A Xmas tree in Rome reminds viewers what the UN Sustainability Goals are, Source: Rome Municipality

Rome invites you to light up a Christmas tree with a bicycle

Rome invites you to light up a Christmas tree with a bicycle

This year, the Italian capital has turned the rate on its sustainability message and the holiday trees are the protagonists

Rome’s main Christmas tree at Piazza Venezia got into the news headlines not for its appearance but rather for the questionable aesthetics of the solar panels powering its decorations. The hubbub of this polemic has somewhat drowned the overall message that the local government wanted to transmit this Christmas – namely, that of energy efficiency and sustainability.

In fact, there are other Christmas trees placed in strategic spots of the city that also aim to bring attention to the need for energy savings and more responsible consumption. A case in point is the tree on Piazza del Campidoglio in front of City Hall. Its lights can be powered by volunteers who choose to spin a bicycle-generator. The bonus message here is to also promote physical well-being.

That initiative will launch on Tuesday, 13 December, at 18.30 when Rome's mayor Roberto Gualtieri and city councillors will be the first to test the pedal-powered lights against the backdrop of Christmas music performed by the local police band.

The lights on the tree will be connected to six parked bicycles and a generator, with Rome residents and tourists invited by the city authorities to "Ride with us to light up Christmas". The latter is the official name of the project.

Environmentally aware Christmas in Rome

Clearly, this winter and given the larger geopolitical circumstances, energy efficiency and sustainability are weighing heavily on everyone’s mind. The government of the Italian capital, however, saw an opportunity in times of crisis and a perfect moment to bring more guidance to awareness among the public.

In that context, Rome’s Zoo, known as the Bioparco has also constructed its own Christmas tree. Yes, constructed is the right word as it is made with 2,500 plastic bottles (7 metres high) that have been recovered from the street, from commercial activities and from private homes.

Even the decorations, inspired by the animals of the park, are made from waste from industrial, construction and artisanal processes such as insulating panels, polystyrene from thermal coats, leftovers from cuts from CNC machines, corrugated pipes, construction site nets, electric cables and fishing lines found on the beach. The message of the Zoo is to make a Christmas gift to Nature this year by recycling, reusing and repurposing plastic waste.



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