Monday, 26 June 2017

Coincidence and likely stories in the Southwest of Spain.

My sister, who lives in the Southwest of Spain posted something on Facebook today about coincidences.

Years ago, when I was still working as an A-Level Spanish teacher, students could choose a Spain-related topic to research and then write a piece of coursework in Spanish on that topic. A good choice of topic was always something related to El Coto Doñana, the nature reserve down in the Southwest corner of the peninsula with lots of environmental questions to answer, gaining good marks for students.

An area of natural wetlands, Doñana was always under threat from agricultural projects that wanted to make use of the water supply. Intensive polytunnel developments, growing those all-year-round strawberries and other soft fruit sold in supermarkets in the UK, were amongst the most guilty. The WWF and other environmental organisations have long fought to protect it but it's hard work. There is a National Park there with research facilities in the middle of what they refer to as the natural park. 

On the 26th of June this year fire broke out in the woodland areas of the natural park, near a development of polytunnel greenhouses. As the fires in Portugal have shown, fires of this kind are devastating. Fire fighters managed, I think, to prevent the fire from spreading to the National Park area. Some people, like my almost Andalusian sister, have been pointing out a series of coincidences: 

In 2014, a law was passed, the Ley de Montes, which says that woodland areas can be reclassified after a fire provided the government agrees that project requiring that reclassification can be declare to be "of public usefulness". (A fair number of forest fires have been suspected of being deliberately started as a result.)

In 2015 Gas Natural Fenosa came up with a project for gas storage tanks in the Doñana area.

In 2016 the government declared this project to be "de utilidad pública".

And in 2017 there is a forest fire in the Doñana natural park.

 It's rather a shame I no longer have students looking for interesting topics for coursework projects.

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