In terms of infrastructure, Venice is maybe not a world leader. (Enough with the canals, guys.) But when it comes to efficient green transportation, a human-powered gondola is pretty great. But Venice’s historic gondolas are in trouble — and you can help.

There are two kinds of gondolas in Venice. There are the fancy super-decorated kind tourists take that cost about $100 a ride. But then there is something called the traghetto. The traghetto has two gondoliers instead of one and also only costs about $0.70, and it only goes from one side of the Grand Canal to the other. It’s a strictly local experience, just for, like, getting your errands done and getting places, not like giving someone an engagement ring from Kay Jewelers. However, since there are not that many locals anymore, since the city has been taken over by tourists, this plain old gondola  is becoming extinct while the tourist ones thrive.

Intrepid Venetian and boat museum director Nicolo Zen decided he wasn’t going to let that happen. He bought an old gondola, and is now seeking donations through a Kickstarter-like organization called  Buona Causa to fix it up. There’s still much that needs to be done to this old gondola, but it definitely has potential, and the world is interested, apparently, in helping it reach that potential. The project is more than halfway to its goal of €2,500 (about $3,300). Would you like to be one of the people who helps restore the great city of Venice to its well not glory really but regularness? If so, you may do so right here.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.