Melting Alps Borders

Climate change and vanishing glaciers force Italy and Switzerland to redraw their borders

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Italy and Switzerland share one of the world’s sweetest borders—namely, the spine of the European Alps, which is laden with high mountains and deep, blue glaciers. Make that was: Thanks to climate change, melting glaciers and the erosion that follows have altered the topography, essentially erasing the previously agreed-upon borders between the two countries.

Now, if this were a couple of centuries ago, the Medicis might’ve just petitioned the pope, conscripted an army of Hessian mercenaries, and marched up the mountain passes in a bid to lay claim to all that sweet Swiss chocolate and taxable peasantry. Luckily, humanity has progressed, and instead Italy and Switzerland have set up a panel to explore how they might re-draw the borders.

Check out this quote from the Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger, which I translated myself from the German:

OK, so maybe that’s the last time I use Babel Fish in an official capacity. Still, it’s nice to see two countries coming together to politely resolve a border dispute, rather than resorting to pitchforks and plunder to resolve the matter. Are you paying attention, India and Pakistan?

—Ted Alvarez

Die Grenze zwischen der Schweiz und Italien wird neu gezogen (Tages Anzeiger)

The border between Switzerland and Italy is again drawn (Babel Fish Translation)