With the recent heat wave and the ongoing drought, we are once again fearful of Climate Change - or, to be more exact, Global Warming.
The term "Climate Change" was coined by Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist, who advised the government of George W Bush in 2001 to emphasize a lack of scientific certainty around the Earth heating up and drop "Global Warming" for the less scary-sounding "Climate Change".
One term sounds like a pleasant day on the beach, while the other makes one worry for our children's future. But the climate isn't changing - it's heating, rapidly!
Now, readers in Galicia may take this with a pinch of salt, but here in southern Spain, we've just endured a few scorching summer days. at the end of April.
We read that 'Unusually warm April temperatures engulfed the Iberian Peninsula last week, breaking numerous high-temperature records and setting a new (preliminary) European hottest April day on record (Cordoba Airport reached 38.7°C on April 27th)'.
Of course, it could just be another anomaly, like all the other ones we have experienced in recent years; but there seems to be a likelihood that this summer is going to be long, dry and brutally hot.
"This is not normal. Temperatures are completely out of control this year," Cayetano Torres, a spokesman for Spain's meteorological office, told BBC News, (which prefers to stick to the safer 'climate change' terminology). The article also notes the concern over the likelihood of an increase in forest fires here in Spain this season. Last year, a record 310,000 hectares of woodland burned in Spain.
Not that we all believe this stuff. Wiki says that a whopping four (sic!) out of 69,406 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of global warming published in scientific circles during 2013 and 2014 were from 'negacionistas', however 'The campaign to undermine public confidence in climate science has been described as a "denial machine" organized by industrial, political and ideological interests, and supported by conservative media outlets and sceptical bloggers to fabricate uncertainty about global warming'.
One eccentric American site we found says that 'nearly four people in every 10 believe climate change is mainly due to natural causes', which translates as 'it ain't our fault, so why cut back on our polluting industries?'.
Following from the Doñana debacle, a leading Spanish paper asks - is the Partido Popular a climate change denier? Pedro Sánchez evidently believes so.
Some denialists have taken to blaming the meteorologists for the high temperatures this past week - with the AEMET official weather forecasters complaining of endless harassment ("asesinos", "miserables", "os estamos vigilando") from Twitter-feeders and others.
Anyway, it's now early May, with the summer set to begin on June 21st, to last until October or so.
Maybe we should have bought that vacation home in Galicia after all.
'Spanish lawmakers last week approved a bill aimed at capping soaring rents and addressing dire social housing shortages as the government seeks to bolster the right to affordable homes. The proposal seeks to cap rent hikes, increase help in high-demand areas, boost protection for those facing eviction and sanction landlords for leaving properties empty. It will now go before the Senate before returning to Congress for a final vote, likely in mid-May.' France 24 reports here.
Mark Stücklin's Spanish Property Insight continues with its analysis of the Spanish property market here: 'Foreign Demand 2022: Country analysis shows US demand rising fastest, whilst Brits buy the most but spend the least (part II)'.
Spanish Property Insight suggests the ten questions one should ask about location when buying in Spain.
'You go on holiday and next thing, there's a squatter in your home'. The statistics say otherwise according to La Cadena Ser here. A case of allanamiento - when someone breaks into and occupies a home rather than an empty or abandoned house (usurpación) - runs at around 0.8% of all denuncias to do with okupas according to La Fiscalía (State Attorney General's Office).
The answer to the hot weather (or, for that matter, a snow-blizzard), is a house that's underground, or dug into the side of a cliff. The temperature in a cave-house stays more or less constant at around 20ºC. The Olive Press looks at some for renting (always a good idea: try before you buy) in Baza, Guadix and other 'troglodyte' communities. More on the advantages of casas-cueva can be found at El Confidencial here.
The political party Compromís (wiki) 'registers an amendment in the Ley de Vivienda currently in passage through the Senate to prohibit the sale of homes to foreigners for three years', says Valencia Plaza here, 'albeit with some exceptions'. The idea, presumably, being to cool the jets of the foreign investment speculators and large landlords. (Thanks to Chuck for this item).
'What We Can Learn From The World's First "Dementia Village"'. It's in The Netherlands, and maybe it's worthwhile considering building one here in Spain. From MBGHealth here.
An old man laments the increasing lack of benches in the city-centres: 'After going for a walk, I like to sit down for a while, but all the benches have been removed to allow for more tables and chairs for the terraces. This one I'm sat on is the last in the street and I saw it was empty and said to myself, shit, I'm just going to sit there awhile'. 20Minutos accompanies him, recorder in hand, here.
At the end of the 'boom' in 2008, several banks and builders were left out on a limb. The Government stepped in and covered the debt with the famous remark 'it won't cost the taxpayer anything' (Wiki). From El Boletin here: 'The Court of Accounts raises the bank rescue bill to almost 72,000 million euros. The body estimates the public cost of the rescue at almost 51,000 million. The financial sector has contributed another 21,272 million more'.
From The Olive Press here: 'People in Spain spent on average 43% of their gross salary on rent in 2022, according to a Fotocasa study'. This is a proportional raise of 17% over a similar calculation from 2012. In the Baleares and Catalonia, the average rises to 58%.
One might title this 'The grit between the wheels'. From elDiario.es here: 'Parliamentary 'spam': more than 100,000 questions to the Government in this legislature so far. Vox and the PP have produced 80% and have skyrocketed the volume of questions to figures that have not been seen for 15 years. In the far-right party, the questions are signed on average by only four or five deputies, while in the other groups the rate is lower'.
(My experience in local politics leads me to assert that there are many opportunities for the councillor to make a bit of extra pin money). From elDiario.es, it seems that those persons at the top-end of the Madrid local lists for the PP, made up as they are of political hopefuls (plus some cannon-fodder towards the rear), must now pay a sub of 1,500? to the party for the privilege of appearing on the list (and duly earning a public-wage plus, ah, benefits).
The Vox leader Santiago Abascal wants an agreement with Núñez Feijóo: I will allow Vox councillors in the forthcoming local elections to support the PP where the combination would win any town hall, if you give me a vice-presidencia in the next national PP/Vox coalition government. ECD has the story.
'Conservative prosecutors (evidently confused by the Separation of Powers) meet with and encourage Feijóo to plan to dismantle laws of the Government of Sánchez when he becomes president' says El País here. The Government, on hearing this, took a dim view and insists on an explanation says elDiario.es here: 'The Minister of the Presidency Félix Bolaños asks the leader of the PP to specify which laws he has promised to repeal in his meeting with prosecutors from the conservative Asociacíon de Fiscales'. El Español says that Bolaños is trying to make an innocent dinner-date between the 'fifty or so' judges and Feijóo to be 'a clandestine meeting'.
When Spain - that's to say President Sánchez - takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (here) for the second half of 2023, the Partido Popular will have lots of demands, says 20Minutos here.
Investigate Europe research lays bare Europe's problem with recycling plastic here. 'The investigation exposes failings in EU efforts to achieve a circular economy and details how unchecked production and use is creating a plastic waste crisis across the continent'. With video.
An interview with Michael Reid, journalist for The Economist in Spain: "Here you now have attitudes more typical of Scandinavia", says the headline at 20Minutos. Mr Reid has just published 'Spain. The Trials & Triumphs of a Modern European Country' (Amazon).
From El Plural here: 'The blatant manipulation of Canal Sur TV on Doñana, which spends much more time defending the regional PP and Vox proposal while almost hiding the positions held by the Government and the European Union'. (There's a drought in all of Spain, except the Parque Doñana?). The independent Professional Council of the Canal Sur Radio and Television talks of manipulation, noting that 75% of the time used to cover this issue at Canal Sur is given to politicians, against less than 10% to scientists.
Find political jokes, memes and tweets here at Así Va España.
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elDiario.es runs a daily map of heat-records across Spain by province. It shows today's temperature and contrasts with the average for that day since 1950. Monday, for example, had 21 provinces (out of fifty) with 'mucho más' higher than average temperatures.
Las Provincias claimed a record for Córdoba for April with 38.8ºC last Thursday 27th.
Nius Diario has a meteorologist who says that the drought with the dry landscape brings out extra heat as it won't reflect back out - making our land look and feel like the Sahara, he says dramatically.
'Last year's hottest summer on record caused 12,000 deaths in Spain, a new study finds. Extreme temperatures caused 50% more deaths than previous years, similar to levels during the extreme summer of 2003' says Sur in English here.
The new, improved and above all treeless Puerta del Sol in Madrid (the Kilometre Zero for Spanish roads) is an average of 15ºC hotter than in a nearby park says Nius Diario here.
The Wishing Well from Diario de Sevilla.
From DiarioSur here: 'The first reservoir to reach empty. The Sierra Boyera reservoir, north of Córdoba, has run out of reserves and now 72,000 residents of 24 towns must get their drinking water in tanker trucks'.
From CNN here: 'Disappearing lakes, dead crops and trucked-in water: Drought-stricken Spain is running dry'.
Video (in English) from Deutsche Welle here: 'The price of Spain's cheap produce. Almería is southern Spain's agricultural powerhouse. But it has been heavily criticized for pollution and the exploitation of migrant labour - including poor living conditions. Can a new German law change that?'
ECD says that the majority of the rural community in Spain are against Government interference in Doñana and other water rights, efficient plastic-disposal, CO2 levels and other 'ecological' controls designed to keep the place running for the next generation.
From Deutsche Welle (en castellano) here: '.A good 60 percent of all the lagoons, the heart of the rich fauna of the Doñana national park, have already dried up, says the director of the biological station at Doñana. With the death of the lagoons, many of those creatures in danger of extinction must also disappear.
Huge plantations stretch over 100 square kilometres to the north and west of the park. Most of the strawberries that flood supermarkets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg in spring are grown under plastic. The red fruit business, especially strawberries and raspberries, together with tourism, is the most important economic sector in the province of Huelva, in southern Spain.'
(From the elDiario.es daily email) 'A deputy has registered this parliamentary question: "Is the Government manipulating the weather through the aerial spraying of chemical products?" It is a way of giving ground to one of the most repeated and most denied conspiracy theories in the world. The deputy is Pablo Cambronero (Grupo Mixto), who was previously in Ciudadanos and now dedicates himself to these things to attract the attention of Vox. First (says the email) they deny climate change, and when it is shown to be undeniable, they blame the government. That is the level'.
Chemtrails, climate manipulation? The AEMET says no (20Minutos here). Bulos and conspiracy theories regarding the chemtrails (Maldita here). 'The Chemtrail conspiracy theory' at Wiki here. The question being: why would they want to disperse the rain-clouds?
There's apparently a law that one can't sell 'blended' olive and sunflower oil in Spain, or at least, there was, according to El Mundo, who found some this week in the supermarket shelves in Seville. Five litres at just over 20?. The Financial Times says that, with the drought, the production of olive oil is down this year and, after the probable dry summer, next autumn's crop will likely be even lower (thanks to Jake).
The Catalán El Nacional reckons that Juan Carlos I did not come here to go sailing, but to tie up his fortune for his successors (not to include Felipe VI) through selling off some properties. For that, one would have to check with the royal accountants and lawyers.
From Al Jazeera here: 'Spain exhumes remains of fascist leader Primo de Rivera. The Falange party founder became one of the pillars of Francisco Franco's brutal regime'.
'Amancio Ortega earns ?1,100 million in Inditex dividends, half of his expected earnings for the year' says Fashion Network here.
An irate motorist took a hammer last week to a speed camera in Conxo outside Santiago de Compostela, after the unpleasant machine was reported in the media to have collected over 17,000 speeding fines in three months.
From The Huffington Post here: 'Dwarf Bullfighting banned in Spain. The decision was applauded by disability rights groups but condemned by the few surviving performers'.
There's not much racism here - a piece at Eye on Spain here.
An article at Te Presto Mis Ojos considers the 32 oddest dishes in the gastronomía española. These include pigs ears a la madrileña; kid's (goat) heads from La Rioja; Segovian suckling pig (yum!); Calçots; Cantabrian wild boar with beans; migas; Aragonese bull's criadillas; Sangre Frita; Cresta de Gallo from Cuenca (seriously?); garlic soup; the rare Valencian rat paella (!); (and one for Colin) Galician Lampreys cooked in their own blood. And, of course, how to prepare them.
Disney apparently invented a kind of anodyne 'Latin Spanish' for its movies which is now used by everyone else in the video world. Yet, no one speaks it says elDiario.es here. The reason was to save on making 'local versions' of their shows.
Museo del Patrimonio Nacional. Madrid's new museum is a modern mecca for old-world art lovers. Five centuries of royal collections will go on display in the Spanish capital from June 28th. The Guardian enthuses here. The official site for Patrimonio Nacional is here.
One of Spain's least remembered old masters started out life as a slave. Juan de Pareja was given his freedom in around 1650 by Diego Velázquez with whom he had worked as his studio assistant. CNN Style reports that a rare exhibition of this artist is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Details for 'Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter', are here.
From The Culture Trip here: 'During the month of May, when the city celebrates its patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, Madrileños dressed up in traditional costumes descend on the Pradera de San Isidro in Madrid to dance in the street. They are known as Chulapos, and their dance is known as the chotis, a 19th-century traditional folk dance similar to a German polka that involves one dancer being twirled around by their partner while their feet remain planted firmly on one spot.
The term "Chulapo" or "Chulapa" - a variant on the word chulo - was forged during the 19th century to refer to a working- or lower-middle-class group of people in Spanish society who were famous for their elaborate style of dress and cheeky attitude. The original Chulapos in Madrid were residents of the Malasaña and Maravillas neighbourhoods, but today, the term is used to refer to anybody from Madrid.'
Hope you are well-still loving your newsletters.
As you may remember from past communication, my personal pet peeve in Spain is the massive amount of holiday rentals, as we are inundated with them in Benalmadena. Long term rentals are extremely scarce now and owners are making incredibly strict rules--not just to rent long term--but to even view the properties! We know some long-term Benalmadena residents who have been asked to vacate their long-term rentals so the owner could sell or use the apartment themselves. These residents tell us they cannot find any long-term rentals they can afford even here in Benalmadena. Two years ago when we arrived, there were quite a few.
I started booking hotels for some trips we are planning in Spain this spring and summer, as we prefer hotel stays rather than holiday apartments-at least hopefully the money goes to the local economy and not a property owner who resides in another country. But of course, I don't know who owns the hotels.😉
It did not matter which city I looked at. After I put in the city and dates on Booking.com, it would state the amount of properties available. So Madrid came up as 850 properties, but if you click on the filter of 'Hotel' it would decrease to about 10% of that amount, so would go down to 80. I started trying this with other cities and it is all the same. Hotels would be about 10% of the properties available-the rest were holiday apartments. It gives you a good approximation of how holiday rentals have taken over the country.
We also watched a documentary on Hulu called "The Last Tourist" about tourism basically destroying the planet, the wildlife and the local populations of popular tourist areas. It was pretty depressing, but enlightening also.
Anyhow, came across this article ('Turismofobia pops up in Seville') and thought I'd send it to you. I had read that Barcelona was having 'anti-tourism' issues, but it appears that it is also becoming an issue in Sevilla.
I lived in Florida for 25 years and watched it go from a beautiful laid back state with incredible beaches to an unlivable nightmare of traffic, over-development, over-population, environmental problems, and now throw in an anti-science, fascist-leaning government. (Florida has huge global warming and environmental issues that it is totally ignoring.) So I guess I'm a bit paranoid about beautiful Spain also being overrun. Still, there are red flags everywhere.
Alpargata & Ombligo with El Chotis ('Chotis: the word apparently comes from the Germans calling the dance 'Schottisch' says wiki) on YouTube here.
It's a peculiar ballad, beginning with:
In the Plaza de los Carros, in the La Latina neighbourhood
The Chinese make their money selling beers
And in Lavapiés street, a Senegalese Moor
Is playing ball with a Bangladeshi.
On May 15, an octogenarian dandy
He wears his beret and checkered vest
And next to him a gay Ecuadorian priest
Who is out of his closet drinking Coca-Cola aaay.
At the door of the Candela a pick-pocket and a gypsy
Are trading punches for the love of a twist of paper.
And on Desengaño street, a generous transvestite
Puts a smile on the face of a stingy grandfather.
In the middle of Gran Vía, in a social meeting-place
A Moldovan girl is chilling from too-much love;
And her Anglo-Saxon pimp, at the Montera Bingo
Loses his wallet due to a bad run of luck.
(And you thought Nerja was cosmopolitan)