[La Spezia harbour from the city centre pier (Foto Rb), 2019]

Two images, above, from the author's native town. Development of the container port has created high heaps of containers which now hide the hills and will soon climb above the height of blocks of flats by the sea in a supposedly touristic- and environmentally- minded town called La Spezia, main settlement in the Cinqueterre area.

Container economy is an essentially globalized business which employs few people and brings high profit to few investors and owners of the infrastructures. While it facilitates international trade, it can have a strong impact on the environment of the places where it is operational. Yet, in other places the container-port was removed from the main tourist attractions and the centre of town. At least this is the impression the present writer had when visiting places such as Singapore, for instance.

One wonders what can be done to rebalance situations like La Spezia where, in addition to the chaotic expansion of the container business, huge liners arrive frequently and their engines remain on when the ships are not moving and therefore pollute the surrounding area with the chimneys fumes. The liner and container port is a fifteen minute walk from the centre of town.

How can a place in Liguria which boasts so much natural beauty such as Cinqueterre, Lerici, Portovenere, the hills, and the Apuane mountains (these in the vicinity even though in the different region of Tuscany), remain indifferent to the visual and air pollution which might soon work to the detriment of the tourist industry as well?

This post is called Glocal because the problem is precisely how to combine and balance international trade and local needs.

What is the solution? De-growth? Re-thinking of how to promote the economy locally in relation to global economic interests? The author is at a loss for solutions but he is intellectually surprised and sad to see what is happening.

[Roberto Bertoni]