The Duanes de la Mar Library hosted, this past Saturday, the conference by Julià Álvaro, former Autonomous Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change in the autonomous government, now leader of Alianza Verde in the Valencian Community.
Accompanied by Juan López, candidate for mayor of Xàbia for Podemos, Álvaro divided his conference into two parts, focusing first on environmental protection policies at the municipal level and then moving on to a more global point of view. He highlighted municipal environmental protection policies in the fight against climate change as the first stage and as those that most directly affect citizens: "It is not the same to be in a park made of cement and concrete than to be in a green park with trees ".
"And the behavior of citizens when it comes to consuming, recycling, etc. is very important, but legislation is much more important for the environment. These two factors have to come together to reduce consumption," Álvaro reiterated several times, and He added that "it is not a tragedy or a catastrophe, but an opportunity to live better. Economic growth, in consumer goods, more roads, etc. almost never means living better."
Further specifying the municipal measures, he explained that an important basis is to have in the list of “powerful” environmental technical jobs, who can defend the environment with arguments that are opposed to other interests.
Some of the specific measures that he qualified were:
- The naturalization of towns and cities – a great natural heritage also means tourist wealth.
- Subordinate urban planning to the environment (and not the other way around as it is now), beginning by merging those powers in the same department.
- Create the natural municipal area of La granadella.
- Connect green spaces, biodiversity passages.
- Install lots of shades, increasingly important with climate change.
- 0 km markets, agriculture is a very important factor in the protection of green spaces.
Julià Álvaro also insisted on the importance of decarbonising mobility by promoting public transport with electric vehicles and discouraging private transport; promoting trips on foot and by bicycle. From his personal experience, moreover, going to work by bicycle is much more rewarding than going, for example, on a motorcycle.
door to door service
Another important aspect of municipal environmental policy is waste treatment. In this context, he complained about the current system implemented in Spain. "We make public space available to these large companies in the form of containers so that they do not have to worry about their waste, achieving a percentage of only 30% on average. Municipalities cannot require this RAP from multinationals, but they do. What they can achieve is a higher percentage of recycling and this, he remarked, is achieved with the so-called 'door-to-door' collection system, in which recycling containers disappear and waste is collected at the door of the house of citizens, thus increasing the percentage of recycling to 90%", qualified the former regional secretary for the Environment and Climate Change.
Julià listed some examples, including municipalities with more than 50.000 inhabitants, and also Benitatxell, where this system has recently been introduced, and where, according to the press, recycling has been increased from 20% to 80%. This improvement in recyclable material can be used in negotiations with recycling consortiums to lower the price of the waste collection service, since a high percentage of recyclable material is much more profitable for these companies and the waste arrives with the separation made. .
In the waste section, he also described the burning of agricultural pruning remains as an anachronism because it emits CO2 and is often the cause of fires. A practice that is inconceivable in other parts of Europe. Instead, a joint use of municipal crushers managed by the government is proposed. town hall.
Municipal policies to protect nature
Other examples of municipal policies to protect nature that Álvaro named were the tertiary wastewater treatment to be able to use that water for irrigation. An essential bet in times of drought that are waiting for us with the climate emergency in which we find ourselves.
Also the implementation of renewable energy, another example of how green policies improve our lives, because they democratize energy by "stealing fire from the gods of Iberdrola, Naturgy, etc", who will no longer be able to dictate prices or energy generation at will.
Álvaro also warned that the renewable energy sources They have to be implemented above all in existing buildings, because solar and wind macro-installations harm the environment and do not contribute to the aforementioned democratization of energy. For this reason, municipalities have to promote and provide facilities for the implementation of renewable energies, with cheap, simple and fast procedures.
At this point Juan López interrupted saying that practically all the points that Álvaro mentioned are in the Podem Xàbia program, and in fact they were already four years ago.
To finish the first part, much longer than the second, he described the town halls as "mainstays of the ecological transition".
From a more global point of view, Julià Álvaro regretted that despite having officially declared a climate emergency in the Valencian Community (and in many other parts of the world) we continue with the old capitalist model that presupposes infinite growth, despite the fact that for This premise has long been known to be false, that one cannot grow forever because our planet's resources are limited.
"It is not a question of saving the planet - that it already existed many millions of years before we humans appeared and will exist long after we have disappeared - but of saving ourselves, of making our lives more pleasant for ourselves and for others. our children and grandchildren.And this is achieved with political ecology: it is a new political, economic, social and environmental paradigm that will change the world and transform human action to guarantee the vital minimums of the population as a whole, respecting the biophysical limits of the planet", pointed out the speaker.
'Sustainable growth' is an oxymoron, a contradiction in itself, and degrowth has already begun and this must be accepted as fact. An attempt is being made to camouflage this fact with 'greenwashing', dyeing the products of major brands in ecological green to maintain unsustainable consumption.
Faced with this, what is needed are, according to Álvaro:
- Basic income to overcome the domination of a large part of the population
- Review of tax rules, fairer taxes
- Reduction of the working day
- Reorient investments towards health, education, care, waste management, research, mobility, etc.
And Julià Álvaro ended his conference by recalling that "we are not facing a gray-dark future, but rather the opportunity to place the values that really make us happy in the face of the desire to grow and consume more and more".