make Lisbon greener: New sustainable interurban transport means intended for tourists (such as electric bikes and scooters) have been deployed throughout the city. However, planes and cruises (the most polluting transport systems) that continue to feed Lisbon with more tourists, seem to be perfectly acceptable for the agenda of Lisbon as a Green Capital, notwithstanding a recently announced mitigating agenda. We will try to make sense of this paradox by focusing on the pervasive disconnect between the population and their elected representatives.